As a commercial relationship manager focused on serving dental practices, I have gained an understanding of their unique financial needs. There are some basic expectations that a dentist should have of his financial partner.
The lifestages of a dentist
From starting a practice to growing a thriving business to transferring ownership, a dental practice passes through many distinct phases. With each, your financial needs will change, so you will want an experienced financial partner who can provide guidance each step of the way.
- When starting a practice, you will most likely need financing. However, not all banks will understand that you need more than a just a loan. Financing for the dental profession can require some flexibility and specific funding allocation requirements. A lender familiar with the dental industry can offer advice on the best loan term, rate and pre-payment options to keep payments lower until your business begins to generate more revenue.
- Once your practice is established, financing needs may lean more toward expanding a practice or buying new equipment. Look for a lender that recognizes the lower risk of a dental practice and may be more inclined to provide an unsecured loan with quicker amortization for an equipment purchase.
- In later years, dentists often enter a phase of wanting to transfer ownership of a successful practice. Again, it is important to work with a lender who understands the model of financing such a transfer of ownership.
A full team approach
So far, I have focused mainly on financing, but what about other financial needs?
- The ability to accept and process credit card and debit card payments through a merchant processor
- A business checking account, debit card and credit card
- Treasury management services to improve the flow of payables, receivables and your daily cash flow
- A robust system that enables you to manage nearly all of your banking (both personal and business) online
- If you are especially busy (as most dentists are), possibly a private banker to handle your banking for you
To save yourself time and know that you have a full financial team working in your best interest, look for a bank that offers all of the services you will need.
Smart solutions for your business.
There are many aspects to running a business, with most requiring informed financial decisions. Whether you're looking for expertise in financing future growth, processing payments, maximizing cash flow or another financial need, our team is here to help.
I realized a long time ago that serving my dental clients is not just about pitching products. It’s about building a relationship and adding value. When choosing a financial provider, look for an “above and beyond” approach and a commitment to making your life easier.
I have found that dentists appreciate the opportunity to connect, so I host regular mixers. Along with it being a time of camaraderie, it is also a time for them to share advice (especially for the younger dentists) and take advantage of educational topics such as:
- The pitfalls or possibilities of buying equipment
- Reducing tax liability through an employee retirement plan or 401(k)
- Practice renovations – financing, tax benefits and state and federal incentives for older buildings
- How to prepare for adding an associate or transferring the ownership of a practice
Look for a financial partner who offers this type of extra support and solutions that will benefit your practice.
A high level of attention
When seeing one patient after another all day, dentists typically don’t have time for banking. That’s why it is important to choose a financial provider with local employees who have the ability to respond when it is convenient for you. Finding someone to go that extra mile can be a big benefit in managing your busy schedule.
In a recent Fox Business article
, an Elkhart, Indiana, dentist commented on realizing that he preferred the personal attention of Old National after Bank of America left town. I want more dentists to realize how much they can gain from choosing the right financial partner.
Rob is a Commercial Relationship Manager for Old National's Michiana market. He has eight years of commercial banking experience.
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