Residents’ Skewed View of the Orthodontic Industry

Chris Bentson had the opportunity to spend some extended time with the first and second year residents attending two Mid-western programs a while back. Prior to the visit, he requested each resident complete a basic questionnaire regarding general information for U.S. orthodontic practices. Here is a list of the resident questions:

1. Approximately how many private orthodontic practices exist in the U.S.?
2. What is the average annual collections of a single doctor practice in the U.S.?
3. What is the average overhead of a private practice in the U.S.?
4. What percentage of practices in the U.S. are using Invisalign?
5. Name a ratio of revenue of collections per full time employee in the orthodontic industry.
6. Name some common rules of thumb used to express a practice value.
7. How much money will a lender loan to purchase or start-up a practice?
8. What are the expectations of income for a first year, full-time associate?
9. Would you consider using a practice management consultant in the first two years of practice ownership or start-up? Why or why not?
10. Name some considerations that need to be examined when considering a long term partnership.

It was fun to compare the residents’ responses before and after the presentation. Chris compiled answers to all the questions given prior to the lecture. Using the extreme answers, below is a radical, fictional description of the U.S Orthodontic market from the mouths of residents:

There are 1,000 practices in the U.S., having average annual collections of $300,000 and an overhead of 75%. One-hundred percent of the practices in the U.S. currently use Invisalign. The average revenue per employee is approximately $50,000, and I’m planning to employ six employees in my practice that grosses $300,000 per year. I will pay about 30% of annual collections to purchase an orthodontic practice. A lender will loan up to $2,000,000, and I expect to take home $250,000 within my first year of practice. I would consider hiring a consultant because they only cost about $100 per day and probably have some good ideas. If I go into a partnership arrangement, my biggest concern is tracking vacation time.

Obviously everyone in the orthodontic industry has a lot of work to do when it comes to residents’ knowledge of the industry.

On the Road Again…Traveling to Tucson

The fall meeting schedule has been in full swing for the Bentson Clark & Copple team! We are once again packing our bags, putting together our marketing materials and reviewing our PowerPoint presentation for the upcoming OrthoSynetics’ 2012 Practice Meeting. We are honored to be invited to participate and can’t wait to finally get there!

We are extremely excited about the 1950’s themed Friday Night Sock Hop. We have heard through the grapevine that Chris Bentson will be rocking a leather jacket, white t-shirt and loafers at the event. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled (and snap a photo). The evening’s entertainment will include a performance from Shanana from the movie Grease! That should be a treat for all.

There will be a wide variety of speakers featured presenting on a diverse array of topics. We always enjoy speaking alongside industry leaders including Dr. Ben Burris, Dr. Mark Coreil, Dr. Jack Devereux (along with many others) and the wonderful OrthoSynetics team. Chris Bentson is scheduled to speak on Saturday, October 20 at 10am. Below are the details regarding his lecture.

Today’s Orthodontic Marketplace and How It Will Shape Tomorrow
Saturday, October 20 @ 10:00am
This presentation examines the economic state, current trends and existing benchmarks of the orthodontic marketplace and how these factors will affect today’s orthodontists and impact the future of the industry. The following areas will be discussed in detail:
• Current consumer and business owner behavior
• Operational and financial benchmarks
• Overhead standards
• Current trends: cause and effect

Upcoming AAO-Sponsored Orthodontic Resident Webinars

Bentson Clark & Copple is honored to participate in the AAO’s The Business of Orthodontics Webinar Series. This 10-part educational webinar series is directed toward today’s orthodontic resident community. The webinars began in September and will continue through April 2013. The series covers topics from starting/purchasing a practice to selling/retiring from practice, and everything in between. The webinars will be presented by a variety of industry insiders and consultants.

Chris Bentson will be presenting his first webinar (out of three that are scheduled) on October 9 at 8:15 PM EST/5:15 PM PST, and will last 75 minutes. There will be allocated time at the end for a question and answer session. The title of his lecture is Path to Ownership, Partnership, or Associateship.

For residents, understanding the options for employment, how to find them, and what to review when you do find them is extremely important. This webinar will be directed primarily with an orientation to the process of how buyers and sellers or employers for orthodontic opportunities happen. A review of the current market conditions and review of the timeline, expense, and materials needed to review an opportunity will be discussed. Current valuation methodology and a high-level overview of the operational and financial metrics that should be reviewed will be covered as well as associate pay, and cash flow pro-formas. Partnership methods of buying in will also be discussed.

This webinar series is free for all residents. It is funded by the AAO with the generous support of the AAO Insurance Company (AAOIC). For more information please contact the AAO.

Bentson Clark & Copple Announces Upcoming Speaking Schedule

The Bentson Clark & Copple team have a busy upcoming fall schedule. We always enjoy the opportunity to speak at orthodontic society meetings, study clubs, orthodontic schools, and resident functions. This fall we have been provided numerous opportunities to do so! Chris Bentson will be crisscrossing the country presenting to the orthodontic community.

Some of Chris’ presentation will be solely directed towards the orthodontic resident community, while others are targeted toward the general orthodontic doctor population. He will be speaking on a number of topics including, but not limited to: locating a practice opportunity, today’s orthodontic marketplace, orthodontic trends, practice transition (from both buyers’ and sellers’ perspectives), practice valuation, and the future of the orthodontic industry.

Below is a list of Bentson Clark & Copple’s upcoming speaking and exhibiting schedule.

