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Dental Budget Killer #2 – The “Future Plans” in Your New Office

By Jayme Amos.  Get free updates of posts here

The 2nd Most Expensive

Dental Budget Killer is…

Forgetting the Future.

Estimated Cost: Unlimited Cost to The Doctor


dental budgetLast year we had a client who wanted to incorporate into their dental budget, a 3D Imaging unit in his office. His office is a big place with 3 other doctors and they were ready to incorporate 3D technology with an iCAT. The location in the building offered the best clinical and patient-flow location and it was the obvious spot where a high-use item should be located.

But the problem is that the building needed $8,000 of renovations to accommodate the device.

If the space had been planned properly years ago when they first designed the floor plan, we could have avoided the $8,000 in dental office construction costs, the mess, the disruption to their working days during those 3 weeks, etc. His dental budget for construction was ruined because he didn’t start with his future plans in mind.

So don’t forget your future! Don’t forget about creating and deeply thinking through your future plans.  As you plan out your space, be sure to project forward at least 10 years and leave room in your dental budget for the things you have in mind down the road.


Some Overlooked Examples of Future Planning

(any of these could dental budget killers!)

Here are some good examples of spaces and keeping those spaces in your future plans. The future of dentistry continues to evolve and keep more and more under one roof so consider some of these overlooked concepts in your future planning:dental budget

1) Cad Cam – leave room in the floor plans make it a showpiece and use it on patient tours!

2) Cone Beam – larger footprints than older, traditional pans.

3) Associate Ops – will you have room for 2 doctors to work while hygiene is taking place?

4) The Overflow Room – when a practice gets busy, the best news in the world is an extra room for the emergency patient.

5) Recovery Room – might you embrace more surgical procedures with implants on the rise?

6) VIP Patient Area – could you have a high-end area of your practice where boutique services are offered like spa-style treatments, cosmetic enhancements in the dental office.

7) Consult Room – the largest cases may be better communicated outside of a dental chair.

8) Lecture Room – could you promote big implant cases to the public? One client does this twice per month, bringing in 80 prospective implant case attendees to their lecture room.

9) 3D Printing – this is not cone beam, rather 3D printing. Where and how will your practice be able to embrace the biggest technology to come this century? Will your dental budget and future plans leave room for this?

10) Business Strategy Room – This is not a “business manager office”. This is your antidote to the tsunami of corporate dentistry coming your way. More and more practices will need focused, strategic planning with a true business team to keep the practice profitable and efficient. Don’t let PPOs, corporate dentistry and inefficiencies hold your practice back…build in a place to have true planning sessions with your team.  This is future dentistry.


Here is a $150,000 annual loss to consider:

The wrong number of treatment rooms.

The average practice produces $150,000 PER OPERATORY every year.

dental budgetLet’s not leave $150,000 on the table in your future practice! Forgetting Future Dentistry with respect to the wrong number of treatment rooms will actually cost you many times more than $10k of dental office construction cost when you calculate unmet production.

Try to calculate how much production you would lose this month if you lost 2 operatories in your office? The estimates might make you uncomfortable but they’re real. This is hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line for your dental budget. All through planning the right number of ops into your new space.

That is what we’re referring to here – in terms of planning for future dentistry.

How many operatories is ideal?

That question is handled in a separate blog post on my website at

The complex answer to the “Right Number of Operatories” is:  It Depends.

Some of the clarity needs to come at the beginning of your planning process. Most of the clarity can be answered by digesting the question you’ll see below.

When planning for your future, your Practice Project Team should be asking you questions like these:

a)      How many days per week do you want to work?

b)      What income do you need and want to achieve in the new facility?

c)      How many truly active patients do you have?

d)      How many patients are appointed in the next 6 months?

e)      What growth do you want in the next 5 years?

f)       What specialties do you plan on keeping in house or bringing a specialist in for?

g)      Do you have or will you ever want an associate?

By pushing through these “deeper” questions, you’ll have better clarity and confidence on the direction for your new office planning.

The Profitability of The Extra Operatory

But equipment is expensive!

And a larger office is expensive!

How can we decide confidently AND afford all this?

Here are some thoughts to address those very valid questions…

The average operatory will cost approximately $30k-$50k (construction and dental budgetequipment) and the investment in that operatory in your new office will create, on average $100-$150k per year in production. That’s a GREAT investment!

If I told you that you could put $50k in the stock market and get back $150k, I think you’d join me, right?

“Each operatory wields the power of $100-$150k in production on average, please be sure your design process today is including your future plans.”

For that reason, please make sure you have the capacity to match your current and future practice plans as you design your new office. Don’t forget future dentistry!

When we work with clients, we often tell them to plan for the space and “equip” it later. Plan for the future, have the space and make sure it’s available to use so you can care for the patients who trust you.

The extended conversation above deals with some of the surface discussions on operatories but there are a dozen other topics that must be addressed in planning for your future. Don’t get stuck paying tens of thousands of dollars for unnecessary construction upgrades later. Plan it out right the first time and avoid the massive budget killing dental office construction cost down the road.

Find a team that can help you think through and plan through your future…Don’t forget future dentistry!

If you have questions, please just give me a call,

By Jayme


PS.  Keep your eyes out for Budget Killing Dental Office Construction Cost #3 – The $20,000 Floor




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