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“When Should I Hire an Associate?” Gets Answered – Episode #319


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As the tectonic shift in practice ownership alters the dental industry, a major question that continues to arise is, “Where can I find a good associate?” On this episode of the Dentist Money™ Show, Ryan invites Dan Blair, of Menlo Dental Consulting’s Associate Placement Services, to discuss trends in dentistry and how (and when) to find the right people to help grow your team.

 

Show Notes
www.menlodentalconsulting.com
Are You Ready to Add an Associate

 


 

Podcast Transcript

Ryan Isaac:
Hello, Dentist Money Show listeners. Welcome back to another glorious episode of The Dentist Money Show, brought to you by Dentist Advisors, a no-commission comprehensive fiduciary financial planner just for dentists all over the country. Check us out at dentistadvisors.com. Today, I have a new friend of mine, Dan Blair from Menlo Dental Consulting, and today we’re specifically talking about the task and the big job of adding an associate to your practice. What kind of questions should you be asking? When is it the right time? What are the common mistakes and pitfalls? How to do it the right way so you can have success? For better, for worse, much of the industry is heading towards group models and multiple producers across multiple locations, so very important subject, finding the right people, the right team at the right time.

Ryan Isaac:
Huge issue and kind of a big key to success in the future of the practice, so many thanks to Dan for sharing his wisdom and expertise with us, and many thanks for everyone for being here joining us on the Dentist Money Show. If you have any questions for us, post a question in the Dentist Advisors discussion group on Facebook. We’ll post an answer, and you can also reach out directly, dentistadvisors.com. Click the book free consultation link. Let’s have a chat and thanks for being here, everybody. Enjoy the show.

Announcer:
Consult an advisor or conduct your own due diligence when making financial decisions. General principles discussed during this program do not constitute personal advice. This program is furnished by Dentist Advisors, a registered investment advisor. This is Dentist Money. Now, here’s your host, Ryan Isaac.

Ryan Isaac:
Welcome to the Dentist Money Show, where we help dentists make smart financial decisions and avoid the bad ones along the way. I’m your host, Ryan Isaac, and I’m here with a new guest, and I’m really excited to have today Mr. Dan Blair from Menlo Dental Consulting. And specifically, we’re talking about associate placement services today. We’ll get into that. But Dan, thanks for being here, man. How are you doing today?

Matt Mulcock:
I’m doing great. Thanks, Ryan. Thanks for having me today.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, stoked for you to be on the show. Just for those of you who might be familiar with this name, Menlo is a group in Arizona, started 15 years ago. A lot of you… Shout out to Tanner and Rich, if you guys know them. We’ve had them on the show as guests in the past. They are a very large commercial real estate company that helps… I don’t even know how many thousands of dentists at this point, find commercial space all over the place. And also a very, very large dental transitions business and presence there, and then now we’ve got this dental consulting, and specifically today we’re talking about finding jobs for associates and practices, placing them around the country. So Dan, let’s just jump into a little bit of some background and some introduction. You have a long dental background. If you don’t mind, if that’s cool with you, just share a little bit about what you’ve done in dental, how you arrived at this point with Menlo, and what is the problem you guys are trying to solve right now?

Matt Mulcock:
Yeah, no, thanks, Ryan. So been in dental for 15 years. Started my career as a manager trainee with Pacific Dental Services, and spent about nine years with PDS. I came here as a regional…

Ryan Isaac:
Sorry, where were you at, by the way? Where did you live when you did this? I’m just curious, regionally in the country?

Matt Mulcock:
Arizona. So most of my dental experience is here in Arizona.

Ryan Isaac:
Cool.

