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Post-pandemic recovery - what Dentists are thinking…

As Dentists begin to better understand what the post-pandemic world looks like, Braemar Finance commissioned wide-ranging independent research to determine how Dentists are dealing with the new challenges facing businesses, ranging from coping with rising costs to filling the skills gap.

 

Sentiment

Despite the many setbacks of the past 18 months (and more), positivity about their future prospects is running very high among Dentists, with only 4% pessimistic; 17.5% are  ‘very optimistic’ and a further 69%  ‘somewhat optimistic’ about what the coming months will hold.

From a turnover perspective, 86% of Dentists expect their income to either ‘significantly’ (31.5%) or ‘somewhat’ (54.5%) improve; 14% think it will stay the same with none anticipating a decline.  

Government loan schemes  

Dentists are equally as bullish about being able to repay their Government loans, with 92% either ‘very’ (22.5%) or ‘somewhat’ (69.5%) confident about being able to make their repayments; only a small minority (3%) are unsure.

It’s instructive to note every Dental practice that took part in the research participated in at least one of the government-backed loan schemes.

Investment plans

Despite the skills shortage being felt in many sectors, Dentists are bullish about their investment plans, with a strong response to our question ‘are you considering investing in your business in the next 12 months’ – 85% answered ‘yes’.

Dentists are largely unconcerned about accessing the funds their practice needs for investment in the next 12 months – 97% are either ‘very’ (23%) or ‘somewhat’ (74%) confident of getting hold of the finance they need.

Rising fuel and inflation

In spite of the positivity about their prospects and accessing funds, nearly all (92%) Dentists surveyed expressed significant concern about the impact rising fuel prices and the increase in inflation will have on their clients’ incomes.

Lending requirements  

When borrowing for general business purposes, Dentists have a number of main priorities when selecting who to borrow from with the most important being ‘a lender that provides personal, face-to-face service’, very closely followed by ‘a lender with a strong brand and reputation for customer service’ and ‘a lender with the simplest online application process’.

Equipment

The wide variety of equipment needed by Dentists can be a significant capital expense and a key decision is which supplier to choose. We asked Dentists what was most important when making this choice – and it was a close-run thing, with a ‘good brand/reputation for reliability and aftersales service’ edging out ‘choosing a local supplier able to offer fast reliable service to customers’.

Filling the skills gap

Much has been said and written about filling the skills gap in the UK’s labour market – including in Dental practices - with 86% concerned about attracting employees to their business.

Tax

Tax bills can be, for many firms, difficult to afford –73.5% of Dentists said they expect to need to borrow funds to pay their 2022 tax bill.

Mental health  

It is well known the pandemic affected many people’s mental health, and our own research strongly supports these findings – only 3% of respondents stated: ‘during the pandemic my mental health has not been impacted’.

Diversity

Dentists are also convinced about the proven creative and associated financial benefits of a diverse workforce with 93% of survey participants agreeing.