There comes a time in an independent dentist’s career where they might be faced with the decision of entering into a partnership with another professional. There are many reasons why they might want to do this; maybe they want to make their caseload easier to manage, or they want to expand their services. These are all cases where forming a partnership could help. But there are many areas where it could be detrimental to you depending on your views and principles. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of partnerships in dental practice.
Pro – Expand Your Service Offering
The best way to form a partnership is to look for someone who has expertise that you may not have. Maybe you’re not the most well-versed in advanced cosmetic procedures and are getting a lot of inquiries from people about them. In this case, working with someone who has significant expertise dealing with these kinds of procedures increases the number of people coming through your doors.
Con – Less Flexibility
When you run your own practice, you get to decide everything from who your target demographic will be to the fonts on your website. Being able to be involved in every decision and have a final say is something a lot of people will miss when getting in a partnership. You might have conflicting ideas about who you should be marketing to, or you may have a completely different view of how to manage the practice.
These are all things that could end up affecting you in the long term. For instance, if the other dentist is reluctant in using new management tools and refuses to budge, then the inefficiencies this might cause might frustrate you and put you off the business. Know that you’ll have to make compromises, or you may find out that the person sitting at the other end of the table is much more rigid than you imagined.
Pro – Shared Costs
One of the biggest benefits of partnering up is that you will now be sharing costs. This means that equipment leases will now be split, as well as the lease on the property. These are all things that could help you breathe a little better. Dental offices have to spend a lot of money on training employees and technology. You may need to spend money on your IT infrastructure and people to manage it. You may have to spend on new tools like intraoral cameras or air abrasion technology. These are all things that will increase your overheads and that can be alleviated by teaming up with a partner.
Con – Communication Issues
Having a partner also means that there is one more person that needs to be informed of every important decision that involves the practice. As a matter of fact, there are very few decisions that you’ll be able to make without them if you’re equal partners.
This means that you will now have to set scheduled meetings to make sure that you cover everything that’s going on with the practice. Your employees must see that you’re moving as a united front to avoid confusion and boost retention rates.
Pro – Management
Most dentists would rather deal with patients than manage a practice. When you bring a partner in, management responsibilities are split, so you won’t have to spend so much time on it. You might also be able to hire a manager for your practice if it gets more profitable. This will allow you to concentrate on your craft and leave the management to a pro.
Con – Agreements
One of the things you need to be careful with is your dental partnership agreement. You have to make sure that it covers all situations. This is very important since dissolving a partnership can get costly. You have to make sure that you work with an attorney and review every aspect of the agreement so that you don’t miss anything. You have to make sure that it’s advantageous to both of you and includes provisions in case one of you wants to go separate ways. This will be essential if you want to continue your business with no interruption in case you decide to not work with a partner anymore.
Choosing whether you should stay solo or work with someone else is not an easy decision to make. However, when you know all the benefits and drawbacks, it becomes much easier.