Matt Mulcock:
So basically spent almost nine years with PDS. I was a regional manager, where I managed over 15 offices throughout the Valley. I’ve worked with Spear Education. I’ve been a Director of Operations over multiple states, and my last stint was with MB-2, where I overseen 36 practices here in the Valley. Menlo was a big part of MB-2 here when we started up Arizona. We started Arizona with 11 offices, and shortly grew to 36 offices within a year. Menlo went ahead and was looking for… To start associate placement services. They had a need for associates to compete with what’s going on in the industry right now, between DSOs and corporate dentistry, and give that same to private practice. So currently working all over the nation right now, working with owners that are looking for associates that are looking to either grow their practice, they’re looking to either get a partner or possible transition out of the practice and looking for someone that’s solid to go ahead and take it over.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, it’s being a part of the big corporate and DSO world, you probably just saw this need to find the right people. We’re recording this December 2021. We’re in a time… In a lot of industries, but certainly in dental, where shortages of people are unprecedented and it’s just… It’s affecting people big time. I don’t know if it’s as much associates and natural doctors as it is team and staff, but finding the right people for the practice is really hot button issue right now.

Matt Mulcock:
Well, you know, Ryan, it’s funny that you bring that up, reason being is that we have seen a shift, as far as what we’re seeing currently in the dental market right now. At that point when COVID went ahead and hit, we went to emergent services. We had a lot of associates that were either furloughed or possibly they weren’t gonna come back. They spent months waiting for the owner to give them the green light to come back, but a lot of owners were a little nervous about what was the patient flow that was gonna be coming back into the office. So we definitely are seeing a dynamic shift right now within dental, as far as what that looks like with associates.

Ryan Isaac:
This is kind of a side bar, but you have so much experience in this, and you spend a lot of time in this part, so I’m just curious… Can you just say anything about the pros and the cons of this trajectory of DSO consolidation in the dental industry? There’s a lot of excitement and greed around it, and there’s a lot of fear and worry around it too. Just as someone who’s been around it for a long time, can you just speak to a little bit of the excitement and the worries that people have? Pros and cons of where you see this heading, and maybe where does this end up? What’s the stopping point for this momentum of DSO and consolidation?

Matt Mulcock:
Yeah, what I’m seeing a lot of is… With the model is… There’s a couple of different models within the corporate industry. You have your DSO model, which is your Dental Service Organization, which is more along the line of your Pacific Dental Services, your Aspens, those type of…

Ryan Isaac:
Some of the original, huge, gigantic. Yeah. Okay.

Matt Mulcock:
Correct. Now you’re seeing a lot of private money being interjected into these, where now you’re seeing a lot of management companies, which are more taking on a role of a DPO, which is a Dental Partnership Organization, where you see a lot of private practices that are going that route, because they still keep the continuity of their office. They still keep the name of the office. The doctor still stays the same. So you can go into the office, you think it’s a private practice, but truly it’s backed by corporate at that point. So just this year alone, I’ve seen three or four new organizations that are popping up within the industry, and it seems like the COVID and some of this uncertainty that we’re going through is pushing some of these private practices to go that route, whether it’s for possibly having the backup of the private equity money, knowing that it’s gonna be a comfort zone if something does happen, if we do go through another shutdown… Whatever the case might be there.

Matt Mulcock:
So, again, pros and cons. I think you look at it from two different aspects. You look at it from an owner aspect, which I think that there’s a little bit of security there. “Yes, I’m selling a portion of my equity, but I’m still able to maintain the continuity of my office. I’m still able to go ahead and make the decisions that I go ahead and make as an owner. But I don’t have to worry about the business aspect.” From the other side, I think that you have the associate aspect, where a lot of dentists got into dentistry because they wanted to be their own business. They wanted to work for themselves, and I think that that’s kind of where… There’s a little bit of that shift, because depending upon what type of industry that you go in in the corporate aspect of it, there’s some challenges on each side.

Ryan Isaac:
For sure.

Matt Mulcock:
Some of the corporate structures are very, very numbers-driven, and that doesn’t go ahead and always play out well for associates. You’re not able to sometimes grow your skill set, because a lot of it needs to go ahead and be referred over to specialty.

Ryan Isaac:
Got it.

Matt Mulcock:
So there are some pros and cons there. I think that what we’re seeing more of the model is more of that DPO model, where they still wanna go ahead and give continuity to the doctors and let them make their own decisions, but not have to worry about the business aspect of things.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, and I’ve seen that be a huge help to a lot of people. There’s so many dentists out there who are exceptional clinicians, but a lot of times they don’t even want to be the main business owner in a lot of these businesses. Entrepreneurship was kind of a side thing that came along with being a dentist, you know? They didn’t mean to. That wasn’t the main goal. And I see this being a really big help to a big chunk of the industry. I know it’s total speculation, any idea where this number lands? What percentage of the dental industry becomes corporate or group owned by the time this maybe starts to lose a little steam?

