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learning about the business side of dentistry while in school

Discussion in 'Dental' started by whatisit350, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. whatisit350

    7+ Year Member

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    hey guys,

    D1 here. just wondering, how are y'all learning about the business side of dentistry? as we all know, dental school teaches us about dentistry, which is totally fair. however, being a good and successful dentist requires us to know a lot about business too. i know i could work for a private office, or even corporate, after school and learn about management, insurance, and overhead (just to name a few) for a year or two to prepare myself to open an office. I also have heard multiple people say that getting an MBA after dental school was a night and day difference for them, so I was considering that. But all of that pertains to after school, and I was wondering what can I be doing while I'm in school?

    Just to name one idea I had, I've started collecting all the direct mail (postcard/flyer things, lol can't think of what those are actually called atm). I get quite a few of those in my location. This allows me to see lots of cool things; like what kind of advertising most dentists are doing these days, where they get their post cards from, what kind of deals they're offering for both new and existing patients, basically where they put they're main focus on, etc..

    What are some ideas y'all have?
     
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  2. omfsing

    omfsing Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Resident
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    Best thing to do is find a mentor who owns a bunch of practices and pick his/her brain.
     
  3. 2TH MVR

    2TH MVR Orthodontist
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    OP. You've got plenty of time before you need to learn the business side of dentistry. I would concentrate on your studies
    As you near graduation and start to look for a job. My advice is to work as an associate for 6-12 months in a good practice. You're not going to learn alot from a Corp job on running a private dental practice.

    While you're associating .... LEARN everything you can. Think of it like school for business. Find a mentor like the above poster mentioned. I would also recommend locating a dentist/MD specific tax accountant. I've had the same acct for the last 26 years. He is invaluable. I paid him a monthly retainer (around $300) to handle all the tax paperwork for my office. I spoke to him a lot since he was on retainer and not charging me for every conversation. Also .... plan on doing your own payroll and pay your own bills. Paying your own bills means YOU know where your money is going. Plenty of easy payroll programs out there. I used quick books for the payroll and accounting. At the end of the month ... I would just email the info to the acct.

    If you plan to build a practice from scratch. Talk to me. There are some really important details such as getting PARTIAL LEIN RELEASES FROM THE SUB-CONTRACTORS, etc. etc. Lots of details in building your own practice. I've been through it 3 times and each time ... there was something new that came up.

    So ... associate for 6-12 months. LEARN. Spend time looking for that practice to buy or build. Hopefully in a non-saturated area.
     
  4. Faux

    5+ Year Member

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    What about that 30 MBA video series I keep reading around Dental Town?

     
  5. 2TH MVR

    2TH MVR Orthodontist
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    I don't know. I never frequent Dental Town. Not a fan.
     
  6. charlestweed

    Dentist Gold Donor Verified Expert Verified Account 10+ Year Member

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    It's hard to learn while in school. You learn when you actually start your own office. You learn through trial and error.

    After 4 years of working for the corp, I still didn't know anything when I started my first office. I was good clinically but businesswise, I was clueless. I tried to spend as little as possible. I figured if my office failed, I'd just walk away with minimal loss. I asked the corp's backfloor supervisor where she ordered the low cost supplies from so I could order the same supplies for my own office. I also bought the same dry heat sterilizer and the cheap PC-1000 pano/ceph xray machine that the corp used. Unlike my colleagues, who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade their equipment over the years, I've kept these same equipment for the last 12 years because they still work great....no need to re-train the staff to use the new equipment. I borrowed many of the forms (inform consent, health hx, financial contract, extraction prescription, tx note, financial ledger etc) that the corp used and modified them a little bit.

    How did I get the new patients to know about my office? I used Televox's direct mail campaign and paid $15k for the service. 9 patients came but only 4 accepted the tx. 3 of these 4 start patients later referred me 3 more patients. So that $15k Televox service was not a waste but it did not bring a lot of patients like what I had expected. I also went door to door to let the GPs in the area know that my office was opened on Sat/Sun, that we offerred low cost tx with interest free payment plan and that we accepted most insurances including medicaid. At the beginning I just wanted to treat as many patients as possible....I wanted to let them know more about me and I tried to earn their trust so they would refer their friends to my office. I didn't care about the profit margin since I still kept good paying job at the corp. Treating patients and making a little bit of money is better (and more fun) than sitting around making nothing. It's more depressing not having patients to treat.
     
    #6 charlestweed, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
    princeafrica likes this.
  7. setdoc7

    Dentist Verified Expert 10+ Year Member

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    Different parts of the country will have different cost overheads. Rent is one of your fixed overheads that you want to hold down, as it does not impact how many patients you see. Commercial leases are often loaded with hidden increases that not only eat into your bottom line but may make your practice unprofitable or unsaleable at some future date. Without actual experience, teaching you this becomes completely theoretical, sort of like pictures in an oral med book but no real life experience with any of the multiple oral lesions we must know.
     
  8. princeafrica

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    How much does a decent practice cost on average? I looked at dental town and some of them post $200k and that seems odd .......... or am I missing something?
     
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  9. 2TH MVR

    2TH MVR Orthodontist
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    There's no set number. Depends on alot of variables. If buying an existing practice .... the assets will be divided between fixed or tangible and nontangible (goodwill). There are tax ramifications for both the buyer and seller depending on the ratio of fixed vs nontangible assets. Is real estate part of the sale? If not .... there are the lease negotiations with the lessor who owns the building or suite. Best to use a lease specialist. I did this when I sold my practice since I still OWN the office space. The lease was written professionally (7 yrs) and works to my advantage.

    Specialist vs. Nonspecialist practice. Ortho is all about existing future collections on the books. Not sure about a GP office.

    If starting your own practice from scratch. Well .... lots of details. Location. Contractor. Subs. Partial leins. Bank loan. How do you pay the general for work done by subs. Getting to know the subs to make sure they are paid by the general. People do not realize that the property owner is responsible for payment on work done by the Subs even if the General contractor files bankrupcy. Permits. Tenant improvements from lessor if leasing. Future HOA dues. Acct keeping track of all the depreciation of different asset categories by time. Realizing that your bank loan amounts to principle and interest payments. Interest is written off. Principle payment counts as personal income to you. Not many realize this. What is written off is the interest on the loan and DEPRECIATION on those assets that you purchased/ and or built.

    Want to negotiate to be the only dentist or specialist in the medical/dental facility or retail area. Good luck. There are so many ways for the present owner or future owner to break that commitment.

    Building your own practice can be expensive, but it will be done the way you want it. Buying an existing practice probably makes more sense, but the equipment, fixed assets will be AS IS.

    Do you lease or own? Another decision. I've done it both ways. Pros and cons. In the end .... better to own your own real estate. Loan payments are now going towards equity in your real estate. You also can control your monthly lease payment without dealing with the lessor's constantly increasing the rent every year. BTW. When you lease ... typically you are paying the rent. Paying the owner's property taxes and everything else. Called triple net lease.

    If buying or building a practice .... definitely ... consult people who are knowledgeable with this.
     

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