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Periodontists Open New Practice Despite Pandemic Setbacks

nurse handing flowers to doctor

1) Introduction

Dr. A was a part-time general dentist and her best friend Dr. P was finishing her periodontal residency. After working in dentistry for over five years, Dr. A and Dr. P were ready to go out on their own.

2) Challenge

The doctors contacted Practice Real Estate Group (PRG) at the very start of their search for a dental office for rent.  They were looking just north of New York City in Westchester but did not know exactly where they wanted to be.  Although Dr. P’s periodontal specialty would give them an edge anywhere, they still wanted a competitive location for general dentistry, which would not be easy to come by.

3) Our Approach

PRG began the search by looking at the data reports they ran with their internal demographics team.  The reports highlighted areas of opportunity — submarkets with good dentist-to-population ratios.  Dr. A and Dr. P were curious — they wondered how one part of town compared to another part of town — so their PRG agent ended up running three separate reports for them so that they really could analyze the areas side by side.

The pair submitted their LOI on a space larger than anticipated and PRG negotiated their rate down by over $7 per square foot to make up for the larger footprint.

4) Road Blocks

As they prepared to sign the lease with terms in their favor, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and New York City shut down.  Towns and their offices shuttered as employees began to navigate how to accomplish government business from home.  When Dr. A and Dr. P would have been getting permits for their new space, there was nowhere to go to get permits.  Additionally, when construction materials finally became available, prices changed.

5) Solution

The doctors understood the gravity of the pandemic but knew that dentistry would not somehow become obsolete. They trusted themselves and their drive to open their practice and they trusted their PRG agent who continued to walk them through the process of opening — introducing them to industry partners they would need along the way and continuing to negotiate lease terms like free rent.

When Dr. A and Dr. P went to close on the loan they prequalified for, the bank they were working with told the partners they would no longer be funding start-up practices.

PRG went to work finding two other banks that were offering financing, but the terms were different from the doctors’ original loan. PRG got creative and renegotiated their lease terms to ensure they got a favorable deal while meeting the bank’s requirements.

6) Results

Dr. A and Dr. P are opening their practice in a location they are excited about — one year after they signed their lease. Because PRG negotiated on their behalf, they did not lose any free rent — their agent factored in the likely and extreme delays. In a time when many doctor entrepreneurs paused, PRG and Dr. A and Dr. P navigated the uncertainty that came with a worldwide pandemic and is now opening at a time when no one else is — and to high patient demand.