Group of three young dentists.

Starting vs Buying a Dental Practice

Starting vs Buying A Dental Practice

ADS brokers help you find the right path and avoid costly mistakes.

Recent dental graduates face big career decisions that can impact the rest of their lives, so it is important to understand the options. If you are thinking about owning a practice, you have likely considered whether to start your own or buy an existing dental practice. There are benefits to both strategies, but each must be approached with caution and forethought for the best chance of success. 

Buying an Existing Practice

Dentists who decide to buy benefit from the existing experience from the previous owner. The previous dentist will already have systems in place, including a staff with clear responsibilities as well as an established billing and payroll system. Another benefit to buying an existing business is the ability to review a profit and loss sheet to help inform the decision to purchase. When a practice is already profitable, it is easier to plan for expansion and qualify for a loan since you can show income and profit from the past. Finally, if you buy an existing dental business, there is likely an existing client base that is connected and loyal to the dental office. An established client base can make it easier to make a profit during your first year rather than having to start from scratch.

There are also some potential risks that come with buying an existing dental practice. An established business comes with its own history and procedures that may not fit your style. Purchase cost can also have an impact on your total profits over time.

Starting a Practice

Although starting a practice can offer a bigger risk, there are plenty of benefits that come with starting a practice from scratch. When you are the owner, for better or worse, every major decision will be yours to make. While that can be overwhelming in some instances, it also gives you the opportunity to shape the practice into exactly what you want. As the owner of the business, you can make business decisions based on your vision rather than being limited by someone else's. Additionally, building your own practice is a unique opportunity to stretch your business skills. As an entrepreneur, you could see greater profits from the future sale of your practice as well.

Still, starting a practice can offer a major financial risk. Many start-up practices fail due to undercapitalization or because new dentists struggle to build cash flow while battling location or economic hardships. Additionally, it can be difficult to build a client list and without consistent patient flow, it becomes difficult to build management skills and make sound business decisions.

Whether you decide to buy an existing practice from a dentist or start a new one, it is important to understand your options to make the best choice. Owning a business can be a high-risk endeavor, but it can also be highly rewarding. Our dental broker team at ADS can help you to decide which option is right for you, and help you to navigate the choice that you have made. Click here to get in contact with your local dental broker today.

Should I start up a new practice or purchase an existing one?


Whether you're looking to buy, planning for retirement, or making a lateral shift in the middle of your career, we have the experience to help with your dental practice transition needs.

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