January 31, 2022Practice Management
5 Tips for Hiring a New Associate at Your Dental Practice
If you’re feeling ready to expand your dental practice, hiring a new associate dentist is a logical choice. Hiring another dentist means you can add more patients to your practice, and you may also have the option of reducing your own workload.
But hiring a new dentist is a big commitment, too. So in this blog from Tooth & Coin, we’ll look at a few top common sense tips that you should keep in mind when hiring a new associate dentist at your practice.
1. Ask Yourself If You Really Need A New Associate Dentist
The best time to bring an associate dentist into your practice is when you are unable to handle your patient load. If you simply have too many patients and not enough time, hiring a new dentist may be the answer.
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t hire an associate dentist unless you already have a very high patient load. It’s expensive, and while it may be nice to be prepared for a jump in patients, you may be stuck with the bill if that expected increase doesn’t happen.
Another good reason is if you’re getting ready to retire in the next 5-10 years. We’ll discuss this more later, but bringing on a new dentist and having them take over your practice is a very common way for dentists to exit their profession.
2. Think About What A New Associate Dentist Can Bring To Your Practice
It makes a lot of sense to hire a dental associate who can either do procedures you don’t particularly enjoy, or who can handle procedures that are outside of your specialization or area of expertise.
For example, you could hire an endodontist if you do a lot of root canals at your office, and you want to free yourself up to do other procedures. Or, you may want to find an associate dentist who has the appropriate implant dentistry certifications and training if you want to expand and offer more dental implants at your practice.
3. Figure Out How Your New Associate Fits Into Your Business Structure
There are a few different ways to handle a new associate dentist, and you should consult with your accounting team and business team to figure out which one is right for you. The top three options include:
- Employee – This is pretty straightforward. You’ll simply hire the dentist as an employee, and pay them the agreed-upon salary and benefits, in the same way you pay your other team members.
- Buy-in partner – Many dentists choose this option if they're looking to retire. In this structure, your associate dentist gradually buys into your practice, often for up to 5 years or more. Then, when you retire, they acquire your office with a final buy-out.
- Independent contractor – If your new associate is an independent contractor, they will have their own equipment, staff, supplies, and staff. However, they will operate within your office space. In return, you’ll typically get a fee for the use of your practice, as well as a percentage of their total revenue.
4. Consider Your Treatment Philosophy, Office Culture, And Dental Team
It’s really important to think about your office culture and your treatment philosophy, and choose a dentist who fits into your practice well. For example, if you run a family dentistry practice, you’ll want to hire an associate dentist who likes kids, but also works well with adults.
More broadly, you should also consider the rest of your dental team. It’s a good idea to get them involved in the process of choosing an associate dentist, since they’ll be working closely with them for the foreseeable future after you make a hire.
The success of your practice depends on what your new associate dentist brings to the table, so consider these points carefully, and make sure you choose a dentist with whom you can see yourself having a long-term, successful working relationship.
5. Set Up A 60-90 Day Probation Or Trial Period For New Associate Dentists
Sometimes, things just don’t work out. Even if you choose a dentist who seems like a great fit in theory, they may not be quite what you want in practice. That’s why most new dentists are hired on a 60-90 day probationary or trial period.
Once this period is up, you’ll have the option to hire the dentist, or to send them on their way and look for a new associate. Of course, you should always try to find the right dentist on the first try, but a probation period means you’ve got options if you don’t think a new hire is the right fit for your office.
Are You Ready To Hire A New Dentist? Tooth & Coin Can Help You Find Out!
As experienced dental accountants, Jonathan VanHorn and the team at Tooth & Coin are here to help your practice expand and grow. If you’re thinking about hiring a new dentist, it’s important to make sure that your finances are in order. So don’t wait. Call us at (877) 265-2121 or schedule a consultation online to get the help you need.