I first met Dave James at the 2013 Chicago Midwinter show. He demonstrated a real passion for helping dentists through his, then quite new, service for using demographic data to help find the best location for a dental practice. Since then, REALscore has expanded their product and services. I’m happy to have Dave James, President and CEO of REALscore.com, share more about his company and services in this installment of 5 Questions With…
Michael Dunn: Tell us about REALscore. What service(s) do you offer?
Dave James: REALscore’s (Real Estate Analysis & Location Score) mission is to help the Dental Industry with Location Strategy. We created REALscore.com as a platform to provide online, customizable Reports and Consulting Services to not just dentists, but their advisers & suppliers. The Reports include world-class Demographics, Competition Analysis, locating the most Underserved Areas to start or buy a practice, evaluating specific locations for a practice, measuring the future growth potential of an area, analyzing the drive time dispersal of Existing Patients, finding the best neighborhoods for Marketing, helping decide Office decisions (should a dentist stay, move, remodel, etc.), providing due diligence data and much more. The Reports apply to startups, existing practices and practices looking to buy or sell – for any practice type, anywhere in the USA.
To elaborate on what we mean by consulting, we provide live, online, screen sharing sessions with REALscore experts, where a dentist and/or their spouse, advisers or whoever interact to solve location strategy issues, see data & maps, conduct “what if” scenarios, narrow down location or where to start looking options, research & compare specific location & business issues and more.
This has proven to be a simple yet outstanding, cost-effective and efficient resource for dentists and their advisers.
MD: How did you start REALscore.com? What was your “a-ha” moment?
DJ: Almost four years ago, when I was putting together a strategic plan to decide whether to start REALscore, I went to the MidWinter Meeting in Chicago. I didn’t know anyone and knew little about the industry, but I did my research. After three days of walking up to industry leading companies and people out of the blue and talking to them, they confirmed that my major hypothesis of “Location is the #1 Factor that will determine the long-term financial success of a Practice” was true. This is still an indisputable fact…for which a huge educational gap still exists.
I was struck that within that massive hall, with hundreds of vendors with thousands of employees – all whose success is entirely based on the success of the individual dentists and practices – not one person in that entire room was addressing the fundamental factor that will determine how successful their companies will ultimately be – Location. Everyone I talked to agreed how important it was, but there was considerable frustration across the board with getting Location data that was usable, affordable, understandable & timely. So, with that piece of due diligence planning validated, we then proceeded to start designing and building REALscore.com.
MD: What makes REALscore unique compared to similar service providers?
DJ: Our goal was to create a site where, for the first time, anyone in the dental industry could log in and get instant Location Strategy information, applying data and search filters they could quickly use and modify based on their practice type, whether in an urban, suburban or rural location, etc. We then used that capability and created the Reports and Consulting Services for those who did not need continual access. This allows us to deliver most Core Reports within 0-2 days on average. With online consulting, customers get immediate answers.
Other unique factors include:
- The ability to see data with Google Maps functionality. It allows the data to come alive and allows interaction, leading to better and faster decisions.
- We utilize census block data, not zip codes. (By the way, zip code data should be avoided at all costs – they often include irrelevant areas while excluding relevant areas because of the irregular shapes of zip codes.)
- Our Reports include two Data Filters – customer specified Radius & Drive Times. We also offer several other report filters, including the ability to use a mouse and draw boundaries of any shape and size and get all practitioner, demographic, and business data for just those user-defined areas.
- Our demographic data is provided for current data, and for most variables we also provide 5 year forecast data to help determine the future growth potential of an area.
MD: What trends do you think will have the biggest impact on the dental industry in the next 5 – 10 years?
DJ: I believe, and our data is proving this to be the case, that there are a myriad of Underserved Areas outside of urban and suburban areas (where dentists disproportionately congregate) that are excellent areas for a practice. Many of these are not far from the cities, but dentists are hesitant to go there for various reasons. A major reason is that there is a lack of data to show that they can have not just a viable practice, but a practice whose worth can be multiple times greater than if they went to an urban or suburban area like everyone else and beat their brains out to grow. I believe that the use of Location Strategy will have a huge impact on the dental industry revenues from the top down, as it will not only help dentists, but also open new markets for suppliers and advisers…and at the same time, provide a huge, desperately needed service to help people, especially children.
Practitioners who make a concentrated, strategic effort to focus on Location Strategy will have a tremendous leg up on their competitors. Those who don’t are taking a major risk.
MD: What’s next for you and REALscore? What can we look forward to next?
DJ: We feel like we have just scratched the surface of what we can do to do help dentists and their advisers & suppliers. Here are some of the items on my agenda:
- We will continue to serve the dental industry by quickly providing high quality data reports & services at affordable prices while improving our site, the services we provide and our partnerships with the advisers and suppliers who work hand in hand with the dentists.
- We will focus on education about the importance of Location Strategy to all Practitioners, regardless of where they are in their career, to students, and to the industry as a whole
- We plan to release a new service in 2015 that will revolutionize practice marketing.
- We will market our Demographic Report to anyone, as it currently works for any industry, not just Dental.
- We designed the site to be able easily to expand into other markets, such as Veterinary, Optometry, Chiropractic and/or a host of non-medical industries who can benefit from having similar tools & data that the big companies use at their disposal.
Thank you, Dave, for sharing the REALscore.com story with us. If you would like to learn more, you can contact REALscore directly. Thank you for reading.