Private Group Dental Practice
You already know your lifetime earnings will probably be less when you practice in a group dentistry business. You might be wondering by now if there are any sound reasons at all for practicing that way. After all, you have to conform to the group to a certain extent, possibly leaving behind your own goals for the business and modifying your philosophy of practice to suit the group’s shared philosophy. You do not get to make all the decisions the way you might like. If giving up so much freedom goes completely against your nature, it can seem like a monumental sacrifice. Yet, dentists do it all the time. There must be a reason.
The truth is that many exceptional dentists and even dentists with a lot of business savvy find that group practice is the most advantageous for them. They like working with and learning from others. They enjoy the camaraderie of the group. And, they see the real financial value of partnering with other dentists.
Lower Financial Risk
Actually, the risk of a dental practice failing is very low, but as with any business, there is some level of risk when it’s your money and credit on the line. Sharing that risk with other dentists can help minimize its impact on you. The greater risk is that your dentistry business will survive but not flourish. Again, though, having others sharing the risk with you can motivate them to work alongside you to constantly improve the group practice.
Shared or No Startup Costs
Solo dentists have to come up with all the money needed to get the dental office started. They are solely responsible for paying for the office space, equipping and furnishing that space, and funding the staff and general operating expenses until payments start flowing into your accounts. Many dentists take out loans as high as $500,000 just to get their practice started. You can end up starting out with a huge debt. However, when you start a new practice with other dentists, you share those obligations. And, when you join an existing practice, you might have no startup costs at all!
Lower Cost of Experience
What is the cost of gaining experience? Time? Effort? Perseverance? Actually, there can be a high financial cost to learning the ins and outs of becoming a better dentist. If you’re in solo practice, you have no one on hand to help you with difficult diagnoses. You have no one available to teach you new methods you did not learn in dental school. You have to learn on the fly, often making costly mistakes and sometimes even losing patients. When you’re with an experienced partner or group, you have someone on your side who can fill in the gaps your dental education left.
Dental colleges don’t teach their students to work quickly. The tempo training you get in a group practice can increase your productivity in a very short time. You have the other dentists there to compare with, and you will likely be under pressure from the other dentists to produce more in a shorter time. And, if you do not know how to work faster, the other dentists can help you learn.
As a part of a group practice, you share many of the costs you would be solely responsible for in a solo practice. Everyone contributes to paying the staff and overhead. You share the marketing costs, too. Also, group dental practices often have more new technology than solo dental practices. One of the reasons is that the group can combine their assets to buy the newest equipment soon after it has shown its worth. Assuming all the dentists in the group share these costs, the potential to have a cutting-edge practice is greater than it is for a solo dentist.
Shared Round-the-Clock Coverage
A part of providing complete dental care for your patients is being available around the clock for dental emergencies. If you’ are a solo dentist, that is all your responsibility. But, if you are a part of a group practice, you can take turns being on call for emergencies and enjoy the other days in your own way.
Two Ways to Be a Part of a Group Dental Practice
Opportunity may play a significant part in what type of group dental practice you enter. The dentists join with have to be available to practice with you or have a place in their existing practice for you. These opportunities usually take one of the following two forms.
Join an Existing Group Practice
When you join an existing group practice or partner with a dentist in his or her existing practice, the office is already set up and running. You can still influence the success of the clinic by sharing what you learn about the dentistry business. You can also learn from the other dentist or dentists, both in knowledge of dental treatments and in business strategies.
In addition, joining an existing group practice allows you to have a higher immediate income. If you choose the group thoughtfully, it will already be established and bringing in plenty of patients. The money will already be flowing in. You simply have to do the work and receive your pay and your share of the profits. By contrast, when you embark on new venture, you have to absorb the costs of startup before you can reap the profits.
Start a Practice with a Group of Dentists
Perhaps you have a group of friends from dental college who want to go together to form a group dental office. Or, you know another dentist who is leaving an old practice. You might even hear about a dentist who retired only to find that the economy wouldn’t support his or her retirement. Networking is essential to find good potential partners and group members.
When you start a new practice with other dentists, you face the challenges of any new practice, such as how to acquire patients and startup costs. However, you avoid many of the problems associated with solo dental practice, such as sole responsibility for financial success. At the same time, you can still learn from each other and share the financial risk.
Advantages of Being a Part of a Group Practice
- Lower financial risk
- Shared responsibility
- Learn from other dentists
- Higher initial earnings with existing practice
- Existing patient base