Plan the Exit Right for You

April 13, 2020 Drs. Christina & Bill Blatchford

More than 31% of solo practicing dentists today are 55 years or older. Since most dentists have traditionally retired between 60 and 69, retirement is a “hot” topic.

Future Financial Need

Goal setters who have planned for retirement since the beginning have accumulated five times what a non-planner has saved. Yet, baby boomers (now mid 60’s to 70’s) have reinvented each phase of their lives, never matching what has been customary. An ADA survey indicates dentists save 10.6% of their income which is below the federal limit of 15% contributions to a qualified pension fund.

Financial advisors think you will need from 70 to 90% of your current net income in retirement. The average dental net in 2019 was nearly $200K. In retirement planning, eighty percent of that is $160K, which is $13,350 a month. If you retire at age 60 and live another thirty years, you will need $4.8M from interest and savings.

Retirement Choices for Today’s Boomers

The figures are staggering for the slightly unprepared. What are the choices for today’s boomer dentist? Sale? Partnership? Associateship? Retire as you go? Or, will you up your game plan for 5 more years? Let’s investigate.

Sale: A sale is currently worth about 24 months of net income which is then taxed. Beware. A sale is final. You are no longer a dentist in that location. There is no going back. The book is closed.

Partnership: Partnerships in retirement have their own pros and cons. By reviewing what motivated you to enter the profession, you may find independence and freedom on your list. Selling half your practice to an unknown partner means you have surrendered your freedom and half your net income in exchange for about nine months of net income. The staff will still look to you for leadership.

Associateship: Becoming an associate after thirty years of private practice could be successful if you have the qualities to be an employee. Will you be happy doing dentistry for someone else? Do you have the qualities to be a team player under someone else’s leadership and rules?

Continue Your Own Practice by Retiring as You Go: Continuing to practice beyond the average retirement age is a viable alternative. The real advantages to keeping your own practice viable are the continued net income, ability to deduct expenses such as continuing education and a leased car, and the psychological rewards of feeling needed, serving others, and your earned status in the community.

Continuing your own practice can be done on your own terms. You can design your ideal practice days, plan your continuing education around travel adventures, and attract staff to work your schedule. You may want to work three days a week for three weeks and take the fourth week off. If you can continue to work on your own terms and have a substantial income that does not require using your retirement funds until you choose, count the advantages and your blessings.

Continue Your Own Practice by Upping Your Game: Another viable choice is to “Up Your Game” and actually make an extra $2M by increasing net in a five-year plan. This can cause a $900K increase in the eventual sale price. We have a number of very pleased retired dentists who upped their game in their 60’s. They can’t believe how much more enjoyable practice is again.

Upping your game means increasing your dental skills and your treatment offerings, installing strong systems of block booking to produce more in fewer days, solid sales conversations for an increased level of patient care, and having an accountable accomplished team marching with you. Because you have upped your skills and are focused, you can actually take more time away as you increase your net. 

Which Choice Is Right for You?

Examine your financial needs. Examine why you enjoy dental practice? Examine your options and spend time thinking about which retirement option feels most comfortable to you. We can help. Many of our clients have chosen to stay part of dentistry, and we have observed that when dentists keep up with continuing education and become skilled at working with new materials and techniques, they gain more than an enhanced income stream. They feel a rebirth and rejuvenation about their profession.

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About Author

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Drs. Christina & Bill Blatchford

Dr. Christina Blatchford is a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, School of Dentistry and has her doctorate degree in medical dentistry. She practices family and general dentistry in Milwaukee, OR. With her father, Dr. Bill Blatchford, she is Co-CEO of Blatchford Solutions, coaching a maximum of 50 dentists each year to reach their goals. Bill has written two books: Playing You ‘A’ Game – Inspirational Coaching to Profitability and Blatchford Blueprints: The Art of Creating Dental Practice Success. He also writes a monthly column for Dental Economics, “Flourishing in Changing Times.” You may call 888-977-4600 to receive a free copy of their latest book, Seven Principles of Highly Profitable Dentists.