Matt Mulcock:
Yeah, that’s a great question.

Ryan Isaac:
I need you to predict the future for our audience. Please tell us.

Matt Mulcock:
I’m pulling out the crystal ball right now. But I think that it’s definitely gonna go ahead, and you’re gonna see… ‘Cause you’re even starting to see even some of the private practices with some of these groups and podcasts, like yourself, they go through where there’s connections that are being made. So there’s smaller groups as well, made up of doctors that are joining together that are kind of anti-corporate, and that’s the thing. “We’re anti-corporate. Come with us.” But still it’s that group mentality.

Ryan Isaac:
Still a group. Oh yeah.

Matt Mulcock:
Right. So I think that that’s more and more the wave of the future, and it could go ahead and be upward into 70%, 80%.

Ryan Isaac:
Sure.

Matt Mulcock:
Just depending upon what that looks like, and that’s in… I work with even small group practices that are privately owned. They’re owned by the doctors. But they have three to seven practices, and so…

Ryan Isaac:
Oh yeah. Very common.

Matt Mulcock:
Right, right. So I think that that’s definitely… We’re seeing a shift right now in the dental industry, and it’s gonna be interesting to see what 2022 brings to the table.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, for sure. You said it. Everything’s gonna have a pro and a con attached to it. It is very different than what old school dentistry used to be, where it was one person, one location, three or four chairs, and that’s a career. You know? And there are so many more partnerships and associateships developing now. Pros and cons, but I like what that does for people. It opens up a lot of options for people to have different ownership structures and involvement in a practice where they might not have had the opportunity before. And you know what’s interesting? And you probably see a lot of this growth too, and I’ve always wondered about how this will shape up is now, statistically, women make up a higher percentage of dental students than men do. But in the past, women haven’t owned practices at the same rate as men have owned. With the new opportunities of different types of ownership, different entity structure and partnerships and associateships, now that there’s not just one model, like, you either come and own a practice full-time or you be an associate full-time, it’s not so black and white anymore.

Ryan Isaac:
I think it’s gonna open up a lot of opportunities for people who haven’t owned practices a lot in the past, to do it in less traditional ways that I think are gonna be really beneficial to them as owners, as clinicians, and for the industry. It just gives more opportunity. People who weren’t as involved in the past, and it’s just… It’s exciting to see that it’s opening up a lot of doors in this group mentality. And you also mentioned something that I’m finding pretty common, which is not everyone who builds a big group and big partnerships and multi-locations wants to sell to a company a lot, right? A lot of these people are just holding them forever and they’re gonna have multiple partners and associates and just run it like that forever.

Matt Mulcock:
Absolutely, absolutely. You’re 100% right on there, Ryan. When you’re talking about the different opportunities, and when I’m talking to docs across the nation right now… And those are some of the questions that I ask, ’cause, I mean, literally on LinkedIn the other day, I saw a job posting for an associate in Texas, and they were offering $100000 sign on bonus. Now, I mean, it’s super aggressive…

Ryan Isaac:
Do you wanna… Everyone’s like, “Please disclose where that was,” yeah. [chuckle]

Matt Mulcock:
But you can see the amount of competition that is starting to go ahead and arise. And one of the biggest things, especially with associates, is what I’ve seen through the corporate aspect. Because corporate does go ahead and target a lot of new grads coming straight out of school, and the reason why they normally go ahead and leave those opportunities at corporate is for, one, they don’t have the chance to go ahead and grow their skill set because everything needs to be referred to a specialist, right? Or two, they don’t have the chance for ownership. So when I do talk to these owners and I ask them, “Are you open to partnership? Are you open to some type of ownership?” And I think there’s a little hesitation, too, for the fact that either partnerships have gone south in the past, or there’s a lot of things.

