Monday, August 27, 2012

Should Dentist Move Office, and if so, How?

I am a general dentist in private practice in a rural area wondering about how to relocate to a larger nearby town.  My practice has slowed down over the last few years as the town is getting smaller and smaller.  

I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to a good approach moving locations while trying to retain as many of my current patients as possible.  The new town would be about 20 miles away.  I was thinking about trying to lease some space in a specialist office maybe 1/2 to 1 day per week while keeping my rural practice open full time.  At some point I would then relocate my practice to the new town.  I know there are a lot of variables in this scenario but I was just curious as to whether this  has done before and any thoughts or suggestions?

Currently we are not in dire straits but production has decreased an average of 6%/yr for the past 4yrs.  The town itself is losing businesses and population.  I'm just trying to get out in front of what may be coming.  I recently started direct mail for this town and other towns surrounding us which hasn't done well but I just started.  I am tapped out on cutting costs so moving to a nearby town that is in fact growing looked like a possible option if you had great suggestions on how to go about it.
Thanks for your response.

I would think this is the only way to try it. That is, open up in the town you want to build in and slowly wean your patients from the old location to the new. You might work your existing practice for 4 days for the 1st 12 months, then 3, then 2, then 1, etc. While weaning away from the old location, slowly increase the days in the new location 1,2,3,4, etc.

So I see it as maybe a 3-5 year type of transition to see how many of your existing patients are willing to come see you in the new location. Over time, those that have agreed to do so should remain with you after closing the old location.

If you can run your new location inexpensively the first year or three, that'll help significantly with the double fixed OH.

Good luck.

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