Archive for April, 2015

Make an Informed Decision Whether to Lease or Buy

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Whether establishing a new dental practice or taking steps to expand your practice, as a business owner, you face difficult choices. One crucial decision is whether to invest in commercial real estate (CRE) or to lease space. Before you decide, weigh the pros and cons of a lease vs. buy, take steps to learn the current CRE climate, and surround yourself with experts who can smooth your path.

First Step: To Lease or Buy?

A lease might appeal to you if future space requirements are uncertain, or you require cash for equipment and marketing. The upside of leasing is that it typically doesn’t require a large down payment, leaving you with cash available to focus on running your practice. Plus, you don’t have property ownership and maintenance responsibilities.

Lease arrangements have one major drawback: You aren’t investing in your future. As property values increase, your landlord — not you — benefits from the property’s investment. The landlord also might limit improvements you can make to the space. Retrofitting existing space for a dental practice could cost $150,000 or more. And, once you invest in improvements, consider that this is the space that you don’t own. If you outgrow the space, you will start over in a new location, losing your initial investment in the process.

If your goals are longer term, and you wish to use your property as an asset toward future retirement, consider buying. Purchasing property sometimes requires an up-front investment, but can often be mitigated by a lender who specializes in dental financing.

For new construction or purchased CRE, your loan can be amortized over 25 years, in some cases resulting in monthly payments similar to a 10-year lease agreement. Owning your property and building gives you a blank slate. You can develop and modify space as your office changes and grows. Or, you can allocate space to lease to other tenants, which generates a new revenue stream. Another benefit is that owning CRE property comes with multiple tax benefits.

Steps two and three will be highlighted in a follow up article.


Screenshot 2015-04-24 14.15.33

JP Blevins joined the Live Oak Bank team in early 2011 and initially spent much of his time educating young professionals about financing and how to best maintain and grow their business. Assisting healthcare professionals in achieving the “American Dream” of ownership, JP is a Loan Officer and General Manager working exclusively with the dental and medical community nationwide.

JP can be reached by phone at 910.796.1674, or email

4 Reasons Patients No Show

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Broken appointments cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue every year. While you’re never going to completely eliminate cancellations and no-shows in your practice, you can significantly reduce them. How? First you have to understand why patients don’t show up.  Here are four reasons patients don’t make dental appointments a priority, and what you can do to change that at your practice:

1. They Don’t See the Value of Dentistry – When patients don’t understand the importance of maintaining their oral health, they’re much more likely to skip out on their appointment times. That’s why education is so important, and should be part of every patient interaction.


2. You Don’t Create a Sense of Urgency – When you recommend treatment to patients, you have to stress the importance of going forward with that treatment. Make sure patients understand the possible consequences of ignoring the problem, and the benefits of maintaining their oral health. Never leave them with the impression that there’s no hurry to pursue the treatment you’re recommending. After all, if you aren’t worried about it, why should they be?


3. You Don’t Always Confirm Appointments – Your patients are busy people with many responsibilities, so they might not remember making an appointment with your office. This is especially true if they made that appointment six months ago. That’s why you have to make sure your Scheduling Coordinator and/or your patient communication system confirms every appointment with every patient two days in advance (via their preferred method of contact).


4. You Don’t Have a Cancellation Policy –  When you have a cancellation policy and communicate that policy with patients, it helps them to see the importance of showing up for their appointment. If you don’t have a cancellation policy, develop one now and make sure you let both new and current patients know it exists. Remind patients about the policy when they schedule their appointments. Ask them to give your office at least two days’ notice if they can’t make their appointment so another patient can see the doctor.


Broken appointments wreak havoc on your day and cost you time and money. If you follow these tips, you’ll see a huge reduction in the number of cancellations and no-shows your practice has to deal with each week, and that, doctor, will do wonders for reducing stress levels while also growing your productivity numbers and your bottom line.

To read this article in it’s entirety CLICK HERE

Employee Background Checks

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Performing employee background checks is important for several reasons, including minimizing the potential exposure to lawsuits or other administrative claims initiated by unhappy patients over alleged inappropriate care, treatment, or billing issues. Employee background checks are also important for safeguarding your practice against internal theft. Finally, background checks can assist you in protecting the safety of your patients and staff.

As employers and owners of small businesses, dentists face possible claims for the negligent hiring of both associate dentists and support staff. Consequently, it is important to perform background checks in order to confirm an applicant’s qualifications and professional standing. The extent of the background check will depend on various factors, including the position for which the person is being considered. For example, when the decision is made to hire an associate dentist, it is important to ensure that the prospective associate is appropriately licensed. It is also important to determine whether the licensee is the subject of any present or past licensing action. Confirming your hygienists and/or assistants maintain the appropriate license or certification is equally important.

There are numerous methods of performing background checks, including obtaining credit reports, performing criminal background checks, obtaining education and driving records, checking public records and obtaining information regarding an individual’s past employment experiences. Obtaining proper consent for the performance of many of these checks is recommended and, in many instances, mandatory. Careful consideration must be given before performing background checks to ensure you do not run afoul of the laws that protect the privacy rights of prospective employees and protect individuals from unlawful discrimination.

Of course, a lawful background check cannot guarantee you will not have issues with your staff, but it can certainly help minimize the potential exposure and risk you face as an owner of a dental practice.


Screenshot 2015-04-16 10.33.11Andrew Paluda has specialized in the representation of dentists in malpractice and general business matters for over 20 years. He has a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating in recognition of his preeminent legal ability and high ethical standards. He frequently is called upon to give risk management seminars and was recently named a top lawyer by DBusiness Magazine.


To read this article in its entirety CLICK HERE


 Editor’s note: This does not constitute legal advice.  Please consult professional counsel for your individual situation.