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Dr Amrit Kandola and Dr Stephanie Kong’s fresh start

When Dr Amrit Kandola received his cancer diagnosis, the last thing people thought he’d do was buy a dental practice with his dentist wife Dr Stephanie Kong. But that’s exactly what the couple did.

  3 minutes


At the end of 2019, Perth dentist Dr Amrit Kandola was diagnosed with cancer. This life-changing diagnosis led him and his wife, Dr Stephanie Kong, to quit their jobs as associate dentists, buy a caravan and travel around Australia. They spent six months on the road in Western Australia, making it all the way to the Northern Territory border, when the second wave of COVID hit.

With the border slammed shut, they were stuck in Kununurra. Then Dr Kandola’s father called him. “He mentioned that my childhood dentist, who was also a long-term family friend, had just been diagnosed with cancer as well,” he recalls. “I had been through my treatment, but he had quite advanced, terminal cancer.”

By that stage in their journey, they had seen most of WA and were planning to travel for another month before making their way back to Perth. After hearing the news from back home, they decided to return and help as locums for the family friend while he sorted out what he needed to. “And then about three weeks after that, as he had understood what his prognosis was, he offered for us to buy the practice,” says Dr Kandola. “So, we went from travelling with no plans, to buying a practice straight away. It was thrust into our lives.”

Practice potential

Both Dr Kong and Dr Kandola were born overseas and moved with their parents to Australia around the turn of the millennium. They met during their dentistry degrees at the University of Western Australia in 2009, and graduated together in 2013. Their relationship started when they were both working in private practice in Perth.

They had discussed the idea of owning a practice together some time in the future—but then the cancer diagnosis came, the treatment, the travel, and then this opportunity. “When we had been working there for a couple of weeks, we found we really liked the practice,” he says. “And I'm not a person that holds back if I can see the benefits there; I'm not one to shy away from the challenge. This dentist was a sole practitioner in the practice—it was only him and his practice manager. If there was no-one there, the practice was over. We had to make a quick decision in a couple of weeks; whether we take on this challenge or continue with our simple lives.”

On one hand, the practice had 30 years of goodwill and a large, loyal patient base. However, “procedurally and structurally, the practice wasn't what I wanted because it was basically built around him,” Dr Kandola says. “The equipment wasn't very advanced, there were poor computer systems, but it was sufficient for what he had done. He was content with that and that was what he was happy with. But we sat down and thought, this is a good opportunity to get into it with a running practice and create something we can grow from.”

Practice makeover

What followed was 18 months of hiring new staff and adapting the practice to make it more their own, as well as educating the old patients about a newer style of dentistry. They also got help from Medifit to fit out the practice, keeping the shell of the building but changing the layout of the practice and adding new chairs.

“It was really important to me for the practice not to shut down for a long period of time because we would then essentially lose those patients who we were trying to maintain with the transition, and Sam and his team were fantastic.”

BOQ Specialist were their source of finance.

“I have been with BOQ Specialist since just after I graduated," says Dr Kandola. "So, when we came to look at buying the practice, honestly that was the first place I contacted. I met with Josh van Bruchem and he was very professional and knowledgeable. I wanted someone that was a specialist in that field of practice finance so that they would understand our vision and needs as well.” 


Thinking about starting or growing your practice? Click on the link to find out more about our tailored financial solutions for setting up a practice.

Ready to take the next step? Contact us to find out how we can tailor a practice finance solution for you, or call us on 1300 160 160.

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