Hiring An Associate Or Getting Married?

So you’re getting married… Or maybe just hiring an associate.  What we’ve found when adding doctors to a practice is there’s much more involved than just placing an ad, shaking hands with a few doctors, and picking “the one”.  Adding an associate doctor is a lot like getting married.  It’s a long term relationship with serious consequences.  Have you taken all the necessary steps to measure and prepare your practice before saying “I do”?

  • Do you have the necessary patient flow to accommodate another provider?
  • Do you get the right number of new patients to grow the practice with another doctor?
  • What is your marketing and communication strategy to integrate the new doctor?
  • What staffing changes and additions are you planning to make?
  • Will you need to change the hours the practice is open?
  • Do you know what is the financial impact to the practice by adding a doctor?
  • Are you looking to bring on a partner, or just an employee?
  • What is the compensation structure and policy for lab, remakes, and refunds?
  • What treatment will you keep on your schedule?  What will be done by the associate?
  • How many overdue patients are there in the practice?
  • How do you plan to get the new doctor credentialed in a timely manner?
  • Are you paying a recruitment agency?
  • What happens if the doctor doesn’t work out?
  • What type of experience level are you willing to hire?
  • Will you provide benefits, CE, vacation, holidays?
  • How will you draw up the contract for employment?
  • What will the non-compete clause look like?


After all of these questions have been answered, many dentists are left wondering if this relationship is even worth it.  Or even worse, “what happens if this marriage ends in divorce?”  What we have found is the practice makes the associate, not the associate making the practice.  Proper systems, clinical policies, leadership, patient flow, marketing, and a well-though out strategy are critical to a successful associate integration.  Contact us for a complimentary practice analysis.  We’ll make sure everything looks good before you go out and buy the wedding ring.