Your practice is not growing as fast as you'd like, or perhaps your practice has reached a production plateau, and there are not any indicators that growth is about to happen again anytime soon. You are working four days a week, but when you look at your schedule, you realize that you actually could do all of this production in two or two and a half days each week. Your staff needs their full-time jobs, so they continue to let the patients decide what day of the week to come in for treatment, and you end up spreading two or two and a half days of treatment over four or five days.

You've talked to some of the other dentists in town, and many of them have the same complaints, too much open schedule time and not enough patients to fill it. As a result, your practice's overhead percentage continues to increase while production drops because most of your expenses are fixed. The less money you take in, the higher the overhead becomes a percentage of that income. Higher cost and lower net income may have you thinking, "Do I do something about this now or ignore the signs and go down with a slowly sinking ship?"

Practice mergers are always the best answer because they offer the best fix to this declining revenue problem (actually the only fix). Buying and merging a nearby dental practice can immediately increase your patient flow and patient revenues. Most of your current practice expenses are fixed (including staff salaries in this case), so two-thirds of the additional patient revenues from the merged practice represent net profit for the purchaser! A practice merger is the best investment a dentist could ever hope to make in his/her practice lifetime.

However, suppose you live in an area where there are no practice merger prospects. What do you do? Time is money. The doctor is the number one income producer for the practice, and if the doctor has downtime, then the doctor is losing money. The next best thing to a practice merger then is to purchase an existing practice in another area and operate it as a satellite office. You will not need to hire the acquired practice staff, saving you one-half of the standard practice's overhead costs. Your current staff will run both offices (forwarding telephones and appointment scheduling, etc.), representing substantial overhead savings.

Your current staff will need to take better control of scheduling so you can see all your patients in two or two and a half days per week in your current office and the same number of days in the satellite office. You will be available to your patients four days a week for each office, and it will just depend on what week (ask about AFTCO's Three Day Overlap Scheduling Program for more information).

Depending on the total active patient count of both practices, acquiring a satellite office could also present you with an opportunity for adding an associate to your now two-office practice. You could establish an order of succession for yourself when you wish to retire in the future, and you could even pull out a significant amount of cash from your existing practice while maintaining ownership (ask your AFTCO analyst for details on the Equity Conversion Program).

Time lost is money lost, and you need to get busy and stop losing money. AFTCO has the right options for you, and all it takes is for you to call us at 1.800.232.3826 or visit our website at

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