Drs Rano and Brett Morris keeping the dental practice in the family

For husband and wife team, owning their own dental practice is an opportunity to build something together.

  4.5 minutes

Many dental practices describe themselves informally as ‘just like a family’. For Drs Rano and Brett Morris, this is literally true. Inspired by his new wife, a few months after they had married, Brett decided to change careers from engineering to Rano’s profession of dentistry. “We were planning to have a child within a couple of years, and I thought, ‘Now is the only time we could make this type of change’,” Rano recalls.

Both of them realised the risk involved but were also quite taken with the idea of building something together. “Once he graduated, I could work part-time and he’d work part-time, and it would work well within the family for the balance,” Rano says.

The first thing they discussed was an exit strategy, which involved having the relationship come first in all circumstances. “It wasn't easy,” she adds. “It was difficult for him to make such a large career change. There are lots of stresses as a mature age student, and then the second year in, we had our first child. We just thought, ‘once you commit to a big change, you push through’.”

What they hadn’t quite accounted for was that it would be a big success. 

Working together

Relatively early in her career, Rano had bought into a small practice in her native Adelaide.

“It was just a decision I thought I'd make for more clinical independence and control over my future,” she says.

“And I thought it's okay if it doesn't work out, as it wasn't as big a financial outlay back then. I was just pushing the boundaries to see whether it was something that I could do. But then it grew into quite a nice, successful solo practice with just myself and two staff.”

When Brett graduated and they started looking at working together, the space was not large enough to grow into.

“If it was just me, I might have stayed there,” Rano says. “But because Brett came into the picture, we had two brains within the business and a drive to grow our future. The lease had expired on the place we were in, and it was the perfect time to find a new home.”

Room to grow

Their primary requirement was a property nearby to make the transition for existing patients as easy as possible. Ideally on the same road they were already based on, but with more parking and more space.

“We looked at a couple of properties, but just the price was quite a surprise,” says Rano.

A few hurdles were avoided by their discussions with BOQ Specialist, who could help them understand the options available to them.

BOQ Specialist’s Darren Tomlinson says, “What we were able to do was assist them with moving the practice into an owner-occupied commercial property to expand the practice, but also buy the property.”

“It was nice to have the confidence with the bank itself, that the people that were there would watch out for us when they could have just given us a financial product,” Rano says.

When fitting out the new rooms, they decided to create a third surgery for when, some time in the future, another dentist joins them. “We didn’t plan on filling it straight away,” says Rano. “The plan was to have the space built at the start ready for growth in the future. We both are working three days a week so we have time to dedicate to our two children in their younger years.” 

 

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