• The (unsung and underappreciated) virtues of a rural practice purchase
Nov 16 2020 - Simon Palmer - Buyer: buying

For every good practice that Practice Sale Search has for sale in one of the state capitals, we have many buyers competing with each other to submit a winning bid.

And yet…when the practice is located in a regional or rural centre, the demand often dwindles to a few…

Why is this?

There are many reasons that people want to live close to the city. When we ask them, they list very valid explanations for their preferences, including proximity to their family, ethnic group, international airport, prominent schools, etc.

In my opinion, however, there are also many HUGE advantages to buying a practice outside of a capital city that are far too often overlooked.

Here are 5 reasons a buyer should consider buying a dental practice in regional or rural Australia.

1. Better Deals

The laws of supply and demand tell us that the lower demand for regional and rural practices should mean that there are better deals to be had for interested buyers.

2. Easier to produce more

Practices in major cities are fighting tooth and nail for work, spending large amounts of money on marketing and advertising, and offering loss leader services ($99 scale and clean) to get patients. Rural areas have a much higher population per dentist and don’t need to compete as hard to get patients. It is easier to be busy.

3. Running costs lower

A business’s profit is obviously not just a function of making sure that there is income, but also of keeping expenses low. In this area, regional Australia has metro beat too, as many of the costs of running a practice are cheaper outside of the cities. In my experience, regional/rural dental practices usually pay less for:

  • Wages/salaries for admin and nursing staff, and have better retention/less churn of staff.
  •  Rent per square metre for medical/commercial space.
  • Advertising costs, as the need for advertising is lower (See point 2).

4. Home purchase

When looking to purchase your first home, you may find that the higher property prices in metropolitan Australia end up restricting your lifestyle. Buying a business in a rural/semi-rural area may offer you the chance to buy a larger home than you thought possible, earlier than you thought possible. The lower outlay for a home may also leave you with more to spend on holidays, hobbies and your children’s education.

5. Lifestyle

Many dentists who have made the move out of the city report huge lifestyle benefits, including:

- Less time wasted stuck in traffic (including their work commute)
- Less noise and air pollution
- Better access to uncrowded beaches, parks and golf courses
- A better sense of community and safety than living in the city
- Less stress as a result of their cheaper lifestyle

A few years ago, Practice Sale Search sold a practice to a buyer who had had enough with city living and was looking to make a lifestyle change. "My practice in Sydney was incredibly hectic and my partner had a stressful job. We were living about a kilometre away from work, but it could take me anything from 20 minutes to half an hour to get there, because of the roads and traffic. I think we were exhausted and wanted to move; we wanted a tree change. Now, I can walk to work; the quality of life is so wonderful. I never encounter traffic, anywhere in town takes me 10 minutes at the most. And countryside people are really welcoming and very warm, you don’t ever feel like a stranger within the community."

As you can see, walking the path less travelled and buying in regional Australia has many advantages. It is well worth exploring your dental practice options, as you may find that there are plenty of underappreciated, undervalued practice opportunities and lifestyles to be found, if you can look a little further afield.

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