Ryan Isaac:
Not all marriages last. [chuckle]

Matt Mulcock:
Exactly, exactly. But you have an aspect to even go ahead… And I talk to a lot of the owners about a profit sharing model. You’re not giving up any equity, but there’s still a profit-sharing model that can go ahead and be done with your associate. That puts skin in the game for them. The more that they go ahead and produce, the more they’re able to go ahead and make. So there is different opportunities to go ahead, and not necessarily have to go ahead and hang your name on the window there, but still be able to get… Be profitable.

Ryan Isaac:
To participate in that.

Matt Mulcock:
Exactly, exactly.

Ryan Isaac:
And that’s what they look at. Like you… I’m sure you’ve met a lot of career associates who make tremendous livings. But a successful profitable practice is gonna make you more money and grow your net worth more than not owning one in some capacity, and so that’s definitely a pull. And just circling back on all this, it’s cool to see. I’m sure there’s downsides to a lot of this group stuff and consolidation, but it’s providing opportunities for people to be involved in ownership that weren’t historically involved in ownership as much, and that’s good for the industry, I think. And good for patients.

Matt Mulcock:
Absolutely, absolutely. One of the things that… When you have X amount of offices, and you take a look at the numbers from an operational standpoint, you’re looking at these offices, the ones that had owner doctors in the practices were the practices that were thriving more. They had better office retention, rather than just having an associate solely in the practice, right? So I think that, again, it opens up a lot of doors. There’s a lot of pros, there’s a lot of cons to it, but it’s exciting to go ahead and see the evolution, really, into what’s happening in dental.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, true. Let’s go to… That was kind of a long… I side-tracked just a little bit on the DSO, but it’s just… It’s so top of mind. You’ve got a lot of experience there. Thanks for going through that.

Matt Mulcock:
Sure.

Ryan Isaac:
Let’s talk about this associate placement idea. And I wanna re-ask the question. What’s the problem that’s trying to be solved here with an associate placement service? What is the void that’s getting filled here?

Matt Mulcock:
So with the service, basically what it’s doing is it’s allowing for the owner not to go ahead and… I mean, the owner wears so many different hats at this point anyway, right? Dealing with patients, dealing with staff… Especially in the private practice sector. So this allows for them to kinda get that off of their plate, have someone that has good experience, that knows what they’re looking for in an associate, understands what the owner is looking for in an associate, but allows for them to take that off of their plate. And one thing is, is you look at… We’re just talking about the DSOs, the groups. They have recruiters. They have recruiters that go ahead and help fill the offices. What does private practice have? “Well, let me go ahead and put an ad up online and see what I get.”

Ryan Isaac:
Or you ask someone in the front office. You’re like, “Can you find us someone in your spare time? Post an ad or something?” And… Yeah, and we’re talking in a lot of cases about practices that are sometimes multiple million dollar corporations. You kinda have to treat it professionally, when you’re looking for other professionals to hire, so that makes a lot of sense to me. It’s a hard job to do.

Matt Mulcock:
Absolutely, absolutely. And those are the things that… What questions are being asked? Are they being asked the right questions? Are you able… ‘Cause all of a sudden, what happens in the office? Doctors doing dentistry, they have a scheduled interview that’s on the schedule there. Something runs over, or all of a sudden it’s, “Hey, Doc, your interview’s here.” And it’s like, “Oh, okay, let me go ahead and take care of that.” But how much attention is really…

Ryan Isaac:
You’re describing my meeting schedule with most of my clients. [laughter] I’m sorry, an emergency case, give me 20 minutes. Yeah. I get very busy, it’s tough to pay the appropriate attention and then even have… I don’t know, the experience and skill set to like what you’re saying, ask the right questions, dig on the right thing. How do you know… We’ll get to this, but that’s the question, how do you know how to pick the right person for your practice? And it’s such a big deal.

Matt Mulcock:
Right. And if you rush through it, onboarding and getting… Now, all of a sudden you’ve went ahead and introduced your patients to an associate that’s not gonna be a long-term fit, or might not be culturally fit with the office, and it’s just because you needed someone right away or you rushed through the interview or whatever the case might be.

