Chapter 1:
Getting Started

10-minute read

Starting a medical practice is an exciting and rewarding adventure. Though, it does involve its set of challenges and decisions you’ll need to make. In order for you to be the best business owner, it‘s important you have the right resources and tools required to start and operate a medical practice. This chapter is designed to help you navigate the various pre-steps involved in starting a medical practice in Canada. Plan to do this about 6 months before opening your medical practice.

What You Need to Think About Before Opening

Before you begin the process of starting a medical practice you need to ensure that you know what you want and get in the right mindset to create your ideal medical practice. There are various aspects involved such as different types of medical practices and whether you’d want to buy an existing practice or start fresh.

First, make sure you’re ready to open a medical practice and that it’s the right step for your career. After all, since it does require a lot of hard work and patience to build a successful practice you want to make sure you’re ready to take on a business like this. Here are some signs that’ll help you decide whether you’re ready to take on the adventure or not.

You value good patient care

With advancements in technology and the abundance of available options, patients today are looking for top notch care. This can get difficult to implement if you’re working for someone else. Having your own practice allows you to set high standards by hiring the right staff and setting guidelines that ensure top patient care.

You want the freedom to work where you like

Whether you wish to work remotely or in a different city, starting your own medical practice gives you the option to do it. You can study patient demographics, other physicians in the area, hospital availability and accordingly make a decision on where you’d like to practice.

You like being a leader

Starting your own medical practice will give you the freedom to practice medicine the way you like. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have a say in every aspect of the business and will get to decide who you wish to work with.

There’s a lot more that goes into starting a medical practice. It’s a challenge that’s worth all the rewards. You can explore more signs to know if you’re ready to open your own medical practice.

Buying Vs. Starting a Medical Practice in Canada

Top-quality medical services is an objective for most countries which makes opening a private medical practice a profitable and fulfilling venture. Once you’re ready to build your own medical practice, the second thing to think about is whether or not you should start your own medical practice or buy an existing one.

To understand better, here are some benefits and challenges of starting a medical practice vs buying a medical practice.

Starting a medical practice


  • You get the freedom to decide how you want to build your practice from ground up.
  • You get to have a flexible work schedule
  • You get complete control on your business
  • You get a chance to control your income 


  • Collecting payments from patients can get a little tricky
  • Running a business is not easy and requires a lot of effort
  • Building a practice from ground up can become a financial challenge

Buying a medical practice


  • You get a readymade base which helps you kickstart things easily
  • You get a good base of existing patients
  • You’re able to better manage your work-life balance
  • You get the opportunity to build brand equity


  •  You have to start from what you get.
  • It can get difficult to manage the staff and their expectations
  • You may have to deal with any hidden liabilities
  • You may not get a good resale in the future

Both the options have their pros and cons and the choice depends entirely on where you stand and what you can offer.

The Different Types of Medical Practices

There are a number of different types of medical practices that you, as a physician, can choose to practice within. This is the third thing you want to think about. Listed below are two of the most popular choices.

Group Practice

This involves two or more physicians providing care in the same practice. It allows you to collaborate and consult with other physicians and build a great medical practice together.

Private Practice

This involves you working solo without any partners. Typically you’d serve a limited number of patients and have a small number of staff that help you manage your practice.

Each practice has its own set of pros and cons and the one you choose will depend upon what best suits your lifestyle and how much work you are willing to put into your medical practice.

Choosing the Right Location

The location of your medical practice can play a significant role in determining how successful it will be and what will be the major age group that you’ll be catering to. You want to ensure that the location you choose brings in high footfalls and your patients refer you to their friends and family.

Finding the right location for your medical practice can be challenging. It can affect the overall performance of your business--the kind of patients you get, the quality of staff, the kind of building. Here are a few things to consider when finalizing the location:

Patients Convenience

The choice of your location will depend on the key demographic that you’re serving. For example, it would be best to open a practice near a retirement home if your target audience is senior citizens.

Staff Convenience

The location you choose should be easy to commute to so that you can hire talented staff without them having to worry about how to reach the clinic every day.

Traffic and Parking Situation

Ensure that the location you choose has ample parking accessible for your patients. Also, make sure it is situated at a place that’s easy to get to without battling a lot of traffic.