September 20-23, 2012
Middle Atlantic Society of Orthodontists (MASO) Annual Session
Baltimore Hilton
Baltimore, MD
Booth # 405
Doctor Lecture: Benchmarking the Orthodontic Practice
Resident Lecture: The Process of Locating a Practice to Build, Join, Partner or Purchase

September 27-29, 2012
Southern Association of Orthodontists (SAO) 2012 Annual Meeting
Grove Park Inn
Ashville, NC
Booth # 605
Doctor Lecture: Today’s Orthodontic Practice & Marketplace
Resident Lecture: How to Locate a Practice Opportunity

October 9, 2012
AAO Sponsored Resident Webinar
Resident Webinar: Path to Ownership, Partnership or Associateship

October 11-13, 2012
OrthoVoice 2012
Bally’s Hotel
Las Vegas, NV
Booth # 311
Practice Transition Panel Discussion

October 18-20, 2012
OrthoSynetics’ 2012 Practice Meeting
Loews Ventana Canyon
Tucson, AZ
Doctor Lecture: Today’s Orthodontic Marketplace and How It Will Shape Tomorrow

October 25, 2012
TP Orthodontics Resident Presentation
TP Orthodontics Headquarters
La Porte, IN
Resident Presentation: The Resident Pathway to Future Practice Ownership

Be sure to attend one of Chris Bentson’s lectures, visit our booth (if we are exhibiting at that particular meeting) and pick up of the most recent copy of the Bentson Clark reSource!

Dentistry Going Corporate

There was an interesting article featured in the April 9, 2012 issue of the ADA News.  The cover story, “ADA Explores Growth of Large Group Practices” caught my eye. The article sites a recent study conducted by the Health Policy Resources Center of the American Dental Association (ADA), which concludes that the rate of solo practitioners is falling. In 2010, 69% of dentists were solo practitioners compared to 76% in 2006.

Certain states and areas of the country are experiencing the expansion at a faster rate than others. For example, the Minnesota Dental Association reports more than 12% of dentists in the state are employed in large group practices.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) surveyed new graduates in 2009 and 2011 and found that 16% of respondents are practicing in a non-traditional setting, defined as either an interdisciplinary practice or a practice where they are employees or independent contractors. Chris Vranas, AAO Executive Director says, “Overall our membership is still at 69% in solo practice, 16% in partnerships, 6% in associateships, 4% interdisciplinary practice and 5% in large corporate practice.

We ask the question – what is driving the trend? The ADA article references educational debt of young doctors and the growth of Dental Service Organizations who need employee doctors to grow.

This trend of dentistry going corporate is something Bentson Clark & Copple has been watching for several years and one that you may have noticed in your drawing area. It will take some time to have a major impact, but understanding this trend will help you as you think strategically about your brand and identity as you communicate with new patients and referrals.

To learn more about the trends of today’s orthodontic residents, check out Bentson Clark & Copple’s 2011 Annual Residents Survey Results.

Dental Practice Management Firm Shares Tips on Finding the Right Partner

The most important decision for many orthodontists after buying an orthodontic practice is finding a partner to share the workload in a growing business. Bentson Clark & Copple specialize in dental practice management, and are experts in matching orthodontists for the best fit when entering a practice.

Doctors from across the United States approach the firm when they have an orthodontic practice for sale. The American Association of Orthodontists can also provide seekers with a wide range of practice opportunities.

Shannon Patterson, Director of Practice Opportunities at Bentson Clark & Copple, oversees the orthodontic resident and selling doctor matching database, a matching assistance program focused on assisting doctors in finding opportunities based on their geographical location and personal preferences.

Patterson, who gives consultation on buying an orthodontic practice, now advises that there are four main factors to remember when looking for a future partner.

1. Have your office undergo a practice valuation
Generally it is ill advised for orthodontists seeking a future equity interest to join a practice that does not have a comprehensive practice valuation. A written practice valuation allows for complete transparency of the financial and operational health of the business. It also gives selling orthodontists a specific idea of what their practice is worth. Make sure the practice is financially ready to take on a partner and has a plan for adding another doctor.

2. Get the word out
Contact orthodontic training programs or individuals in the military to help determine if any interest exists for your practice. Try every possible approach to identifying potential associates/buyers, which may include advertising in industry journals. Bentson Clark & Copple also maintains a well-developed database of orthodontic residents, military personnel, and practicing orthodontists interested in relocating and purchasing a practice. Consider registering for the AAO Practice Opportunities JobBank, a fully automated, secure website that is ideal for doctors who are seeking to add a partner or transition a practice.

3. Personal visit
Once the selection pool has been vetted to a couple of qualified doctors, meet with the candidates one-on-one. Invite the potential orthodontist(s) to visit the practice. If you are comfortable with allowing your staff to be involved in the process, include them. If not, simply plan to meet with them and their spouse outside office hours over dinner and then visit the practice.

4. Consider all the details
Be willing to invest enough in the importance of this transaction to seek the advice of knowledgeable legal and financial professionals that specialize in practice transition. Do not have a potential associate/partner enter your practice merely on a handshake. Become as knowledgeable with the transition process as possible.

Remembering these tips will ensure a good doctor/ practice relationship has been formed and new doctors will merge seamlessly into the practice with the staff. Following these guidelines will ensure doctors help their practice by finding the best candidate that will continue to make the practice profitable and successful.

Call today to learn more about orthodontic practice sales or to receive a free 30-minute consultation.

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