Navigating the Path to Success: Tips for Dentists Setting Up a Private Squat Dental Practice

In the wake of COVID-19 and increased challenges in patient access, the allure of private squat dental practices is on the rise. However, dentists considering this rewarding but challenging venture should carefully evaluate several factors before embarking on this journey. This includes assessing the ease of the process and the associated costs involved and weighing up the challenges versus long-term benefits. Drawing from extensive experience supporting numerous squat practices, Patient Plan Direct shares our thoughts.

Understanding the basics: what is a squat dental practice?

While purchasing an existing dental practice includes paying for its established goodwill, a squat involves starting from scratch. This means no pre-existing business, no brand, and no patients. Dentists opting for the squat route therefore, face the challenge of finding a location, developing pricing strategies, deciding on treatments, assembling a team, and generating patient flow. While acknowledging that this route may present more challenges, those who have ventured down this path often express that the journey is remarkably fulfilling.

Comparative costs: Buy vs. Squat

Dentists typically contribute 10% to 15% of the purchase price when purchasing an existing practice, averaging between £80,000 and £120,000. In contrast, setting up a squat practice allows flexibility in spending, but costs can range from £250,000 to considerably more. Despite being a more affordable option for many, the squat path is not without risks and requires a resilient mindset.

It is also worth bearing in mind that securing financing for squat practices can be more challenging than for established ones, albeit more favourable given current market conditions. Banks may be reluctant to lend more than 50% of the total cost due to the inherent risks. Unlike established practices with a proven track record, squats can only present a business plan and the dentist’s skills, making it a riskier venture from a financial institution’s perspective.

Launch a plan for long-term sustainability

Practices with plan-based income often hold a higher value than a dental practice with only pay-as-you-go income, especially in light of the pandemic when practices offering pay-as-you-go faced income losses when lockdowns forced closures. In contrast, practices with established plans retained income stability, as few patients cancelled their Direct Debits.

Plan-based income is now not only desirable but has proven to be more resilient and stable. For dentists venturing into the realm of squat practices, strategically enrolling patients into a plan early on can be a game-changer. In the initial stages of a squat practice, patient needs can be unpredictable, leading to fluctuating earnings. By securing recurring plan-based income, the business gains a robust structure for cash flow, providing stability during these crucial early months.

This proactive approach not only enhances the practice’s financial stability but also fosters a sense of loyalty among patients who appreciate the value of manageable monthly payments and predictability offered by such plans. Plus, regular patient attendance means less white space and guaranteed appointments with the opportunity to up or cross-sell (ethically of course).

Develop a well-rounded business skillset

Beyond clinical expertise, dentists aspiring to set up a private squat practice should consider developing a robust business CPD programme. This entails honing skills in practice management, team leadership, and marketing – often overlooked during the traditional dental education journey. Gaining hands-on experience by deputising for the principal during absences, participating in marketing initiatives, and actively engaging in the business side of dentistry contribute to building a well-rounded skill set crucial for squat practice success. By investing in business-oriented CPD alongside clinical training, dentists position themselves as adept leaders capable of navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship in dentistry.

Location Location Location

One of the most critical aspects of strategic preparation is carefully selecting the practice location. While many elements within a dental practice can be adapted or modified, the location remains a fixed factor that significantly influences success. You should try not to compromise on the choice of location, as it serves as the cornerstone for patient accessibility and practice visibility. A well-chosen location attracts the right demographic and facilitates a smooth flow of patients. When the location aligns with the target market and demographics, everything else – from marketing efforts to patient engagement – tends to fall into place.


Starting marketing efforts a few months before the planned opening ensures a database of prospective patients ready to engage when the doors open. Dentists should leverage various marketing channels, both digital and traditional, to create awareness and generate interest. Utilising social media, local publications, and community outreach can enhance the practice’s visibility and foster connections within the community. A well-thought-out marketing plan attracts new patients and establishes the practice as a reputable and sought-after dental destination.

Start your journey today

Embarking on the journey to set up a private squat dental practice requires thorough planning, financial acumen, and strategic foresight. For tailored support in navigating squat practice management and maximising the benefits of a dental practice plan, feel free to book an exploratory meeting with the Patient Plan Direct team. You can book by calling 0344 848 6888 or completing our enquiry form, and take the first step towards a rewarding future in dentistry.

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