How to Set Up a Squat Dental Practice

A comprehensive guide to planning and building a dental practice from scratch, covering everything from finance to fit-out.



What is a Squat Dental Practice?

A squat dental practice is essentially a practice started from scratch, usually with a single surgery to begin with and aspirations to be a highly profitable business.

There are many aspects to building a successful squat practice and the most important from the start is to focus on a clear plan and prepare for a lot of hard work. At the outset of this journey, you should cover these key points in your project:

  • Professional goals
  • Location
  • Planning permissions and building
  • Regulations
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Staff
  • Design
  • Fit-out
  • Equipment
  • Maintenance

This short list is just the start and by no means the order in which you should go about planning your squat practice as each aspect will need to be covered and researched well before you begin making decisions. For example, hiring an experienced practice manager at the very beginning of this project would be a great asset to the process as they will be able to offer advice and guidance concerning other members of staff, marketing and purchasing.

Knowing your budget and how to attain the finances needed will also keep your decision making focused. Having your branding in mind throughout the design stage and your marketing will ensure consistency. Even starting your marketing early will make sure that you hit the ground running when you open the doors of your practice.

Set out the Goal of your Squat Dental Practice

To set yourself apart from other dental practices you will need to create a compelling proposition and build your business plan around this. Maybe offer unique treatments, new technology, evening appointments; something that is unique and different to the competition.

Have a clear direction for your dental practice and where you would like to get to in a set time frame. For example, attracting a certain number of new patients within the first 6 months. Forecast your cashflow for the first year and draw up a timeline of how your practice will grow.


Location

Finding the ideal site for your practice will require plenty of advance planning and careful thought. It is unlikely that a purpose-built property will be available for sale or rent, so changing from one building class to another will have to be considered, planning permissions and regulations will be covered later in this article.

The general area that you choose must be one that you either know well or have done extensive research into. Look at demographics, competition, footfall and even ease of parking. These are also important for the specific location, and if there are business or residential properties that could generate your initial customer base.

Regarding the actual building, parking and disabled access are important factors, as is ventilation for plant equipment and space for the various rooms you will need and possible expansion. The look and feel of the property will also be important to the overall aesthetics and building customer confidence.

Planning Permissions and Building Regulations

A dental practice is regarded as a non-residential institution under the D1 Use Class according to the Town & Country Planning Order 1987. So, if you are changing from a residential property or shop into a dental practice then you will need to apply for permission. Experienced dental fit-out consultants can assist and advise with this issue and assist with documentation.

This topic is covered in more detail in the article - Dental Clinic Renovation, Refurbishments & Extensions, which includes regulations and early stage planning.

Finance

The whole project including equipment purchases, maintenance, staff costs, marketing and not to mention the refurbishment of the property will need a categorical budget in precise detail. And keep in mind that ongoing costs will be continuing perhaps for months before the practice starts making a profit, so you will need working capital to finance this.

Setting up a squat practice requires a great deal of planning and understanding. We recommend Braemar Finance and would be happy to supply cases where their services have been utilised.

Marketing

A considerable investment in marketing is essential for a new dental practice, especially a quality website and regular social media engagement and activity. Digital marketing isn’t the only medium though as local print advertising is still effective, as well as leaflet drops.

Start your marketing early so that potential customers know that you are opening soon and even arrange an opening event with a press release. Approach local health businesses and offer a reciprocal advertising opportunity. Free initial check-ups are a great way of gaining new patients and a referral scheme can bring in customers for a very small cost.

Setting a realistic budget for your marketing campaigns will be fundamental in the planning stage and look for expert assistance in this area.

Staff

A principal dentist will find it exceedingly difficult to manage everything within the practice by themselves, staff will be needed so that responsibilities can be delegated. As mentioned, a practice manager will be able to take on most duties for the day-to-day running of the squat practice so that the dentist can focus on meeting the customers’ needs.

These are some duties which other staff members can be responsible for:

  • Reception / Contacting customers
  • Ordering supplies
  • Managing compliance and maintenance
  • Management of staff and HR
  • Paperwork
  • Cleaning / Infection control
  • Marketing

Design

The design of the practice not only includes the layout of the rooms, but also the aesthetics, colour scheme and lighting. There should be a functional balance between efficient traffic flow and comfortable movement for both staff and patients, all staying within the scope of your budget.

The customer experience is vital to keep customers returning and each room within your squat practice will need to be addressed in detail.

Designing a dental practice reception area and waiting room will give your patients that amazing first impression which is so important in the customer journey.

The design of staff workflow depends greatly on the layout and size of the building and focusses on good infection control procedures. The decontamination process should be carried out by ensuring that a dirty-to-clean workflow is maintained. For more information on layouts, flooring, surfaces and equipment, see our article on – Decontamination Room Design.

Achieving a harmonious balance in your surgery will make your job so much easier. There are many different factors to take into account, so our project managers have put this article together - Dental Surgery Design and Fit-out.

