DSOPro Exclusive

Why a Real Estate Broker Should Assess DSO Lease Agreements

Jen Demont, founder of Re*Lease Administration, on why DSOs also need a software platform to manage and abstract important lease data for quick access.

DSOPro: Tell us about your career and how you became involved in dentistry.

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be in the dental field. Thinking back, it likely stemmed from starting orthodontic treatment in fifth grade. I was raised by a single mom raising three children, and we didn’t come from a lot of money. I remember feeling like it was such a privilege to have braces at that age. Every time I went in for an appointment, the staff was super friendly, and I just enjoyed being there. So that sparked my interest in dental.

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As I went through my teen years, I became intrigued with the business side of dentistry and honestly just wanted to learn how to make money in it. During high school, with hopes of getting my foot in the door in the industry, I landed a role as a treatment coordinator at a private practice in Madison, WI, where I grew up. In this role, I watched many sales reps come to the office, all confident in themselves, but I could always pick out the ones who didn’t truly know the science behind the product they were selling. This experience helped steer my focus; I knew I didn’t want to be a sales rep without understanding the clinical side of dentistry. I wanted my future clients to see my credibility in the field, thus I decided I needed to go to dental hygiene school to learn clinical dentistry. I would prove my clinical ability and knowledge, then network my way into something dental/business related.

After I graduated from high school, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to get started on my science-based prerequisites that were needed to enroll in the dental hygiene program in Madison. At the time, there was a 2-year waitlist to begin hygiene courses, so I took advantage of this time to experience both college life and the dorm experience. Quickly realizing I was wasting my money being in Milwaukee, I transferred back to Madison.

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During hygiene school, my goal was to make myself as marketable as possible once I joined the workforce, so I decided to work part-time as a dental assistant. I felt having both front-desk experience as well as back-end clinical would ultimately make me an attractive candidate for future practices. I have so much respect for both dental assistants and dental hygienists. Clinical dentistry is tough, not only on your body but also on your mind.

After college graduation, I still wanted to get into the business side of dentistry. I decided to work as a temp hygienist, traveling to offices all over Wisconsin, and focusing on networking with as many as I could. I would make sure to develop a relationship with the front desk, take home a business card, and hope they would remember me when I came back down the road, hopefully this time as a dental sales rep. It was very strategic, and I always laugh when I think back to how tactical my thought process was at age 20.

One day, I was working hygiene for an office when the Patterson rep came in (Connor Jorgensen, who is still thriving in the dental space). I took the opportunity to say, “Connor, I want to get into dental sales. Would you be willing to let me pick your brain?” Fortunately, Connor was eager to help and eventually put me in touch with the hiring manager for Ivoclar Vivadent, Brandon Larkin. Long story short, Brandon ended up hiring me as the Wisconsin Territory Manager and became an amazing mentor for me. In 2016, Brandon approved my transfer request within the company to take over the Colorado territory. I had always had my heart set on getting out of my hometown and seeing if I could make it on my own, and the mountains and warmer weather in Colorado were exactly what I was searching for. Because being in Colorado was what I truly wanted, it was a non-negotiable to do well. Fortunately, I became territory manager of the year, growing my new territory each year, and proved to myself that I could do it. I grew a ton both personally and professionally through my experience with Ivoclar and am so incredibly thankful for that opportunity.

DSOPro: What happened next?

In 2020, during the height of the pandemic and while we were all at home on Zoom, I started talking with clients to learn the pain points they were experiencing in their businesses. Consistently I kept hearing, “Our overhead is too high.” This led me to research ways to help them save money.

While I was doing this research, a mentor of mine asked if I would be interested in dental real estate. He shared with me that real estate often ranks as the second-highest expense for dental practices, right after payroll. I thought, “I have no interest in real estate. I’m a dental geek. I’m not going to be a real estate agent.” I didn’t even know what dental real estate meant. This mentor advised me to meet with a real estate brokerage and chat with them, and to my surprise, it went well. This brokerage solely represented dentists and ensured that practices were paying the market rate. I learned that there could be a nail salon next door, with the same square footage, paying less rent than the dental practice simply because landlords know dental practices typically have higher production. My heart sank when I realized how many practices were likely being taken advantage of unless they had a broker representing them.

