Happy New Year! We would like to wish you a new and improved year over 2020 and 2021. If you’re like most people, you have set some New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps one of them is going to the gym. Another may be eating healthier. A third popular one is spending more time with family and friends. Statistics show that on average, it takes 32 days before people give up on their resolutions. My thought is, why wait? I’m having a hot fudge sundae for lunch and not going to the gym! But how about a resolution to further your career as a dentist?
One way to further your career may be to learn a new procedure or two. As an associate or existing practice owner, you can improve your skills and your income by learning new procedures. A few suggestions would be to advance your endo skills. Maybe you know enough but just haven’t had any advanced training. There are a lot of courses to further advance your endo skills. You can also learn how to place implants. There are probably a lot of patients in your practice who want an implant, but don’t want to go to another office. If you’re a general dentist, you can also learn how to do some form of orthodontics with either Invisalign, ClearCorrect, or another company’s process. Learning a new procedure can make you more marketable as an associate and as a practice owner.
Another way to further your career may be to find a new associate position. If you’re frustrated in your current role because you’re not allowed to do anything more than hygiene checks and fillings, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. The state associations list openings in their classified ads. If you’re not happy where you are, staying there will make you disgruntled with dentistry and cause you nothing but grief.
A third way of expanding your career in 2022 is by purchasing a practice. Practice owners make 15% to 20% more than associate dentists. They also build equity in their practice typically paying off their entire loans in 10 years. If you purchased a $500,000 practice and simply sustain its production, you now have earned 15% to 20% more per year PLUS you’ve earned $500,000 of equity in your practice. If you grew it 10% per year, you now have over $1 million in equity. I know many associate dentists are afraid of owning a practice. They think Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) are going to take over the world and they get better deals on supplies. First of all, DSOs will not be taking over the world. There will always be room for individual practice owners. In fact, if I had a choice, I would prefer to go to an individual owner before I would go to a DSO or group-owned practice. I think most people would agree. Regarding better deals on supplies, I’ve had several supply reps tell me that they would give the same deal to an individual as they would to a DSO. Supplies as a percentage of gross revenues make up a small number. So, even if they did get better deals, it would not make that big of a difference. Don’t be afraid of owning a practice and competing against the big guys. You can provide a much better and more personalized experience than they can.
These are just a few ideas for your New Year’s resolutions if you haven’t come up with your own. Now, go to the gym, grab a salad and then, go improve your career!Read More
Did you reach your goals this year? Was one of them to buy a practice by the end of 2021? Ahem, it’s December. You know who I’m talking about! Do you remember when the year started back in January, and you said to yourself, and perhaps to some of your family and friends, “This is the year I’m going to buy a practice!” Well? What happened?
Did you know that on average a dental practice owner makes 20% to 25% more than an associate dentist? Practice owners also build up equity in their practice similar to owning a house. A million-dollar practice with no debt will give you a million dollars in equity. Did you know that most practice owners tend to be happy in their dental profession? Practice owners get the privilege of setting their own hours. They get to choose which procedures they want to do and which procedures they want to refer out. They also hire their own staff and let go of those that they don’t believe are doing a good job. Practice owners even get to pick out the music that gets played at the practice. Although, staff may overrule you on that last one.
We gave buyers a mulligan in 2020. Covid-19 hit us all pretty hard. I caught it early and it took most of the year for me to get back to normal. The industry reeled for a few months due to the Covid shut down and various mandates provided at the federal and state levels. But after the shutdown was over, patients came back. Practices came back with a vengeance. Offices that were collecting $80,000 per month prior to the Covid-19 shutdown were producing $80,000 or even more upon the re-opening. In 2021, I would say the majority of practices are back at full capacity. We can’t predict when this Covid craziness will go away, especially with a new variant popping up every six months or so. But we can say that dental practices are resilient.
Those of you who kept your goals and purchased a practice in 2021 are doing well. The practices they purchased are at least producing what they were producing prior to them acquiring the practice. They took out a 10-year loan and they are now 1/10 of the way to paying off their practice debt. Think about those who purchased a practice five years ago. They’re halfway to paying off their practice debt. If they purchased a million-dollar practice, they now have $500,000 of equity in their practice. A half a million dollars! I tell the story of a dentist who would come to our buyer’s seminars year after year. At year 7 this dentist came to our buyer’s seminar, and I called her out. I pointed out that if she would have purchased the first practice that I showed her 7 years ago with a 7-year loan, she would have had the practice paid off. The practice was a $950,000 practice. She would have equity of close to and if not more than $1 million if she would have just taken action. That motivated her to purchase a practice a few months after the buyer’s seminar. The practice she purchased was three miles from the first practice I had shown her 7 years earlier!