Another aspect which is often over-looked is good lighting, and not just in the surgery. The lighting within the whole practice should be practical and functional. Our Top tips for dental surgery lighting includes guidance and a fact-sheet to get the most out of your lighting design and set-up, offering possibilities and solutions.

This checklist will give you an idea of what to consider:

  • Plan out your objectives
  • Make sure your branding runs throughout the practice
  • Employ experts with a wealth of knowledge and experience
  • Ensure objectives are clear
  • Consider patient flow and staff workflow
  • Investigate planning permissions and building regulations
  • Plan for additional dental surgeries
  • Check equipment specifications and spatial planning
  • Anticipate plumbing, electrics, services, internet and telephone lines
  • Comply with industry standards including cross-infection and health & safety
  • Keep air flow and ventilation in mind
  • Allocate an area for plant machinery and X-ray machines
  • Explore options for disabled access
  • Keep the patient experience in mind

By creating an enjoyable environment to work in and making a professional impression with your patients and staff will be of benefit to you in the short and long term as this design will be with you for a long time.

At Eclipse Dental Engineering, we provide the complete solution to your squat practice design and fit-out needs with meticulous attention to detail and personal service. Our experienced team takes care of each stage and will ensure that your project runs smoothly.

To discuss your ideas, contact us on 01322 292222, email at enquiries@eclipse-dental.com or use this Contact Form.

Fit-out

The owner of the squat practice will have design ideas in mind, but to really get down to detail they would be advised to acquire the assistance of an experienced project manager to identify any potential issues or road blocks before the design is finalised. During our site consultations we supply architectural services, planning and building regulation considerations, equipment specifications and spatial planning.

Our project managers, designers and in-house dental engineers are knowledgeable and experienced in all areas of dental fit-out and refurbishment. Any contractors that we employ are equally qualified and experienced in medical facilities, due to the multitude of different building designs and layouts. And in most cases, it is more important to know what not to do, to ensure there are no future issues or snagging problems.

This is our 5-step Fit-out service:

Process - Our experienced team takes care of each stage and ensures your project runs smoothly with the minimum of disruption.

Design - With a clear understanding, we identify any possible roadblocks before a design is created. This ensures a smooth transition from discussion, to design, then construction.

Construct - This is the exciting time when all the hard thinking, designing and planning comes together. An experienced Eclipse Dental Engineering project manager is assigned and a team of qualified, reliable trade persons start the transformation.

Install - As an independent supplier we offer unbiased advice and have a wide-range of dental equipment to suit any budget or requirements to reflect your treatment specialities.

Maintain - Projects are completed with the compliment of full staff training and hand-over session to ensure you get maximum benefit from your new equipment and workspace.

Furthermore, if you need to discuss anything about the project, our project managers are more than happy to discuss the finer details at any stage. Take a look at our turn-key solution and ‘How We Can Help You Create Your Dream Surgery’, this article lists the timeline of a fit-out with some of our discounted equipment prices.

As a rough guide for estimating fit-out costs, £100 per square foot or £1000 per square metre will give you an idea of expenditure for this section of the project.

Equipment

When you are at this stage of your squat practice project you will be close to finishing once the equipment has been installed and tested. But, knowing what equipment you will need and budgeting for it is an early stage deliberation as the cost will be significant.

There are options you can consider, like lease financing, rentals and used equipment but make sure that compliance rules are met, and new technology is utilised. For a detailed look at using technology to help improve the patient experience, click on the link to read our article which covers time-saving, comfort and modern advancements.

Your equipment needs may include:

  • Dental chair or treatment centre
  • Suction pumps
  • Air compressors
  • X-ray machines
  • Handpieces
  • Decontamination equipment
  • Stools
  • Cabinetry
  • Reception desks and seating
  • Lighting
  • Supplies and PPE

We are an independent equipment supplier and have a wide-range available to reflect your treatment specialities, we offer unbiased advice to suit any budget or requirements. See our Equipment section and list by category, manufacturer and even keyword.

Maintenance

Once your practice is set-up and running you will need to be proactive in maintaining and servicing your equipment. Having a regular annual service plan will not only ensure that you are CQC compliant but will also extend the working life of your dental equipment. Our bespoke EclipseCare Service Plans are tailored to suit your needs and preferences.

Dental engineers offer an invaluable service in a dental practice to keep essential machinery functioning and limiting costly downtime that may result from equipment failure. Planned preventative maintenance (PPM) will help to prevent equipment failure and ensure you are compliant to CQC guidelines.

For a full synopsis of the importance of Dental Equipment servicing, read our article - Do I need to have my dental equipment serviced?

In Conclusion

Creating a squat practice is a long and detailed process, but as Alexander Graham Bell said - “The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.”

We can guide and assist you in taking that action in building your squat practice, you can see our case studies for inspiration and check our testimonials to see what our customers say.

Contact us now and we look forward to working with you on your next project!

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