Eating your own dogfood

Site location is not a hard problem, though getting the data for a trustworthy result can be time consuming.  First you have to get the location of all competitors, apply a sensible drive-time buffer, score every potential customer in terms of their estimated value and run it through a heat-map to find under serviced areas.  

Recently my wife was looking to buy a practice and we were surprised by the lack of supply.  This raised the question: is the market saturated, or are there simply not enough practices built?   Also, should residential or work addresses be used for customer locations.  

Finding the appropriate number of dentists per head of population proved surprisingly difficult.  Research into theoretical levels does not help much, especially when coupled with quite weak research into who doesn’t go to the dentist regularly. Similarly the quality of geocoded practice data was terrible.  Most practices were located correctly but there were numerous duplicates, dental labs which do not see patients and businesses that have long since closed down.  

What all this leads to is that the time required for the analysis blows out.  That’s fine if it’s a work environment and the client’s willing to pay, but when you’re trying to slip the analysis into the evening before going to bed it’s a lot more annoying.