Am I ready for an Associate?

There are many questions to be answered before I would introduce an associate to the practice as a solution to reducing overhead.  I would analyze carefully precisely where my expenses were high and determine if I could rein them in to create a stronger net.  The next question would be, is there a demand?

The magic collection number for hiring an associate is around 850k.  Generally speaking, you bring on an associate when either the demand for dentistry is higher than you can provide or you are ready to scale back and understand that you will be giving up some production/collections to compensate your new associate while maintaining the current level of productivity.  

If you’re not ready to scale back but want to continue growing the practice further, I would ask yourself if you refer out procedures such as root canal therapy, extractions or other items that you could keep in-house with the help of an associate.  If your dental software has the capability, run a report that would show you what you have referred out of the practice in the last two years.  Are there any new procedures you could add to your services such as Invisalign or Implant services now that you have the help of an associate?  

You also need to look at the footprint of the practice and determine if your office space is big enough for another provider and hygiene to support them.  If you don’t have a minimum of 6-7 treatment rooms, then you would need to expand the office hours which would require additional auxiliary staffing, equating to increased overhead expense.   If you do have the necessary space, then you could start them on a part-time basis with the plan to work them into a full-time position.  

Bringing on an associate requires careful practice management and more of your time.  It can be gratifying and be taxing at the same time.  You might want to seek the advice of your trusted practice management expert, as they know you and your practice style well enough to offer some good insight on what that could look like for your situation.

 

The above article was written by Lynne Nelson, Senior Consultant, Co-Founder of Practice Management Associates, LLC copyright 2018  For more information contact Lynne at info@practicemanagementassociates.org

 

Lynne Nelson