Ryan Isaac:
The old desperation play, hail Mary.

Matt Mulcock:
Right. So, we try and make it very, very seamless for the owner in which once we go ahead and we interview the candidate, we take detailed notes, we also go ahead and use a video system. So, basically there are seven pre-populated questions, tell me about you, tell me about your experience, how do you overcome difficult patient, your production levels? But really what it does is it allows for the owner not to take up any chair time, be able to review the CV, review the notes, look at the video and make a decision, is this someone we would like to go to next steps with at that point? It’s expedited the process about 50%, so.

Ryan Isaac:
Oh, yeah.

Matt Mulcock:
That’s been really what we’ve brought to market to really help these owners make good decisions of what they do, but those things do go ahead and happen where you get the associates, you go through the process, they’re in the office and you’re like, Oh, this is not gonna be the right fit, right?

Ryan Isaac:
Not the right fit, yeah. Sometimes you don’t know until someone’s sitting right there, right?

Matt Mulcock:
Exactly. So, we’re conscious of that and we basically offer a 90-day guarantee, so if the associate doesn’t work out within the first 90 days…

Ryan Isaac:
Cool.

Matt Mulcock:
Let us know, so we can go ahead and we can help you redesign that.

Ryan Isaac:
Let’s go to… You wrote an article on this, we can share this in the description when we post this. When we release this episode and post it on social media and everything, but you wrote an article about how to know when it’s time. This is one of the biggest questions we get, and we could probably do a whole webinar on this, which might be actually kind of cool, how do you know when it’s time to bring in that associate? What are the… Probably different points, so it might be financial, it might be someone doesn’t care if their income drops, they just need some time back. Can you walk us through a little bit about what you wrote in that and just tell us about the process by which an owner might start to figure out that question, when is it time to hire an associate and how will I know?

Matt Mulcock:
Absolutely. So, you know, Ryan, I think the biggest thing is to go ahead and to make sure that there’s an associate plan of action.

Ryan Isaac:
Okay.

Matt Mulcock:
We wanna make sure that we’re… And you wanna be asking questions of your practice and knowing what… How much are you… Simple things of how much business are you referring out? Are you referring out a lot of… ‘Cause there’s different reasons to go ahead and add an associate, if you are particularly good at bread and butter dentistry, restorative dentistry, but you refer out to $300,000 worth of specialty because it’s not within your skill set, or you don’t have time to go ahead and do so, it might be time to go ahead and bring in an associate that might go ahead and help you grow your business from a specialty aspect. Is the schedule full? Are you putting on roller skates every day, seeing 16 to 20 patients a day, and just running around and looking at the end of the day saying, what did we do?

Ryan Isaac:
What happened? Yeah, what even happened? Oh yeah.

Matt Mulcock:
So, those are definitely questions to ask, how is our hygiene program doing, how is our patient retention? We know that if that hygiene program isn’t growing, your practice isn’t growing, so those are aspects that they wanna be looked at. Are you at capacity? Have you added days? Have you extended hours at this point? What is potential for partnership for the right associate? We talked about that.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, where do you want us to go? Yeah, where is this going?

Matt Mulcock:
Exactly. And one of the big questions is, how are you gonna go ahead and deviate those new patients, right? You’re still gonna wanna go ahead and as an owner produce yourself, but do you have enough patient flow to go ahead and have an associate come on board and be realistic with it. Is it maybe we’re gonna start out with one to two days a week and start to build the schedule that way, instead of saying, “Yeah, I need a full-time associate.”

Ryan Isaac:
I know.

Matt Mulcock:
Now, all of a sudden they’re sitting around, they’re on a guarantee…

Ryan Isaac:
Or they’re taking your production…

Matt Mulcock:
Absolutely.

Ryan Isaac:
And your income’s going down. This is a good subject to stay on, how do you prepare an owner to set the right expectations for the first associate that they’re bringing in. ‘Cause usually what’s gonna happen, even if it goes well, you’ll see total practice production increase, the pie gets bigger, but a lot of times you’re sharing some of that production, you’re giving some of those new patients away to keep them busy. You as the owner, your personal income might dip a little bit, and it might stay down for a year or two while you build that associate up and get them busy, but even if the practice is growing in collections numbers and your profitability dips because now you got a more expensive person on payroll. How do you help them set expectations for those things?