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Bringing Your Efficiency

January 9, 2020 Drs. Christina & Bill Blatchford

Being efficient with your time increases profitability. 

Life is busy and everyone is trying to find a better balance between work and time off. If you could produce the same amount of dentistry in three days as you did in four, how would your team react?

Efficiency is a mindset and can become part of your practice culture. Producing more in less time does not mean running around like chickens or being hasty with patients. We can learn the art of using time better for our patients. Focusing on the conversation rather then multi-tasking is one example. Being prepared is the Boy Scout motto and fits perfectly here. Most patients would prefer fewer visits to your office.

Being prepared for any possibility allows your team to feel confident.

Having enough tray set-ups for any opportunity that presents itself is a start towards efficiency. Having a team completely cross-trained allows the team members to shine by being prepared and results in greater efficiency.

More time is created when the practice culture is to offer a complete exam on patientsWhen there is a comprehensive plan, this moves a practice beyond patching and emergency care. There is a reason why patients come to you, and most want to know you have a plan for themAlong with this, at the end of every appointment, team members need to ask the doctor, “Is there anything else we can do at the next appointment?” It is a signal to thdoctor to maximize every appointment. 

Combining treatments can be a measure of efficiency.

Always combine crown prep and endo, or any other treatment. If there are fillings and a crown, do the fillings first as you will complete the crown prep in the allotted time. This works well with CAD/CAM as there is downtime available during milling and baking time.

In Hygiene, collect the fee at the time of service. “Yikes,” say the hygienists, “We’ve never done that before.” Patients love it, and once the hygienists do it, they like the connection, too. This eliminates the line at the front desk and allows more concentration on phone conversations.

Follow Nordstrom and Apple examples. Clinically, encourage hygienists to do full mouth debridement at one appointment.  It saves the patient time, and the result is a healthier mouth.

Become completely paperless.

Operating two systems is a waste of time.  New patient forms are on your websites, and all patient records are digital. To be paperless, just start one day at a time, and don’t waste time putting people in digital who have not been in yet.

Efficiency starts over the phone by asking questions to eliminate the 30-minute “look-see” emergency appointment. With the patient records on your computer, ask, Is this broken tooth one the doctor had already recommended for a crown?” From the records, ask if there are any other previously diagnosed teeth in the same quadrant needing treatmentAsk, “Would you like to have all three of these taken care of at the same time? I can make arrangements for that.”

The team is accountable for an efficient schedule.

Phone training is a big part of making days efficient and profitable. You can save a lot of time for the doctor and patient, practicing phone scripts for different scenarios that occur in your office on a regular basis.

Timing your procedures is a great way to evaluate your efficiency. We can learn great lessons from efficient assistants. We call this Ruth’s Rule as a tribute to one of those fine assistantsUse one bur or instrument, do what you need to do, and then move on. That bur does not appear again for that patient.

Efficient scheduling in blocks has a profound effect on efficiency and profit. 

For example, booking alike procedures at the same time eliminates the team having to shift gears both mentally and physically. Blocks of two hours with a production goal forces the team to focus on better scheduling.

For example, if your goal for each two-hour block is $3kdon’t schedule “look-see” appointments during this time. When you produce $6k in the morning, you are on track to efficiency and more time away from the office to rejuvenate.

Drs. Blatchford are America’s leading dental business coaches. Their book, Bringing Your ‘A’ Game 2.0 is now available at Blatchford.com (888) 977-4600. Blatchford Coaching results in less patient contact days, greater net, more focus on what is important to you.  