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So, during Covid, I got my real estate license and began working with that Colorado dental real estate brokerage. Our focus was to represent dentists on their lease negotiations, and we often ended up saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their leases. It is just mind-boggling to me that if a practice doesn’t have a real estate broker involved, how much they are likely overpaying on their rent.

DSOPro: Tell us how you developed the concept of your company.

I think networking has been the theme of my career. I always say, “You are who you surround yourself with,” and I’ve always really enjoyed being in a room full of people far smarter than myself. Even if I can’t contribute much to the conversation, I can listen to them and learn from their experiences. Many of my mentors within dental happen to be part of the DSO world. Because of this, I positioned myself in rooms filled with executives of DSOs with 10 to 500 practice locations. I started asking them questions like, “How are you managing the data within all of these leases?” and “Do you ever accidentally miss a lease expiration date and ultimately have to take whatever terms the landlords offer?” An overwhelming number of them told me that they used Excel or Google Docs to track their expirations, and it was indeed a pain point. They all shared that digging through leases is (1) time-consuming and (2) expensive if you must pay an attorney to answer a question about the lease. If the roof leaks or the HVAC goes down, they want to be able to quickly answer, “Whose responsibility is it to fix it? The landlord, or the tenant?” I decided there had to be a better more efficient way, and after discussing it with a previous colleague of mine, Jeremy Keck, I told him I wanted to make this my focus. After all, if I didn’t solve this problem, someone else was bound to and why shouldn’t it be me? So, Re*Lease Administration was born.

The concept of lease administration is not a new one. Many franchises in various verticals use software to help them track their lease data across the organization’s portfolio. I wondered why the dental industry would be any different. Re*Lease uses a software platform to abstract the lease data of each contract and organize it in an easily digestible fashion.

I launched Re*Lease in January 2023, and my sole focus is simply to prove the concept and show future investors that there is indeed a market for this service.

DSOPro: Walk us through how you’re planning to help DSOs in terms of operations.

Amongst many things, our software plays a pivotal role in lease accounting, which has gained interest from CFOs and CPA controllers. We provide reporting on rent projections based on the rent schedule in the lease, as well as ensure ASC 842 lease compliance. ASC 842 is an accounting standard that affects how multi-location dental groups account for leases. It requires them to recognize lease assets and liabilities on their balance sheets, impacting financial ratios and income statements. The ASC 842 calculation process can be complex, particularly for organizations with many leases, so having software such as ours to streamline the process and ensure accuracy in ASC 842 compliance is a game changer for these groups. I was recently on a call with a controller at a dental group who was almost in tears when I told her the software could do this for her. It was such a time-consuming pain point for her.

Before I started this venture, I didn’t realize groups were doing these constellations manually to determine what the lease rate is, and the commencement date, or were having to dig through all this information, interpret it, and then put it into their own calculation. This is something our software just does for them. That said, there is a huge need for automating the lease accounting process for dental groups, which I’m excited to be able to offer.

The process of lease administration starts with a lease abstract. We take 600+ data points from the lease document, anything ranging from when it expires to rent increases or certain clauses in the lease and enter it into the software platform. Let’s say you wanted to know how many parking spaces a lease allows for. You simply click on the parking section within the lease abstract and all the data from the original lease is summarized and easy to find.

DSOPro: What other types of detailed reporting can the software do?

Reporting on critical dates is an important one for larger groups. Critical dates are deadlines within the lease agreement set—usually 60-360 days before the lease ends—for tenants to inform landlords about staying or leaving. If a tenant misses a critical date, they fall into a “holdover” period with financial penalties, often paying 150%-250% above their regular rent, for staying beyond the lease. This punishes late notifications. Having the ability to pull proactive reports on all these dates helps prevent groups from overpayments in rent as well as losing negotiation power when it is time to renew or renegotiate the lease. Missing a critical date puts the practice on the defensive, rather than seizing the opportunity to gain landlord concessions when it is time to sign a new lease.

