Making the Decision Between a Partner and an Associate

Expanding your practice may be a pivotal point in your career. One crucial decision you’ll face is whether to take on a partner or hire an associate. Both options have their own advantages and considerations, making it essential to evaluate which path aligns best with your long-term goals. We can help you decide with our insights based on the experience of consulting and managing dozens upon dozens of offices — but you can begin with this overarching article below. Then you can reach out — we are here!

We are often asked the question: “Should I take on a partner or hire an associate for my dental practice?” Ultimately, our advice and your eventual decision depends on various factors that are specific to your circumstances and goals.

Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Ownership timeline: How long you intend to continue practicing. Do you envision working for several more years while expanding and/or growing the practice, or are you more interested in maintaining sole ownership and control with a sale in the immediate future?
  2. Financial implications: Taking on a partner means sharing ownership, profits, and expenses, whereas an associate would be an employee on a percentage of collections arrangement. Assess your financial situation, including the potential costs and benefits of each option.
  3. Workload and responsibilities: Determine whether you would benefit from sharing the workload and responsibilities of running the practice. A partner can contribute to management tasks, marketing efforts, and overall practice growth. Alternatively, an associate can help alleviate your patient load and allow for more work-life balance.
  4. Skill set and expertise: Consider your own strengths and weaknesses and identify areas where you may benefit from additional expertise. A partner can bring complementary skills and knowledge to the table, whereas an associate may primarily provide additional clinical support.
  5. Compatibility and trust: In a partnership, it’s crucial to find someone who shares your values, work ethic, and vision for the practice. Trust and effective communication are vital for a successful partnership. With an associate, you’ll need to focus on finding a reliable and skilled professional who fits well within your practice culture.
  6. Effect on future sale: If you are contemplating a sale to a Dental Service Organization (DSO), bringing in a younger partner may limit your ability to sell to a DSO, whereas hiring an associate may increase the desirability of your practice.
  7. Legal and contractual considerations: Consult with professionals who specialize in dental practice sales as well as partnership agreements and/or associate contracts to understand the legal implications, costs and requirements for forming a partnership or hiring an associate.

It is advisable to seek guidance from professionals like attorneys, accountants, and dental practice consultants who can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.

Take your dental practice to the next level with Perform DDS. Our experienced dental consultants understand the unique challenges and opportunities associated with partnerships and hiring associates, and we can provide you with tailored strategies to attract new patients, build your brand, and maximize practice growth. Contact us today at (949) 232-4788. For more dental marketing tips and advice, follow us on Instagram!

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