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Buyer Beware-- Before You Buy an Optometry Practice

Taking the plunge into owning your own business, no matter what field you’re in is always a risk. When it comes to opening your own optometry practice, there are many factors you should consider and trends you should examine before you do. If you decide to move ahead, use an optometry accounting service to keep track of your expenses and goals and to provide financical counseling as you begin this new adventure and your career.

You should first consider whether opening your own optometry practice or buying into an existing one (to eventually own it) is the best way to begin your career. With any business purchase or opening, it should always depend on these key factors: Location and community, available customer base, gross receipts, expenses, and time investment.

Buying into vs. opening your own practice

If you want to open your own practice, it can be challenging and intimadating at first to navigate the many requirements needed to secure financing. You will likely need to develop a solid business plan and incorporate items such as insurance, equipment, credentialing, and vendors into your business loan.

You will also need to build your customer base from the ground up, which means lots of hours and money spent on advertising. This is all in addition to paying off debts you’ve incurred in student loans.

On the other hand, buying into a practice means you’re entering an established business as a partial owner. Some businesses allow you to become a fractional owner, where you buy in for 25%, and once you’ve paid that valuation, you have the opportunity to purchase more shares of the business.

The risks with this approach are much lower, and you won’t need to secure as much financing, which means the loan is usually much easier to approve and fast-track.

Location, location, location

You can always expand or demolish a building, but you can’t change where it’s located. Look into the optimal areas for your practice that include ample parking, ease of access, and plenty of space. You’ll likely want to start small at first, and hopefully, you’ve purchased a location which will allow you to grow into your practice.

The community you’re opening your practice in is also an important factor. As a small business owner, you will become part of that community. You will help people,you’re your patients will get to know you. Choose a location where you feel comfortable and can make a difference to the population you serve.

Available customer base

With location and community comes the available customer base. If you’re in an area with a high population of seniors, for example, you may find that your business will have more than enough patients to fill your customer base.

However, if there’s a lot of competition in that area, you’ll need to strategize to pull in more first-time patients with creative advertising. You’ll also need to ensure they are satisfied enough to stay with you and become part of your capture rate. You can keep track of your advertising efforts and capture rates with optometry bookkeeping software or services.

Gross receipts, expenses, and time investment

Remember, your gross receipts, or gross revenue is the primary factor in how successful your business will be. Insurance companies may not fully pay your charges for services, and you’ll have to factor that in under your gross revenue. Your expenses, including new equipment, payroll, mortgage or rent, and malpractice insurance will all be a part of your negative cash flow.

You’ll need to keep a keen eye on the amount of expenses versus the gross revenues you are bringing in to determine your profits and whether you are meeting your business goals successfully. Utilizing an optometry bookkeeping service can help you analyze the numbers each quarter so you can make informed decisions for the next direction of your practice.

Call us today

Give Caro & Associates a call today, and let us help you keep track of your business metrics and goals.

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