I practice in a very “tough” area. What does that mean? Well, there are a ton of orthodontists, literally every pediatric dentist for 4 miles (as the crow flies) has in-house ortho and the local GPs pride themselves on doing everything (including ortho). Yet, in the last 12 months, 2 orthodontists have opened brand new practices within a mile of me. I’m not upset and I genuinely wish them well, but if you look at a map of the region where I live, there are literally dozens of other spaces where one could have opened and been far more successful with way less effort. It made me wonder: How do orthodontists determine where to practice and who is giving them advice?
Sure, many will say that there is a lot of “low hanging fruit” and enough orthodontics out there for all of us, but it’s easy for the big practices to say that. For a brand new practice in a low traffic area, when the phone isn’t ringing and patients aren’t coming in, it can be tough.
Not a week goes by without me getting a message or two from orthodontists wanting to move into my area, asking me “what’s it like?” I’m always thrilled that they ask me. It’s way better for them and the relationship if they reach out before committing to a space or land. But I am always honest and explain to them what I feel about the region in which I practice. I’ll always be 100% honest, but not everyone is in their corner.
A new practice is a huge investment and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Nor should you ever defer the hard work needed to determine if an area is right for you. There are companies that will “do all the research for you” but is that really a good thing? It’s my opinion that it’s important to for you to really know and learn about an area if you plan on practicing there, rather than taking somebody else’s word on it, just like you would if you plan on living somewhere. Sure, hire “experts” but in the end, you should be the one digging into the research and spending a lot of time in the area.
I’d also suggest that you reach out to local orthodontists before buying land or renting a space. Sure, some may not be thrilled, but others may be very welcoming and tell you everything you need to know. It’s a way better strategy than simply opening up and then telling them “howdy neighbor”. You’ll learn a lot about the region that can help you and foster a way better relationship if you’re open and honest about your intentions.
In most locations there are many great options for practice locations and you can figure out where to go with even just a little legwork. As long as you act the part of business owner and entrepreneur, you’ll most likely be successful no matter where you go, but your path to economic maturity and practice success should never be delegated to someone else and should involve as much due diligence as you can muster.
If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.
Wishing you all the best!!!