Want to Buy a Dental Practice? Here’s Where to Start Your Search

“I want to buy a practice. Where should I start looking?”

I get this question a LOT. In fact, it’s usually the next question right after “How do I find a practice to buy?”

Most often, the dentists asking where they should buy are pretty open to different locations, so this post is for them. If you already know that you have to buy in a specific area, then you can move on to the next step.

If you’re asking this question, though, let me throw one right back at you: Where do you want to live?

One problem I see is dentists getting too strategic too soon about this question. “Will an urban or a rural practice net me more income?” “Is the market in this city too saturated?” Great questions, but before you get to them you should be honest about what you want your life to look like, not just your practice.

How do you do that? Here’s how I work through it with clients:

Step 1: Pick a city you like.

What’s a city you could see yourself living in? Let’s say it’s Charlotte (I lived there for a couple years, great town). Great! We’ve got a place to start.

Step 2: Identify why you like it.

Why do you like Charlotte? Let’s build our semi-imaginary list: It’s a mid-sized city; I like the weather; it has plenty of major sports; there’s lots to do.

Step 3: Find other cities that match up.

No two areas are alike, but many have lots in common. If you’re working with a list like the one above, then what about some other mid-sized cities? St. Louis would tick a lot of the same boxes as Charlotte, as would, say, Nashville, Tampa, or Cincinnati. Compile a list of similar cities and consider how you’d feel living there.

Step 4: Build your network with an open mind.

As you build a network of other dentists, cast your net wide. After a while, you’ll start hearing about practices available in cities that you could consider. Maybe a dentist in your network is selling a practice in Milwaukee. Is the weather there a deal-breaker? If so, keep looking. But with that wide net, you may find practices in places that are unexpectedly attractive to you.

There are other ways to go about your search (watch the video above for the “concentric circles” approach), but this is a great way for someone who’s open to lots of locations.

If you need help getting started building that network, check out the new course on that subject! Good luck in your search, and let me know if you’ve found a practice worth considering. We’ll help you in your journey to ownership!