Steps to Prepare to Close the Deal on Your First Practice

August 20, 2018 Blog

Now that the purchase agreement is signed, you’re a few steps away from a solid start and steady hereafter in this new chapter of your career.

PPO Contracts

You will need insurance contracts and credentialing in place in advance of closing. Start this sooner rather than later - some insurance credentialing, especially if you take any state-run plans, can take a significant amount of time to get approved and in place.

Entity and Licenses

Secure your new entity and obtain any licenses or accounts necessary to practice. You'll need to set up a bank account, and that requires obtaining your new tax identification number (EIN). You'll also need to set-up accounts for unemployment and workers' compensation. You'll want to coordinate these steps with your attorney and accountant. 

Insure Yourself and the Office

Your lender will want to know that your office and personal insurance is in line. This protects you, your employees, and your clientele. You will need general liability insurance, business insurance, and professional malpractice insurance. Many insurance companies offer dentist or professional packages tailored to your needs. Be sure to address life and disability insurance.  

Ready the Payroll

Setting up and maintaining payroll properly is important for tax purposes and keeping a happy staff.

You'll need your federal and state employer identification numbers (EINs) as well as other tax withholding accounts before your payroll service can complete their tasks. 

Unless you hire an independent contractor, all of your employees should be on a regular pay schedule, bi-weekly or semi-monthly. Every paycheck should have taxes and Social Security withheld, and it’s vital that you pay employer-side payroll taxes, such as Federal Unemployment Tax. Don’t forget to file W-2s at the end of the year.

Using a payroll service can ease the burden of management. When looking for one, consider whether the service is convenient, if the cost matches your budget, and if it includes options like direct deposit, payroll reporting, vacation and sick day tracking, etc. Going paperless should help—not hinder—your payroll process.

Credit Card Processing

To accept credit card payments in your practice, you’ll need to open a merchant account. This will allow your clients to pay via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and other credit card companies. Typically, there’s a startup fee as well as monthly and per-transaction fees. Often your lender will offer these services, but you may not be required to use them. Shop around and compare these fees before signing up.

Find out how your provider protects credit card information to avoid fraud and identity theft. You will need to purchase a credit card swiper, either one made for smart phones/tablets, or a classic point-of-sale transaction unit.

Transfer Utilities

Make sure your utilities have been transferred. If you will be using the building in a different manner than it had been previously, check with all your utility companies to ensure that the wattage, lighting, and internet speed match your needs to avoid glitches in your early days. You can avoid power surges and outages, as well as frozen computers and system failures, easier this way.

Set Up Software

When your new clients begin to call, you want to have your software and phone systems fully operational and your staff trained to use them. Don’t be afraid to look for a reputable, local IT company whose services match your specific technology needs and budget. Create a space for user manuals and directions for your staff for reminders after official training.

Decrease the chances for added stress so that you can focus on managing your team and treating your patients. When you can go home on time to recharge for another day, you’re better prepared to continue working on your long-term goals and growing your practice.

Draft Announcement Letter

Now that you’ve worked hard to get this practice started, it’s time to let everyone know about it. Contact your local newspaper with an announcement or press release, and choose which social media outlets would be most advantageous to share your opening information. Commit to whichever platform(s) you select and continue posting updates to let your clientele in on specials, new products and services, and introducing your team. If you haven't already sent out the introductory letter to patients and referral sources, now is the time to do so.

Remember that starting your own practice will have its challenges, but by taking care of the details, you can be happily busy, not hectic and stretched too thin to balance your work and personal life. You started this business so you could help others and enjoy yourself, inside and outside of work. Don’t cheat yourself by underestimating the rewards of partnering with trusted advisors who understand how a professional practice operates and can recommend for you what they do themselves.

If you’re looking for more support preparing to start your first practice, let us know. We’d love to field your questions and help you navigate this exciting time in your career.

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