Why work for a dental group rather than an independent practice as a dentist?
In today’s venture capital-esque world, large corporate groups are some of the most prestigious and influential factions that dominate the scene. As the UK economy continues to flatline, more and more industries have been faced with the choice to go head to head with these corporate giants. Restaurants, convenience stores, and local grocery centres have all been challenged to take on the rival role against these high-rank corporations. However, they often fall short.
In healthcare, determining a clear-cut winner between corporate juggernauts and private practices is often veiled with a vague distinction. Such is also the case with local dental practices that are privately owned as opposed to corporate dental firms. In recent years, corporate dental clinics are increasing their slice in the market with many widely accessible in big cities and metropolitan areas around the country.
In fact, according to specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co’s Dental Market Review 2019, corporates account for around 13% of the total number of dental practices in the UK; this purported percentile supposed to have immensely grown ever since. While this tug-of-war between corporates and independent dentists continues to disfigure the market, more and more younger dentists are now increasingly being drawn to seek job opportunities in a conglomerate or large network.
This begs the question as to what the key differences are between the corporate dental clinics and private practices owned by local dentists. Here we provide parabolic reasons to support the former and to prompt you in the direction of joining a dental group that employs a larger roster of practitioners!
DENTAL FRANCHISE VS INDEPENDENT PRACTICE
The expansion of corporate dentistry has allowed an increased number of individuals in the dental arena to divulge their interest in multi-jointed franchises that offer big promises and even bigger paychecks. Although there has been a running discourse about the benefits of joining corporates over private practices, there is much to know about what’s really at stake for private owners. Additionally, how well do they compare against these powerful dental giants?
Let’s first delve into the essence of these two polarising groups. As the name suggests, independent practices are private clinics owned by the dentist who runs them. In fact, individuals who may be employed by these private practices may also qualify to suit up as co-owners, if necessary. Private practices tend to operate like a tight-knit family, paving the way for communication and growth with other colleagues.
On the other hand, while most individual or small group practices legally count as ‘corporations’, the term corporate dentistry has come to colloquially justify either a multi-location or multi-doctor dental practice. These dental franchises are owned and operated by an overhead managing company or several investors, and may often be referred to as Dental Service Organisations (DSOs), in which case the patient or practitioner may recognise the company, particularly through a common brand name spread across various practice locations.
WHY YOU SHOULD WORK FOR A DENTAL CORPORATION?
Working for corporates can be a rewarding and interesting career option, according to a small group of associates who have provided feedback on their experience to the BDA. Since these larger cooperations have swiftly branched out, they’ve worked hard to put good systems in place that benefit the people in power, the employees and their patients.
Some of the advantages of joining a large dental group over an independent dental practice are as follows:
Help with administrative responsibilities
In private practice, you’re involved in the entire process of running a dental practice, especially as you gain more experience. This means that as a dentist, you are included in the operations entitled to hiring and firing, staff training, appointment scheduling, marketing, and other administrative tasks in addition to performing your dentistry-related duties. Not only are you consistently distracted from your day-to-day dental chores, but you’ll also be regularly responsible for making many important and intimidating decisions at a high level.
On the flip side, at a dental franchise, a management company handles all of these administrative tasks and makes the hard-pressed decisions for you. Other staff members are delegated with tasks such as compliance, human resources, accounting, billing and collecting, payroll, HR, recruiting, marketing, rent and overhead, and patient scheduling.
Furthermore, the management company also provides support for the purchase of supplies, equipment, and technology, property management and maintenance, insurance, and the negotiation and payment of laboratory services. This allows you, the dentist, to fully turn your focus on your patients and in executing your dental care responsibilities.
Consistent pay and benefits
One of the most palpable shortcomings of solo dental practices is the lack of medical insurance and additional benefits for the employees that often pose a difficulty in the business and personal achievements of these private dental practices. Although some dental practices may offer fractional benefits, it is less common for private practices to provide their employees with a comprehensive benefits package.
Benefits such as health insurance can play a vital role in your life, especially if you’ve got astronomical student loans to pay off. This is where joining a dental franchise can make all the difference for you. You can expect a massive financial windfall if you choose to work for a dental group. This is because, typically, corporate practices provide you with consistent pay along with a higher initial salary, benefits, and a bonus package.
A higher income is almost guaranteed with corporate practices as opposed to private practices where the money coming in may also be invested for a number of administrative purposes. You’ll also be able to avail yourself of benefits such as medical insurance, short-term disability, and paid time off if you work for corporate practices, which can significantly help build your financial independence.
Compatible and flexible work schedule
In the congested work environment depicted by private practices, you’re suddenly presented with more duties and increased responsibility to stick to a tight schedule. If you’re constantly burdened with all sorts of chores – both administrative and clinical – you might end up fighting just to stay afloat. This can make it difficult for you to request time off or increased guilt when it comes to asking for leave due to sickness or personal reasons. At this rate, you’re quickly heading into the claws of work burnout.
Having a larger team allows for team members to have the ability to take time off whenever needed. At larger dental franchises, you’re able to take leave in order to deal with priorities outside of the practice, without handicapping the entire office and the workflow. These regular business hours of corporate practices allow for a healthy work-life balance, with reduced stress and the continued ability to provide top-notch services to the patient, even when a team member is unavailable.
In addition, dental franchises also provide the option to move between practices, cities, and locations – flexibility that most private practices simply can’t contest.
Avenues for skill advancement
Corporate dental groups are also known to invest a significant amount of money into continuing education and skill advancement. This means that their employees are continually pushed to improve their skills and knowledge, thus leading the business into better productivity and eventually, increased profit.
Compared to local dental practices, corporates have a larger arsenal of technology, resources, and marketing budgets that they are willing to spend on upgrading existing technology and marketing features to attract more patients. Thus, as a result, this creates a large network of highly educated dental care professionals who are upskilled to discuss complex patient care.
Private practices are usually not focused heavily on the number of new patients they tend to. Instead, they focus on providing existing patients with the most comprehensive treatment possible and building a devoted audience for their business. In comparison, the operations taken on by dental corporates resemble that of an assembly line – they give the patient assistance and then simply move on to the next patient.
This strategy however impersonal is very time efficient and at the end of the day is profitable to keep the doors open for these DSOs. Since the corporate dental world is centred around playing “the numbers game”, they are able to bring in more patients and more business to their practice because of enticingly affordable prices and quick treatment processes.
Opportunities for career growth
A major selling point for dental franchises is that they offer a multitude of opportunities for consistent career growth. The potential for growing and developing one’s career portfolio is great in large dental groups as you are offered options in various different departments inside the organization.
On the contrary, there is a lack of forward, internal movement in private practice. If you’re a lead dentist or co-owner of the dental practice, you’ve already established yourself to be at the top of the practice’s food chain, hence giving you little to no room for growth.
Although there is much to consider when deciding between joining a local dental practice or a large corporate body, you must keep in mind the various benefits of joining a dental group to further your career as a professional dentist. If you are looking for or interested in pursuing a career in a corporate dental group; Dental Partners are recruiting. “We are committed to creating the Best Place to Work for our colleagues which in turn leads to the best patient care. We become ‘The Best Place to Work’ by finding the best talent, engaging and empowering our colleagues and creating great teams.
Apply today on Dental Talent and take active steps towards your career in Dentistry!