The solution to this problem may be entering into a partnership with another dentist. Partnership can be a great opportunity for owner dentists to share responsibilities, give the freedom to take additional time off and create a structured plan for your retirement. Finding the right person to partner with is a very important part of this process, but there must also be a documented plan for building and maintaining this relationship.

In my experience as a dental recruiter, I often run across Associates who have spent several years working as a successful member of a group practice but left disappointed because they were offered the opportunity to buy-in to the practice only after they played a significant role in growing the practice to its current size. When this happens, the owner loses a valuable member of the team and the Associate often becomes discouraged and skeptical about joining another practice.

The key to avoiding this as an owner dentist is to have a detailed, documented plan in place when you hire the Associate. This process is not limited to, but should include:

· Having an appraisal done prior to the Associate joining the practice

· Documenting the payment terms and timeline for the buy-in

· Helping the Associate build their patient base as they are starting out

· Establishing your goals and timeline for retirement up-front

· Discussing management styles and clinical philosophies before you hire him/her

· Being an effective communicator

· Understanding the Associate’s personal and professional goals

Establishing a partnership is not an easy thing to do, but the hard work will definitely be worth it as it can allow you to share some of the burdens associated with managing and running a business and significantly reduce the stress of ownership. With this freedom you can enjoy more quality time with family and relax knowing that you have a plan for the future.

Written by Marcia Patterson, Dental Recruiter at ETS Dental. You can reach Marcia at (540) 491-9118 or Find out more at

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