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About Author

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Drs. Christina & Bill Blatchford

Dr. Christina Blatchford is a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, School of Dentistry and has her doctorate degree in medical dentistry. She practices family and general dentistry in Milwaukee, OR. With her father, Dr. Bill Blatchford, she is Co-CEO of Blatchford Solutions, coaching a maximum of 50 dentists each year to reach their goals. Bill has written two books: Playing You ‘A’ Game – Inspirational Coaching to Profitability and Blatchford Blueprints: The Art of Creating Dental Practice Success. He also writes a monthly column for Dental Economics, “Flourishing in Changing Times.” You may call 888-977-4600 to receive a free copy of their latest book, Seven Principles of Highly Profitable Dentists.

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Your Commitment to Profitability

October 21, 2019 Drs. Christina & Bill Blatchford

Dental graduates frequently say they chose dentistry because they liked science and working with their hands. Many thought medicine was their path, but in medicine, they saw the lack of control and time away from family. Dental graduates also say they were attracted to dentistry due to the monetary return they could get for their efforts.

When practicing, profitability can be elusive. You can feel like your child’s hamster trying to outrun your overhead. You can feel like dentistry is #1 in your life and there really is no other life for you, but you are frustrated because your dream was to be farther along in your debt reduction and wealth growing. You are putting in the hours but not receiving the return.

Many things and decisions can get in the way of profits.

We want to convey positivity here, not rehash the problems. You can have a profitable practice. A larger net return can be yours.

Let’s have a frank discussion about you, the leader, THE one who wants very much to win in the game of profitability. The keys to profitability involve YOU–your attitude, your team’s attitude which comes from you, and systems you need in place to be more efficient.

YOU are the key to opening the profitability gate. What is your current attitude about life, your success, and your situation? This is a challenge as you are slightly prejudiced. Do you have a family member or a really good friend who can assess your attitude (your positivity about yourself)? Years of negativity can be a challenge.

How do you feel about the future?

Here are some questions to help assess your present attitude about yourself:

  • What are your goals five years from now?
  • What are you looking forward to?
  • What do you want most out of life?
  • What do you like best about yourself?
  • What do you feel motivates you?
  • Do you have any personal power in your life?

At Blatchford Solutions, when we work with dentists and teams, we ask them to assess various life choices, such as the place they choose to live, and the friends, marriage partners, courses and schools they choose, even cars, vacations, restaurants and more. We all have a Comfort Zone for each of these areas and when pushed out of your comfort zone, you reply, “I would never go there, do that, try that, spend time on that”, and more. Our comfort zones have a floor and a ceiling.

You need to know if your “Deserve Level” allows you to be profitable. You can sabotage your success if you feel you deserve less. You can modify your Comfort Zone (Deserve Level) with a clear vision, strong determination and possibly some outside help.

What is profitability to you?

Put some numbers down; spell it out for yourself at this time. Is a net of $500K unreasonable for you? Do you deserve to have 60% overhead on $1.2M collection? Is a net of $750K unreasonable for you? Is a net of $1M something you deserve? Do you deserve to be debt-free? What would change in your life if you were debt-free?

Your Deserve Level also affects the quality of team members with whom you choose to work, the building and area in which you choose to practice, the continuing education courses you take, and so many non-dental activities, too. Our goal is to help you realize you can be as profitable as you feel you deserve. Dentistry is not just about your clinical excellence. It can also be about your excellence in the business of profitability.

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About Author

User Image
Drs. Christina & Bill Blatchford

Dr. Christina Blatchford is a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, School of Dentistry and has her doctorate degree in medical dentistry. She practices family and general dentistry in Milwaukee, OR. With her father, Dr. Bill Blatchford, she is Co-CEO of Blatchford Solutions, coaching a maximum of 50 dentists each year to reach their goals. Bill has written two books: Playing You ‘A’ Game – Inspirational Coaching to Profitability and Blatchford Blueprints: The Art of Creating Dental Practice Success. He also writes a monthly column for Dental Economics, “Flourishing in Changing Times.” You may call 888-977-4600 to receive a free copy of their latest book, Seven Principles of Highly Profitable Dentists.

FIND A PANKEY DENTIST OR TECHNICIAN

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I AM INTERESTED IN

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