Matt Mulcock:
The expectation is more of finding out what the owner’s goal is, by bringing on an associate, truly what is your goal? Is it to go ahead and to possibly step back your hours a little bit, look, I’m working… I’ve been working four days a week for the last 20 years, and I kinda wanna scale down to two days a week. What is the ultimate goal? And I ask the owners, what is your ultimate goal with what you’re trying to go ahead and accomplish by bringing on an associate? And that varies for whatever reasons, some are looking to add for growth, some are looking that they’re gonna have a build out and they’re wanting to go ahead and bring in an associate now while they’re doing a build-out so they can kind of interject the patient flow and so forth, and know that it’s gonna be an investment. You’re investing into this associate because of what you’re looking to go ahead and accomplish. So, I think every owner has a different aspect of why they’re bringing on an associate, and when you talk to them, it’s all different, but we wanna be able to identify truly why are you bringing on that associate, what is your goal, what is your end in mind.

Ryan Isaac:
And some people just wanna make more money, like we have enough chairs and everyone’s booked out too far, and we just wanna make more money, we know we can. Some people, they don’t care if they make more money, they’re fine with making less money, they want more time back, they might be plugging away five, six days a week, and they’re like, “I gotta go to three, I gotta go to four. And I need somebody to just come take my production because I’m dying and I’m burning out.” Yeah, so expectations are that’s what would they want out of that, yeah.

Matt Mulcock:
Ryan, one of the other things that I’ve seen too, especially with some of our more experienced dentists that are now, they’re doing more of the higher end cases and they don’t have time to do some of the other bread and butter restorative dentistry, which they might wanna go ahead and bring in a newer associate, maybe someone with less experience. But then, you have to ask yourself, will you have time to go ahead and mentor or coach with this because that’s a lot of what… If you don’t have the time, what are you prepared to do? Are you prepared to offer CE or some kind of CE stipend to go ahead and help with that. So, that’s… I ask those questions as well is because that’s a big thing, is that a lot of these associates that even though they have a couple of years of experience they’ve been thrown into a solo practice, they’re the only doc there and they’re asking, “Well, will the owner be there? Will they offer some kind of mentorship?” And it’s not a mentorship in the where they need to be, have their hand held, they just want a little bit of that collaboration and being able to go ahead and bounce those ideas off.

Matt Mulcock:
Hey, Ryan, tell me what happens during a consultation?

Ryan Isaac:
It’s a great question, Matt. The first thing we’d like to do is just get to know more about you and your practice. What are your career goals, what are you doing in your practice, in your business, what kind of big decisions are you making in your personal financial life? Then we talk about how hiring a comprehensive, fiduciary, dental-specific financial advisor can help you make better financial decisions in your future, help you grow your net worth, get more organized and get more peace of mind around your financial situation.

Matt Mulcock:
I mean, so you’re telling me it’s that easy and painless.

Ryan Isaac:
I am telling you it is that easy and totally painless. Exactly, Matt, just go to dentistadvisors.com, click the book free consultation button, do it right now and talk to a friendly advisor today.

Ryan Isaac:
Are there any indicators or benchmarks of maybe production or anything that kind of also help tell the story. If I’m producing 700, I’m probably not ready for an associate, but if I’m at 1.4, I might be ready for an associate, but that might depend on hygiene, it might depend on my specialty, it might depend on other factors. Are there any kind of financial… I know they’re high level, they’re pretty general, everyone’s situation is very specific, but are there any kind of high level general benchmarks to think about, like financial benchmarks that might tell you that you’re ready for an associate?

