This episode is for you if you are thinking of starting your own dental house-call practice. By the way, I’m thrilled! The world needs your services. Tune in and let’s simplify the venture to fit any dentist, the practice owner, the dentist thinking of going mobile, including even the student who is thinking of a practical pathway after school. These are the 5 things you do not need to start.
1. A large amount of available real estate
You do not need to lease office space for your dental equipment. You don’t need to move into a larger home with a basement workshop. I started my business in my 550 sq ft apartment, the same apartment that I’ve been living in since dental school. A bigger home with more space or even a separate office space are both thoughts that have crossed my mind. Both would be nice to have, but I can make those decisions in the future. Wherever you live, you can do this right now.
2. Branded scrubs
Spending money on branded things can come from wanting to “look like” a business. Spend more energy on actually being a business and the “looking like a business” part can come later. The scrubs you have today are just fine. I did not start with branded scrubs right away. Sure, now I wear embroidered scrubs, but that came about over time. This is the same for almost anything. You don’t need to splurge on branded suitcases for carrying your things or branded merchandise.
3. A large vehicle
Yes, you’ll be driving mobile dental equipment around. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with snowy winters, like me, you’ll be driving around mobile dental equipment in the snow. Although it may be nice, you do not need to invest in an SUV just yet. Everything you’re bringing into someone’s home can usually be transported in a suitcase or backpack. I run my business out of my super tiny Corolla. An upgrade is in the works, but my current vehicle is just fine. If you’ve got a vehicle that works, you’ve got a good enough vehicle to get started.
4. A super awesome home sterilization center
Don’t go running off to buy your own autoclave just yet. For the entire first year, I sterilized equipment at my buddy’s office. I would drive there once or twice a week on nights or weekends when his office was closed. Don’t get me wrong, sterilizing at home is way better, but if you have friends that’ll help you out, start there. Just remember to bring your own sterilization pouches because you don’t want to take advantage of their generosity!
5. A lot of advertising dollars
Yes, you do need to let the world know your services are available. But please don’t go spend more than your monthly overhead on advertising immediately. Brainstorm free ways to connect with patients, caregivers, or allied health professionals. Visit retirement communities, send out flyers, and build relationships. Investing time in building relationships will serve you better than advertising dollars in the long run. If you’re not in a saturated community, you’ll probably be busy soon enough. Still, if you’d like to invest in advertising, go for it! Just don’t let a low ad budget stop you from getting started.
I decided to create the Home Smile Care Foundation to close the gap between house-call dentists and economically disadvantaged patients.
Full disclosure, we’re still in the founding and fundraising phase. We’re hoping to be up and operating in early 2023.
The Home Smile Care Foundation is a non-profit organization that will give funding to patients who truly NEED and CANNOT AFFORD at-home dental care.