Is a bigger dental practice better than a small practice?
Before I get too far into this, let me define what I mean by "Big vs. Small" for the purposes of this article.
Small is a solo office.
Big is a multi-doctor office, maybe with multiple locations.
Big has so many more advantages over Small, that it's hard to argue how Small could be best. Particularly when it comes to dental offices.
For instance: A 2-doctor practice in an identical setting has about the same overhead as a 1-doctor practice. The variables will be supplies, lab bills, and some employee overhead. Which one will have more profit? If all 3 doctors are identical in production, then the answer's easy, eh?
There could be one exception: bringing dental services to remote areas, for instance, in the Alaskan Bush. Small in that case is better. Big is unsustainable, duh, right?
So let's take what may be the average GP office in a city the size of, well, say Salem. About 120,000 people locally. Over 100 dentists, I am sure, in the surrounding area. So, lots of choices for the consumer.
Ask yourself, "Does the Small office have the same advantages as the Big office?"
Not in the areas that matter more and more with every passing day into a slow economy:
- marketing budget
- supplies budget
- new tech budget
- "one-stop" shopping for pts, expanded hours - aka "convenience"
- physical plant
- customer service
- ability to train, retain and hire the best for all positions
- ability to bring in the best experts for increasing profits
And, there's more, I am sure of it.
Essentially, advantages are skewed largely towards the Big offices.
Going it alone from now on in dentistry, as a solo, independent GP, will be tough. It'll get tougher, too.
There is no national organization of Solo GP Dentists that I'm aware of. I don't think organized dentistry sees what is coming and worse, I don't think they're positioned to do or want to do anything about it. They have no big interest, I believe, in seeing the little guy's position protected.
Maybe that time is now?
Have you noticed no one in dentistry is talking about this???
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