A practice is a business. This is becoming more apparent to dentists every day. A practice is made up of an office, a doctor, a staff and patients. A practice brings in income, pays expenses and (hopefully) makes a profit. Income must exceed expenses to make a profit. A practice must be profitable to stay in business, etc., etc., etc.

Overhead expenses for the average dental practice will run about sixty percent of gross income (+ - 10%). That leaves forty percent to be paid to the doctor for providing dental services. This is the 60/40 overhead rule, and it applies to most practices. For most practices, this forty percent of gross income represents doctor compensation, not “profit.”

A “profit” is made when you deduct the cost of paying doctor compensation (for providing dental services). If there is money left over, then you have created a profit. If you deduct the cost of hiring an outside dentist to do the dental work, in most practices there will be little profit, if any at all. Therefore, it is safe to say that most practices are not profitable. They merely provide an opportunity for a dentist to be fairly compensated for providing dental services.

During their early years in practice, most dentists will work five days a week to build a practice. There is overhead five days a week, and the doctor works five days a week. Thus, a balance is maintained between overhead and workdays. Some doctors will say they only work four-and-a-half days, but then you find that most of them are still in the office on the afternoon of the half-day, writing checks, making patient calls, seeing emergencies, etc. They do work five days a week, but as long as patients are not scheduled on that afternoon, they convince themselves that they are only working four-and-a-half days per week.

Now, let’s go back to the 60/40 overhead rule we mentioned above. If office overhead averages 60% using a five-day a work week, then the income from the first three days pays the overhead expenses of the practice, and the revenue from the last two days represents doctor compensation. That’s how it works for most practices where the doctor works five days a week.

As the years go by, the doctor’s income needs tend to lessen, and quality of life considerations come into play. Education and equipment loans are paid; money gets set aside for the children's education, the home mortgage gets paid off, etc. This is when most doctors decide to cut their workdays back to four days a week instead of five.

Working four days a week sounds great. However, that causes problems, not solutions. Think about it. The rent, utilities, telephone, staff salaries, payroll taxes, etc. are all five-day expenses. These costs don’t drop or become less if the doctor works four days a week. If the first three days of income pays the overhead expenses, then the last two days provides the doctor compensation. When the doctor cuts back to four days a week, he/she is not cutting out an overhead day; he/she is cutting out a doctor compensation day. Thus, one of two net income days is cut out, or fifty percent of the doctor’s net compensation.

It does not make sense to cut personal income by fifty percent, but doctors do this all the time. Every doctor has five days a week of overhead expenses. Working five days a week is fine, but unnecessary. If you are working four days a week, then you are losing a great deal of money, but perhaps your income needs are less than they once were and you haven’t noticed it. Regardless, it costs you a lot of money.

There is something you can do about it, however, and you need to do it before you lose too many patients (because of less accessibility) and too much money from paying five days of overhead out of the income from a four-day workweek. It will require some changes in your lifestyle, but we have found that dentists can get used to anything. Are you ready for the answer?

We want you to commit to making more money than you are currently making and we want you to do it by working three days a week instead of four. That’s right; we want you to work three days a week if your practice has the potential to support this program.

AFTCO will need to evaluate your facility, staff and patient base. If your practice has what it takes for this program, then all we will need is a commitment from you to be willing to work less time in the practice... and make more money than you are making now! Oh yes, one other thing, you will have twenty-six weeks of vacation time every year for the remaining years you wish to practice, and you will still make more money than you are now making.

AFTCO developed this program for the dentists who have decided that they are ready to work less time in the office and still make more money. This is for the dentist who feels that there should be a payoff for all those years of hard work and sacrifice. This is a program for dentists who think it is time to improve their “Quality of Life.” Call AFTCO at 800-232-3826 or visit our website at www.aftco.net. It's time to call AFTCO!

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