Extra Amenities

As an entrepreneur, you’re looking to give your patients a holistic experience. Not only does this apply to their experience when they’re in your clinic but also how they feel around the area. For example a coffee shop or a salad bar could add to the experience.

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the best location for your medical practice. You need to analyze what matters the most to you and plan accordingly. 

Business Plans & Budgets

Starting a medical practice is akin to starting any other business. You need a strong business plan and a well-planned budget to ensure you invest in the right places and make profit in the long run.

Building a successful medical practice requires more than just being a doctor. It requires having a clear business plan in place. You need to know what you’re aiming for and the resources you’ll need to get there. Without a clear business plan, you’ll be shooting in the dark. Here are a few things a good business plan needs:

Credentials and Licenses

Before you start a practice, you must ensure that all the necessary paperwork is in place. The kind of paperwork you need will depend on the kind of practice you’re operating.

Clear Goals

Before you get into business, you need to know what your ideal goal is in terms of the number of patients you’re expecting in a week, the amount of profit you plan to make in a quarter, what kind of investment are you going to undertake.

Strong Financial Situation

As an entrepreneur, you need to know how much money you will need to put into establishing a practice and from where will you get that money. Also, by when do you plan to start seeing a return on that investment.

Knowledge of your Marketplace

You must have a good grip on the medical industry in your local area, and on a national and international level. You must also study the upcoming trends and ensure that your practice is aligned with the expectations of your target segment.

Know your patient

Building and marketing a medical practice becomes a lot simpler when you know who you’re talking to. Have a clear idea of who your target market is--is it senior citizens, is it new parents, or any other segment.

Creating a business plan for your medical practice will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and will help you build a strong business over time.

Create a Medical Practice Budget

A budget helps you understand how much money is coming in and how that money is being spent. It helps you form a yearly plan and gives you a clear picture of what kind of investments and profit you can make in a year. It may seem like difficult exercise, but it bears fruitful results. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a budget for your medical practice.

Consider historical data

Look for studies and historical data of at least three years (if you have it) to understand any trends. You can also ask your fellow doctors who’ve been in the business for a few years for their expertise.

Create a wish list

Make a list of all the items that you’d like to have to improve your patient care. This will help you understand where you stand and how much investment is required.

Calculate projections

After assessing all your expenses, you should be able to calculate projections for the year. This may require an in-depth cost-analysis on certain departments or services.

Monitor your budget

Having a budget is great when running a business but you also have to constantly monitor it. Are your expenses and profits aligned with your planning. This will help you understand any fluctuations and modify your plan.

Investing your time in planning a budget can help you run a smoother and more profitable medical practice. Set clear goals and interlink your budget with them for maximum results.

Funding Your Practice 

Few doctors have the initial capital required to start and establish their medical practice. Explore the various funding options including loans that you can explore when setting up your practice.

Deciding to start your own medical practice can be truly exciting until you get to the funding bit. There are a lot of factors such as paperwork, infrastructure, staff, lease, and it can all get a tad overwhelming from the financial standpoint. Fret not, as there are multiple ways to find funding and apply for medical practice loans so that you can build your stellar medical practice. Here are a few:

Find your best source of funding

Once you have a business plan in place, you’ll have a fair idea of how much funding you need. Based on that you can either go to a private bank or turn to your friends and family. The key to finding the best source is to pick the option with the least amount of risk.

Find the type of funding

Do you want a short term loan, fixed term loan, lines of credit, equipment loan, or something else? To qualify for these loans, you’ll need to show valid paperwork and a personal guarantor. The options you choose will depend on your needs highlighted in the business plan.

Explore different lenders

Before choosing a lender, explore all your available options. Look for interest rates, level of flexibility, any benefits, and other terms of your agreement. 

Speak with the experts

Before signing the dotted line, speak with a trusted financial advisor, accountant, or tax planner to get their opinion and confirm that the decision you’re taking is the best one for you.

Don’t miss out the fine print

Before you sign an agreement, make sure you’ve read it thoroughly and understand all the terms and conditions mentioned in it.

Once you have the funding in place, you can go back to building a successful medical practice.

Chapter 2: Legal Steps & Cost of Starting Your Own Medical Practice

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