Many practices miss these dates because it’s one more thing they must track. Our software will send you email reminders of critical dates for leases that we must give notice to and renegotiate. The hygienist in me always has prevention top of my mind, thinking “How can we prevent getting to the point of putting out fires?” Our software provides direct access to a DSO’s whole portfolio of leases. At larger groups, there are so many people involved in so many locations, so this is helpful for getting answers quickly to questions without having to track down the only person who knows where that lease document even is.

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DSOPro: What are other benefits to having an advocate for real estate negotiation?

Certain things in a dental lease need to be understood and negotiated, and I find having a dental background really helps in real estate lease negotiations. Many dental groups acquire practices to grow. They’re not all growing via de novo. So, we like to negotiate a lease assignability clause in a dental lease. Most general commercial real estate/office brokers do not understand the lease assignment clause or why it’s so important. If a DSO is looking at a practice but can’t assign the lease over to the DSO, the acquisition is a lot more complicated. Exclusivity is another big one. We make sure our clients have an exclusive in their building so a competing group can’t start their practice next door.

Another example is let’s say a practice still has 3 years left on the lease but the space needs some updating or possibly more square footage to add an extra operatory. There is an opportunity for us to renegotiate with the landlord early, to include tenant improvement dollars as well as more space for a competitive rate. The landlord benefits because they now have secured a tenant for a longer lease, but the practice benefits from the landlord’s financial contribution to update the space prior to the original lease expiration date.

For de novos, we focus heavily on space improvement. A new dental tenant going into a space will invest a lot of money to turn it into a dental office or update an existing dental suite. One of the concession negotiables with the landlord is having them contribute to build-out costs. Depending on your market, a build-out can be up to $300 a square foot. On a million-dollar build-out, if you can get the landlord to contribute $500,000, it’s very helpful for that dental practice.

Having a good grasp of the data of your existing lease is so important. There is no other real estate-specific software in the DSO market right now that helps manage your lease data. We give practices the opportunity to self-manage their data. There are so many other things within a business and a dental practice that you’re trying to manage, the lease data is not always top of mind.

DSOPro: Tell us about your association with Leaders Real Estate.

Leaders Real Estate is a commercial real estate brokerage that specializes in tenant representation and commercial development. I affiliated with Leaders in January 2023, knowing I was planning on launching Re*Lease Administration. I wanted to have a strategic real estate partner to assist with real estate “action items.” Leaders does an amazing job at equipping their clients with data-driven research. They are a great partner to help provide my clients with all the analytics on site selection they could ask for when searching for a new location, as well as helping with the process of developing new land sites for upcoming areas.

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DSOPro: What do you see as the future for Re*Lease?

My focus for now is dental. But down the road, I could see this solution being in several other healthcare verticals, such as veterinary, med spas, optometry, etc. I find myself having big ideas for what I want our platform to be and the problems I hope it will help solve. For now, I try to keep my head down and stay focused on the industry that I know best, dental. As a start-up, I really want to show the market that this is an option and that we can make their whole lease-management cycle so much easier. I’m taking it one step at a time, learning a ton, and enjoying the ride.

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About Jen Demont


Jen Demont is a self-proclaimed dental enthusiast and industry professional with a deep passion for all things related to dentistry. Over her career of 17 years, she’s worn multiple hats, including dental assisting and dental hygiene, sales manager for a leading dental manufacturer, and most recently Founder and CEO of Re*Lease Administration, an SaaS Real Estate venture specializing in dental commercial real estate.

Jen’s journey through various roles in dentistry has given her a unique perspective on the industry. She has taken valuable lessons from each position and applied them to the next, enabling her to provide clients with unparalleled insights into their organizational operations.

“I’m on a mission to help dental organizations navigate the complexities of their real estate portfolio.” Many dental groups and private practice clinicians lack the time to ensure they’re getting a fair deal on their office space. This motivates me to ensure that our healthcare providers are properly represented and have a trusted partner to handle their real estate requirements, allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional care.

Re*Lease Administration

Re_Lease_Logo_2Re*Lease Administration was created to replace your endless Excel spreadsheets with an innovative, cloud-based system to optimize your second-highest overhead item: Real Estate. With the goal of removing the time-consuming task of manually entering lease expirations and lease accounting data, our #1 focus is to ensure you have easy access to the contents of each lease.

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