Matt Mulcock:
Yeah, as far as when you’re looking at that, I think that you’re looking at more along the line of what you can go ahead and handle in regards to, not necessarily production levels, but how many patients are you currently seeing right now? Is your new patients being pushed out more than seven days, the likelihood of that new patient leaving, if they don’t get in within the first seven days is very, very high. So, it’s more of the flow of the office, how is that working? Hygiene being pushed out. If you have new patients coming in, the expectation is that they wanna get a cleaning, if you can’t do that cleaning that same day, then these are things that you have to look at your business in a more strategic way and find out, Okay, how am I spending my time? What does that look like? Because we have smaller practices with four ops that are looking to add an associate, and the reason why is the owner is looking to go ahead and only work one to two days a week and would like an associate to go ahead and take over the production like you said before on there, Ryan.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, totally. I imagine… I have this conversation a lot with clients where they’re producing a lot, they’re behind, demand’s high, they’re busy, they know that’s probably close to time for being a good fit for someone coming in, but they’re also not sure if their own… So, this is a question I ask, adding more locations, more chairs, more producers might not solve the problem if your current processes and systems aren’t really dialed in. If your team feels scattered and not on the same page and your patient experience doesn’t flow really well, you actually don’t know what your profitability is on hygiene or your own production. Your systems of re-care or following up on insurance and payments might not be very tight, so how does someone go about doing that or at least take an inventory of it, be aware of it.

Matt Mulcock:
Yeah, through my career, I’ve seen $300,000 offices and $150,000 offices that almost have the same amount of profitability. And the reason being is just because you have… You have now more overhead, you have more employees, you have more supply costs, you have all of these things that kinda go ahead and go through, but really looking at the business from more of a strategic manner, what is our re-care currently right now? What is our retention levels, looking at what, even small things of supply costs. Looking at all factors to go through and decide, are we a profitable business. The way of looking at a business anymore from the dental aspect is not well, the bills are paid and I have money in the bank, that just doesn’t work.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, what percent do you have in the bank? What’s actually happening?

Matt Mulcock:
Right. So, when you’re looking at these different aspects, there’s benchmarks that you can go ahead and look at industry-wide as far as where one of the biggest costs in the office is people cost, do we have over abundance? Are we adding people to the office to grow the office? Which corporate aspect you’re looking at, for every $70,000 worth of production, you have one person upfront. So, depending upon what your office is producing, if you have four or five people up front and you’re doing $150,000 a month, that’s probably… You probably need to go ahead and take a look at what that looks like, overall. There’s so many different aspects to take a look at that when you’re going through, but to have a good picture of what you’re looking at, whether that is through a coach or consultant or your CPA, whatever that might look like, you wanna go ahead and know how you stack rank against other offices similar to yourself.

Ryan Isaac:
I was just gonna ask if, and you’re part of a dental consulting group as well, if the transition time when it’s time to start bringing on more producers, associates is a good time to have a competent coach be in the practice to take a look at systems and processes and the busy dentists can’t make sure all the systems are running, and the multiple systems, there’s no way. So, maybe it’s a good time to involve a competent consultant in the practice to come in during that transition time too, is that… Would that be accurate?

Matt Mulcock:
Absolutely, initially, a good coach, a good consultant is gonna go ahead and present, is gonna look at your practice overall, run the numbers, see where you’re currently at and provide a report to let you know, “Hey, doc, this is currently where you’re at right now. These are where I’m seeing areas of opportunity, if we go ahead and if we button up these things here, and we make a few tweaks of this and that we definitely can go ahead and add an associate at that point, or we can go ahead and buy that new [0:33:24.4] ____ machine or whatever new technology is coming out. So, definitely having that… It’s funny, even Michael Jordan had a personal coach.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, of course.

Matt Mulcock:
And, it’s always getting better, how do you get better, how do you strive to get better. And…

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, there’s always something you don’t know, there’s always at least questions you don’t even know to ask unless it’s your full-time job to ask them, which it’s not as a dentist.

Matt Mulcock:
Right, and I think bringing awareness, that’s what a good coach does, is bring awareness to the owner and say, “Doc, this is what I’m seeing.” Even if it’s a once a month call, that reviewing the numbers, going over what those look like, those are things, and now building a strategic plan, what are you gonna do quarter one, quarter two, quarter three, quarter four, how did we result? What was our results? So, I think that those are things that… I think even from… That’s what corporate actually brings to a lot of these private practices, is the ability to go ahead and utilize analytics and see where they’re at, and private practice is starting to go ahead and get on board more with that of looking at numbers and being able to identify trends and so forth as well.

