No matter how well-equipped your office is initially, time, wear, and changes in technology will at some point require you to purchase additional or replacement equipment. There are a few points you may wish to keep in mind before making your final decision on a major equipment purchase for your practice.
First, take your time. Like with any other major purchase, rushing into a decision can be costly. Instead, spend several weeks in preparation for this choice. Meet with your Dental CPA about any tax implications and ask if there is an optimal time to make such a purchase. Consider carefully the following factors to be sure you are choosing the right piece of equipment for your needs:
- What is the main purpose of this equipment?
- What features do you want/need it to have?
- Are you and your team going to need extensive training to use it?
- How often is this equipment going to be used?
- Will it fit the space available?
- Will you have to make changes to the space to use this equipment (ie, wiring, utility connections, etc)?
- Is the manufacturer reliable?
- Does the manufacturer provide good service for their equipment?
- How long should this equipment last?
- What is the expected benefit of this upgrade?
- When do you plan to have it installed and in use?
- If this equipment is to allow new services, is there a demand for those services in your practice/community?
- Will your pricing for your services offset the investment cost and still be competitive in your market?
- If the equipment you are buying is used, have you obtained an independent opinion on its condition?
- How does the cost compare to other models? Other manufacturers?
- Can you purchase directly from the manufacturer to save on cost?
- Have you compared pricing from a variety of sources online?
While not all of these may apply to your equipment purchase in every circumstance, it should be clear that major dental office equipment should never be bought on impulse or without thorough consideration and research. Recommendations from other dentists or your dental CPA can also be helpful in narrowing your search.
Your dental equipment plays a vital role in the quality of care you are able to provide to your patients. When it is time to add or replace a piece of that equipment, make sure you take plenty of time to research, refine, and select the right piece for your practice. This will help you be certain that your investment will bring value to your practice for years to come.