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Can You Afford a Part Time Associate?

Can you afford to hire a part-time associate for your practice? How do you know if it will be a financial mistake or best decision? We have the top tips to help you determine if your practice is ready for growth. Bringing a new team member on board can be a challenging decision. As a practice owner, it's important to ensure that you're making the right choices for the future of your company. Just like baking a cake, hiring a part-time associate requires the right recipe. Let's explore the right ingredients that will bring together you and your next success. 

Let’s look at some facts about PTAs

What a part-time associate is:

  1. They’re an expense just like anything else dentists buy (don’t look over at the OG version of the Cerec holding up a plant right now. Look away. It’s a perfectly good plant holder).
  2. They’re a licensed dentist that is legally allowed to help you check hygiene, do hygiene (if that is part of their job description), see emergencies and perform a variety of “full contact arts & crafts” procedures that we call “dentisting.” 
  3. They will need a dental assistant and until they invent cloning (hopefully soon) you will need to hire a dental assistant (most likely) full-time for your part-time associate. What? That doesn’t make sense? More on what it does below…

What a part-time associate will do:

  1. They will cost at least  $600 a day as an employee. There are taxes for employees that make their $600/day more than $600 a day. I recommend you watch Hamilton. It won’t explain employee tax, but it is a true masterpiece and Lin Manuel Miranda is an international treasure.
  2.  They will perform dentisting procedures to make the $600/day + the taxes less than $600/day. Don’t look now, I am basically an accountant. However, please ask your accountant to look at the numbers with you on this (but don’t ask them to show your monthly Cerec payment that is holding up a fern).
  3. Dental assistants MOST OFTEN need full time jobs to live their (best) life! So, even if the dental assistant only works with your associate two days a week, that assistant will need employment the other days of the week.

Let’s Look at One Year… 

You commit to adding an associate for one year to see how it goes and you’re wondering how bad the expense is. Is it worth it to have a licensed dentist to help me with my daily production of Dentisting Hamilton? (Because being a dental practice owner means putting on a daily Broadway show no one wants to see and most definitely won’t pay Hamilton ticket prices).

One year. 525,600 minutes. (Huge Broadway fan).
52 weeks x 2 days a week= 104 days
Let’s call it 100 days because your associate may take a day off to see Hamilton.
100 days x $600/day = $60,000/year 
Some taxes = $5,000/year
Dental assistant with some taxes = $40,000/year
Other expenses (ex. contract with an attorney)= $5,000
Total for your part time associate: $110,000/year
How much of that will your associate earn back through dentistry: some
How much should you count on: none
Look at your bottom line. What does it say? How much do you earn?
Let’s say= $325,000/year
Take $325,000 – $110,000 = $215,000
This report was done by QuickBooks.

Now Answer Yes/No

  1. Can you afford to live your life on $215,000? 
  2. Is the reduced dental stress of having a licensed dentist working with you worth a reduction in income for a year?

When it comes to whether you can afford to hire an associate, first, look at the facts. Then, combine them with your feelings and make the best decision for you. Not me. Not the dentist down the street. Make the decision that will create the best recipe for your continued success and growth.