Ryan Isaac:
Well, it just takes away surprises if someone’s looking over the things that you just don’t have the time or skill set to look over, and knowing your P&L and your profitability numbers, your overhead, your people, your systems, and like you said, successful people hire people to help them be more successful and stay on track. I think that’s a really good piece of advice.

Matt Mulcock:
And you know, Ryan, one of the biggest things too, especially in private practice is by even having a coach reviewing numbers, questioning that, that also goes ahead and helps prevent fraud and… Because what do we find out? Oh, I don’t know how to do that, Susie knows how to do that, I’ll just have her take care of it. But Susie’s been dipping into the account, right? And now all of a sudden, what would happen…

Ryan Isaac:
Very common.

Matt Mulcock:
Yeah.

Ryan Isaac:
Very, very common. Yeah, totally. More pairs of independent eyes on the situation go a long way for prevention and those kind of things. Yeah, that’s such a good point. I feel like there’s so many things we could talk about specifically. Again, I think this would make a really good webinar, how about we… Where can people find you and Menlo? And how can they reach out. I guess two questions then; how do they find you? Where do they reach out? And then the other question would be, what are some of the common questions someone would be asking in their heads right now that lead them to a conversation with you? What are they asking themselves that you’re like, you’re on the brink of probably needing to reach out and work on this issue.

Matt Mulcock:
Yeah, absolutely. So, they can go ahead and feel free to go to our website, menlodentalconsulting.com. You can reach us directly there. You can reach me directly at dan@menlodentalconsulting.com through email. All of our information is there for your listeners to go ahead and send. If there’s any questions or if there’s even thinking about maybe needing a coach or needing associate placement services, we go ahead and we do either Zoom calls or we can go ahead and do a telephone call and no obligation, just trying to go ahead and figure out what’s best for you, and if we can go ahead and possibly help or point you in the direction of what you’re looking at. I mean, having a conversation, we would love me to go ahead and have that, ’cause we have so many outlets that we can go ahead and direct you through.

Ryan Isaac:
You do, I was just gonna say, I’ve known the Menlo team for almost 15 years now, and that is, the combined experience between everyone on your team at this point is… It’s a lot, many, many, many years of dental specific experience all over the board from real estate to transition transactions to placement of people and group, I mean it’s just… There’s so much, there’s so much knowledge, and I think you guys are an awesome team, a really deep bench of just knowledge and experience, so.

Matt Mulcock:
Well, we appreciate that Ryan and that’s something that we build our reputation on service and being able to go ahead and just help where we can.

Ryan Isaac:
For sure. Well, we’ll link all the contact information in the details, and so I guess if you’re listening to this and you resonate with some of these things, like you’re sitting there thinking, yeah, I’d like to scale back my time or we have too much demand or we’ve got some room, I think we’re ripe for growth, these are the questions that will probably lead you to a conversation here, so feel free to reach out, all the website and the email address, but… Yeah, well man, thanks for being here with us today and kind of walking through this Dan, I really appreciate it, man. I was excited when you and I were introduced on a group text that I ignored for four months when I moved, but I’m glad we got back into it man because…

Matt Mulcock:
No worries, Ryan, it was a pleasure being here and speaking with you, it was great.

Ryan Isaac:
This is huge, and with where the industry is going, multiple producers in a practice, associate and partnership models, and it’s just where things are trending, whether or not they sell to a DSO or DPO, multiple producers in one location or multiple locations where it’s headed. And this is just so needed, so thanks for sharing your wisdom and expertise and time. And if you’re listening, thanks for listening and thanks for joining us, reach out to Dan’s team and ask all the questions you’ve got. Thanks again, we’ll probably do this again in the near future, maybe webinar style, but thanks for being here with us, appreciate it, man.

Matt Mulcock:
Absolutely, thank you, Ryan.

Ryan Isaac:
Yeah, thanks everyone for listening, and we’ll catch you next time on The Dentist Money Show, take care. Bye-bye.

 

Practice Management

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