Dental Practice Startup – Here’s Where You Should Start If You’re Confused

If you’ve thought about your own dental practice, there is tons of confusion around where you should begin.

If you’re thinking about a dental practice startup from scratch, you KNOW it’s going to be a ton of work just to get started.

You sort of have an idea what you need to do –  find a location, look for financing to fund your startup, and you’ll need some experts such as an attorney, CPA, real estate agent, etc.

But you’re struggling to get started because you’re not sure where to begin.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve gotten emails from many of you asking lots of questions. After answering all the emails, I found myself repeating the answers to one common question:

Where do I start in the process of my dental practice startup journey?

So, I thought I would make this video to help clarify things.

Continue to read on for the full video Transcript:

Hey guys, welcome back. This is your host Nilay Shah with Dental Startup Academy.

In this video, I’m going to answer a question that I received from many of you. You’ve decided to go out on your own, and you’re super excited about the whole process, but you’re overwhelmed because you don’t know where to start.

That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about today.

From the blog posts I’ve written so far on Dental Startup Academy, I’ve gotten emails from you asking the same questions:

Where do I start?

What should I do first?

Should I talk to the bank first?

Or should I decide on the location and have the lease document signed first?

When should I be talking to my accountant or attorney?

There’s not an exact sequence in which things are going to be done. Some of the things are going to be occurring at same time in parallel.

But I do want to make some recommendations first.

If I were you, the first thing I would do is start talking to the BANKS.

You do need an idea of what you’re going to get approved for. I would tell the banks and let them know what you’re planning to do – whether it’s starting from scratch or buying out an existing office.

I would start talking to some of the big banks first – such as Bank of America Practice Solutions, Wells Fargo or Live Oak, etc.

These banks have tons of experience working with dentists – so they know exactly what it takes to get an office started from scratch.

You can also start talking to local small banks and credit unions, but get ready to start filling out some serious paperwork – such as estimated costs, a business plan, and revenue projections.

This whole process is going to take some time just while you’re filling out paperwork – but don’t worry, you’re not signing off on the dotted line with the banks yet.

The second thing I would do is get an attorney or a CPA you may know to form a business entity such as an LLC or C-corp or S-corp.

You need this registration to get a TAX ID, which is what you’re going to need to sign off on a bank loan.

Once you have an idea what you can get pre-approved for from the banks, you’ll be able to form a budget – so you know how much you want to spend on your office.

You’re not going to want to take every dollar the banks give you, but again, spend only as much as you need.

Three – If you haven’t found a location for your office space yet, start now.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options to about 2-3 locations, you’re going to want to start negotiating the lease for your office space.

You don’t want to do this yourself. You do need to work with a lease attorney or lease expert.

When I was going through this, I did work with a lease expert who had tons of experience working with dentists.
Again, to see more information on all of the things involved in lease negotiations, refer back to our website on post I’ve written on lease negotiation.

At this point, things are moving along simultaneously.

While the lease negotiations are happening for your office space, even though it may be occurring on more than one location you need to start talking to the dental contractors.

You should talk to at least 2-3 dental contractors. Have them come see the space that you’ve narrowed down BEFORE signing off on the lease.

Why is that so important? Because the contractors can tell you if there are any costly construction issues you may run into during the build-out of your office.

If you do this before signing the lease, you can actually negotiate this extra expense with the landlord.

Next, before signing off on the final contract with the dental contractors, you need to have the design of your office.

Now you can talk to the design firms who can help you do JUST that, or speak with dental supply companies who also provide design services as well.

Again, refer to the construction & design section on our website to know all the details involved in the design process.
The reason why you need to have the design of the office done is so that the contractors can give you proper bids.

Once you’ve decided on the dental contractor, and your office build-out starts, then you’ll start thinking about equipping the office, IT, xrays, patient chairs, etc.

So I’m going to stop there. Before I leave you guys, I want to go back to the first point I said – the BANKS! Working with the right bank is so important.

Once the build-out starts, banks that have experience working with dentists for decades, they have systems in place to make sure that entire build-out process can move along smoothly. So you can get to the point of opening the doors to your office as fast as possible.

That’s it for today guys. I hope I’ve relieve some confusion. Remember, don’t get overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, and continue to push forward.
I was in your position before. I didn’t know what to do – I was overwhelmed and stressed out. But again I knew I had to just keep moving.

You can contact me directly if you have any questions.

If you have not, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter at Dental Startup Academy by entering your email.

If you have questions regarding anything or to reference anything I’ve said anything in this video, refer to the transcript below and leave your questions in the comments below or you can contact me directly at

That’s it for today guys, I’ll see you next time. Take care!