by George Allen
As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Houston’s demand for dental services has increased significantly over the past decade. With the rising population, the number of new dental offices has similarly increased, making the need for detailed analytics all the more crucial when selecting a location for a new practice.
Analyzing local demographics combined with competition research is the most helpful approach to selecting a location with a likelihood for success. Using several methods to dig into the data and better define the competitive landscape around a potential location, it is possible to identify areas with favorable statistics.
Review the Population Statistics
Understanding your potential client base is a crucial part to any business, and when opening a new dental practice, you’ll need to get a clear picture of who might be using your services. Population statistics can give you some important insight about the types of people who live in an area, and this data can prove useful in determining if a particular location is right for your office. Depending on the type of practice that you are looking to open, examining different demographics will be important:
Income statistics. Examining the median income in a particular area can determine the relative wealth of the population. If you are catering your practice to clients with Medicaid, an area with a lower income level would be the most attractive for your business. Median income often provides a more accurate picture of area wealth than average household income, as average income could be skewed by the small percentage of wealthy households in a targeted area.
Race and ethnicity. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and for doctors who prefer to deliver their healthcare services to a specific ethnic group, this can be an attractive quality. If you intend to cater your practice to a target niche, it can be helpful to know where these groups reside.
Adolescent data. If you intend to open a Medicaid practice, the target age to consider is 19 and younger. This statistic will tell you how many young people are in the community, and considering that younger individuals are more likely to visit the dentist, this is a useful statistic for all practices. If you intend to open an orthodontic or pediatric dentistry practice, you may be interested in the population under age 14.
Population growth. The clients who are most likely to seek out a new dental practice are those who have recently relocated to an area. Obtaining statistics about area growth can help you to find a location where the need for your services is the highest. New growth will give your dental clinic the greatest chance for success.
Total population. When considering a potential practice location, it is important to consider the total population of the target area. The population density can greatly impact your available patient pool, and it is important to consider the availability of clients so that you can hedge against a competitor who might be coming into your target patient population. That’s not to say that a lower population density is always bad – if an area is experiencing strong residential growth, especially if it is 1-3 hours outside the Houston area and less desirable to competitors, a location might still be a strong contender.
Considering population demographics can significantly impact the likelihood that your dental office is successful upon opening, and it can greatly impact your practice as a whole.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
When determining whether a particular location is right for your new dental office, you’ll also want to consider the other dentists who might be located nearby. Not only is this important from a competitive standpoint, but nearby access to other dental specialists may make your practice more attractive to potential clients.
Competitors. When considering whether a potential location is right for your business, you should review the number of competitors in the area. Examine where they are located in relation to the nearby population. It is crucial to use up-to-date information and to run custom searches in order to view the most accurate numbers, as the addition of even one dental practice can make a huge difference.
Referral partners. For dental specialists, it can be helpful to consider the number of referral partners that are located in a given area. These referral partners can be other dentist practices – such as locating your oral surgery office near pediatric and general dentists – or they can be other community organizations – such as placing your orthodontic office near local middle schools.
Dentist-to-population ratio. Many dentists rely heavily on this statistic, as it will show the saturation in an area. This number will be a good indicator of the need for dentists in a particular community.
Learn About the Area Culture
The lifestyle of a particular area is also an important consideration when deciding on where to place your dental practice. Sometimes, simply reviewing the numbers don’t tell the entire story about a location, as an up-and-coming neighborhood may look similar to an area that is being vacated. It may be in your best interest to open your office near your sphere of influence, such as where you grew up, where your church is located, or where your children go to school, as you will have a good understanding of the lifestyle of these neighborhoods.
Choosing the right location for your dental practice can be the difference between seeing 20 patients on your first day of operation versus two. Be careful who you listen to and who you work with – a real estate agency that specializes in dental and medical practices knows what research needs to be done to help you locate areas that are most in need of your services.
George is the Greater Houston representative for Thomas Allen Practice Real Estate Group and works exclusively with healthcare professionals to find the right location for their practice. He is actively in the market working with brokers and researching real estate trends in the Houston area. His continued relationships with vendors within the medical field enable him to surround his clients with the a strong team of professionals. In addition to knowing the market and building relationships, George’s experience in lease/contract negotiation allows clients to get the best deal possible. George takes pride in knowing that his work enables his clients to start their practice in the best position possible. George Allen can be reached by calling (713) 822 – 6775 (mobile) or send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org