How to Know When Dental Associateships are Right for Your Practice

Are you considering adding a dental associate to your practice?  Are you wondering whether your practice can financially support an associate?  Do you know what the real cost will be? How will it impact your office? Do you need to change anything about your practice to make it more attractive to a new associate? How do you find out what you don’t yet know about the reality of undertaking dental associateships?

Chances are, you went into dentistry in order to be a dentist first and foremost. But when you own your practice, you end up wearing many more hats. You’re operating a business, which means that on top of treating your patients you have to run your office, supervise the staff, deal with equipment and inventory, handle tricky human resource issues, manage the finances, along with many other things they don’t always teach in dental school.

Now you are considering adding an associate, either to grow your practice or to prepare for retirement, how can you know if this is the right move?

A New Tool for Assessing Dental Associateships: The Associate Intelligence Quotient

It’s a tricky question, one that involves a lot of considerations, many of which you may not have even thought about.  That’s why ddsmatch Southwest has developed the Associate Intelligence Quotient (AIQ). This is a new service where the experts at ddsmatch Southwest, along with their dental CPA affiliate at Blue & Co., examine your practice and prepare a detailed report  that will show the impacts of hiring an associate.

Each practice is unique, and there are a variety of associateship options. With ddsmatch Southwest’s expertise in helping dentists successfully buy, sell, and add associateships to their practice, we can assist you in evaluating your practice to identify its distinctive advantages and potential difficulties when pursuing an associate. This way, you can consider how good of a match you are for an associate and the different options that may be available to you.

Here are just a few of the things the AIQ takes into account:

  • Seller’s Goals – Why are you considering bring on an associate? To grow the practice?  Manage scheduling issues? Prepare for retirement? If you are retiring, you should consider your time commitment: do you want to start spending less time in the office, and what is the role you want to play in the practice after the sale? These are all separate concerns and each will impact what kind of associateship is right for your practice.
  • Associate Feasibility – What are you looking for in an associate and what do you have to offer them? Again, how you answer these questions will determine whether and what kind of association is the best fit. These details are very specific to your practice. To learn more about how business-side expertise can be invaluable in answering these questions, read our recent blog post where our partner dental CPA answers questions about adding associates.
  • Type of Dentistry – What kind of practice do you have? The mix of services you offer may significantly impact what kind of dental associations you should consider.  Based on the new associate’s skill set, you may be able to expand or add services that will strengthen the overall value of the practice. Look for skills that are advantageous and may complement your own strengths when evaluating the type of association you want.
  • Overhead – You may have a handle on your practice’s costs and profitability.  But if you’ve not had an associate before, you may not be able to accurately gauge the impact of this decision on your finances.  Before you go too far down this path, get an expert advisor to review your practice and discuss what the true impact will be, as well as how to prepare for it.
  • Compensation – This includes compensation for you, if you are going to sell your practice to an associate now or down the road; it also includes compensation for the associate, whether short term in the run-up to a final sale. One of the trickiest areas is placing fair and proper value on your practice (including any real estate, buildings, equipment, and inventory it leases or owns) and structuring a payment package for an associate that motivates them to add value to the practice and not just draw a salary. This requires expert evaluation and input from outside advisors such as CPAs, lawyers, and real estate agents. ddsmatch Southwest has a network of experienced dental professionals who advise our clients in these critical areas.

Don’t Guess When You Can Know

Your expertise in dentistry, the practice you’ve built, and the fact that you’re considering an associate all indicate you’re pretty good at what you do.  At ddsmatch Southwest, our expertise is buying and selling dental practices, including finding matches for dental associateships. With the Associate Intelligence Quotient, you can take the guesswork out of whether you should add an associate and what kind of associateship is right for your practice. The report you get will be objective, comprehensive, data-based, and will leverage the wisdom of a panel of experts and the experience of many other dentists dentists like you around the country.  Save yourself the trouble and avoid commonly overlooked concerns that can cost you time and money, along with grief and disappointment.

To come out ahead, you need experience in your corner. With ddsmatch Southwest and our dental accounting partners at Blue & Co., you get the experienced help you need. Contact us today to schedule your Associate Intelligence Quotient.