Hanging up your shingle as a newly minted dentist for the first time is a proud moment. It is also a nerve-wracking one. Being the new kid in town, you can anticipate at least a couple of months of unintended vacation time when no patients come in at all, except maybe for a couple of family members or friends that are probably freebies.
The average practice costs about $500,000 to set up, and that is on top of any student loan you may have. With so much money hanging on the line, dental insurance reimbursement as a PPO member seems like a great idea, despite what some dentists are saying about the rates. However, there are some ways you can have your practice and make money, too. Here are some practical tips for the new dentist.
Join an existing practice
Most dentists have never worked for anyone, let alone run a business. It would be good practice to join a successful one in your area to see how everything works and what problems you can expect to encounter. Think of it as an internship, and never mind the tiny salary. It is also a good way to establish a network of suppliers and specialists that you can tap when you are ready to strike out on your own.
Buy an existing practice
Dentists sometimes move to another city, and will put up their practice for sale. If there is one in your area, it may be a good idea to consider it. You will have to work with a less-than-ideal setup, but you will not have to pay top dollar for equipment and renovations. You also have to consider it will probably have an existing customer base as well. Of course, you need to make sure the equipment is in good working condition and the office just needs a new coat of paint.
Become a PPO member
It is true that joining an insurance company can be a rude awakening for the clueless when getting their first dental insurance reimbursement. However, one advantage of being a preferred provider is that you have a steady stream of patients coming in. You can make the most of your income by getting a professional team to do your reimbursement deals for you. In the meantime, you can now afford to wait for new direct paying patients to come in.
You can minimize your money outlay for a practice as a new dentist. You just need to be smart about it.