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Fit-out your dental practice with the future in mind

A well-designed fit-out could set up your dental practice for future growth and offer a great return on investment

Generally, there are three situations when a practice owner undertakes a full fit-out of their dental practice.

Firstly, they’re setting up a brand-new practice from scratch. Usually, this is the first time the owner has run a practice and their experience of the process is limited.

Secondly, a practice owner is relocating to a new location. Often they are renting their existing premises and are relocating because they want to buy the property and fit it out to their own standards.

Thirdly, a practice owner has decided to undertake a full renovation of their existing practice. This can happen when an owner has chosen to upgrade and rebrand their practice or a new owner wishes to revamp older premises.

In all these situations, the consideration of future growth is an important part of the process. A practice might have capacity for three surgeries, but current turnover only requires one to be operational. Plumbing all three will work out cheaper than adding the plumbing later. A two-surgery practice relocating in order to expand to three surgeries could be well served to have space reserved for a fourth surgery.

At the same time, it’s important not to have too much unutilised space because there is a cost at stake per square metre, whether you’re purchasing or renting. While some rooms may not be fully equipped or have cabinetry added, they can double duty as a storage area or office. Then, when the business grows to a certain point, it’s a simple matter to convert the existing space.

Professional help

So when it comes to fitting out your practice, where should you start? “There are companies that specialise in dental practice fit-outs,” says Luke Truscott from BOQ Specialist. “It’s worthwhile to have a conversation with them and to have them look at the property.”

One common challenge with practice fit-outs is navigating all the council regulations and building approvals. If the premises is heritage-listed, there’s another level of complexity. It’s also a requirement that premises meet all disability requirements, such as access and width of hallways.

“Any changes to a property must be approved by the council,” says Luke. “Regulations and codes can be different from council to council and state to state. Utilising a quality fit-out company is a great assistance in navigating all those issues.”

On budget

While it’s important not to overcapitalise the fit-out, you need to ensure that the premises look great and there is a natural flow to the space. Equipment needs to suit the needs of the practice and its patients.

“It’s not unusual for the cost of the set-up and fit-out of a new surgery to be the equivalent of purchasing an existing practice,” Luke says. “Having a clear budget and accurate costings should be the very first step in proceedings—you don’t want any surprises halfway through the process. When I talk with a dentist ready to fit-out their practice, I’ll put together a spreadsheet taking into account all the associated costs.”

It will include everything that’s needed for a fully equipped surgery—chair, X-ray unit, lights, autoclave and extras such as OPG units. Computer hardware and software along with furnishings, cabinetry, paint and flooring must all be taken into account too.

“Each fit-out is different, depending on the specific needs of the client,” says Luke. “Providing accurate estimations at the beginning of the process will reduce the chance of over-capitalisation and ensure the finished practice meets expectations on the agreed budget.”

Face of the practice

While a fit-out is centred around the surgeries, equipment and office areas of a practice, it’s also a great opportunity to make the reception area warm, welcoming and efficient. After all, this is the face of your business.

“The reception area should reflect your business ethos and your positioning in the market,” says Luke. “Whether you’re a high-end practice providing cosmetic work, a family practice in a shopping mall or single chair surgery in a country town, your reception area should be warm and professional.”

Consider your location, your patients demographic and your brand, then celebrate it in the space that all patients remember.

Get organised

“The one piece of advice I’d give any dentist considering a full practice fit-out is to be organised,” says Luke. "Speak to different fit-out companies, look at some of the work they have done, and chat to people who have used their services. Know what your costs are going to be upfront and have all contingencies covered. At the end of the process, you should have a practice that instils pride into you and your staff. There should be a logical flow to the services that makes the workflow organised and efficient. As soon as a patients walks in, they should know they will be receiving professional service and excellent care.”


To find out more ways we can help you with fitting out a practice, contact your local finance specialist today on 1300 160 160 or or to learn more, take a look at our fit-out finance options to see how we can tailor a finance solution for you.

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      The issuer and credit provider of these products and services is BOQ Specialist – a division of Bank of Queensland Limited ABN 32 009 656 740 AFSL and Australian credit licence no. 244616 (“BOQ Specialist”). Terms, conditions, fees, charges, eligibility and lending criteria apply. Any information is of a general nature only. We have not taken into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs when preparing it. Before acting on this information, you should consider if it is appropriate for your situation. BOQ Specialist is not offering financial, tax or legal advice. You should obtain independent financial, tax and legal advice as appropriate.