So, as we end the year and you start to think about your goals for next year, think beyond the goal. What can you do better this year that will help you reach the goal of purchasing a practice in 2022? Make finding a practice to buy a priority. In the not-so-long run, you will be thankful you did. The brokers at Omni are always available for a phone call to discuss what you need to do to purchase a practice. Just pick up the phone and give us a call – 877-866-6053.Read More
There are many advantages to owning a dental practice over being an associate dentist and not owning a practice. For one, the average dental practice owner makes approximately 20% more in income than an associate dentist working for someone else. A dental practice owner also gets to choose what procedures he or she wants to perform, refer out, or delegate to an associate (if there is one). They can also choose their own hours; pick the days they want to work and how much vacation they want to take. So, why aren’t dental associates owning practices? What are they afraid of? Here are a few fears we have encountered by dental associates and how to overcome those fears:
- Fear of the unknown – Associates feel they don’t have the experience in owning a practice. They don’t know what to expect. They haven’t managed staff. They haven’t kept financial records. They don’t know what marketing to put in place. They don’t know what benefits to give employees, how to hire or fire employees, or even how to balance a checkbook.
Fear not, you don’t have to know everything at once. You know how to do dentistry. That’s the first step in owning a practice. You have a few years of experience working as an associate in a dental practice. You’ve observed the owner working with and managing staff. You may have experience leading a team in school, playing sports, etc. These are all examples of good experience in leading and handling staff. You don’t have to know how to keep books right away. We suggest getting a dental bookkeeper and then getting educated on reading financial statements and eventually doing your own books if you’d like. This can happen over time. The bottom line is if you are good at what you do and willing to learn the other parts of practice ownership, you’ll be just fine.
- Fear of taking on more Debt – Read Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. Not all debt is created equal. There is good debt such as student loans and practice debt that helps generate an income and there is bad debt such as credit card debt where you just borrowed money because you wanted something. Practice debt used to buy a practice that will help you make more money and build equity in an asset (the practice) is a positive thing. As long as it’s a good practice with good cash flow, you’ll be money ahead in the long run.
- Fear of the DSO (Dental Service Organization) or Group Practice Giants – Don’t fear the giants. They have their own niche targeting dental shoppers looking for the lowest price on a cleaning, crown, or teeth whitening. They also have a high turnover in their staff and doctors. You will provide excellent service with the same staff and dentist that the clients will see every time they come to your office. In a corporate environment, they’re not sure which dentist or hygienist they’re going to get next.
- Fear of not knowing what to look for – This is a valid concern. You can educate yourself in a number of ways. There are great resources via Dentaltown, dental podcasts, YouTube, etc., that can help you know what to look for. Quite simply, you start by looking at your desired location, then look at the cash flow of the practice and after that, you can get into the details. There are consultants and brokers who can also help you with reviewing practices. Identify your team that will help you overcome this fear.
- Fear of a recession – Recessions happen, typically every 8 to 10 years and last 10 to 12 months. You cannot avoid recessions or downturns in the economy, it’s part of life. But, during recessions, employees typically get laid off from work. If you own your own practice, you’re probably not going to fire yourself. You’ll keep yourself employed and busy. Owning a practice is a deterrent from getting laid off during a recession.
These are a few of the fears that we’ve seen over the years, and there are others as well. But the best thing you can do is educate yourself and talk to practice owners, brokers and bankers. Seek advice and counsel from everyone you can. This will help you make a wise decision in moving forward with practice ownership.Read More
Choosing between buying an existing practice and doing a start-up practice can be one of the biggest decisions of your life. Here are four considerations and two suggestions for when you are contemplating.
The four considerations:
Market Saturation – How many dentists are practicing in the area you are considering? Hardly any? One on every corner? Somewhere in between? Establishing traction in a high competition area will require a much higher marketing budget. Do you know your marketing budget? Do you have a marketing plan?
Available Practices for Sale – How many practices are for sale in the area you are considering? Do those practices have a broker representing them? Broker representation usually equates to well-substantiated pricing and a defined plan for acquisition. For-sale-by-owner practices can be more of a wild card.
Population Demographics – If you are considering an area for a new build, will the demographics of the area you are considering support your business plan?
Personal Financial Situation – Do you have the financial reserves to weather a start-up? While there are pros and cons to both routes, buying an established practice certainly generates more initial cash flow.
The two suggestions:
Get Help – This will be one of the biggest decisions of your life, whichever route you take. There are some truly skilled and experienced professionals out there that will help guide you through this process in an efficient manner and allow you to minimize risk while seizing the opportunity.
If You Can Produce, Get Moving – Are you a high producer? Can you manage and lead? Can you do great dentistry without someone looking over your shoulder? If you answered yes to these questions, what are you waiting for?Read More
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