Two Big Mistakes Dental Office Owners Are Making That Are Costing Them Dearly

I’ve been reminded this week a few times that there is a distinct difference in duties that a Dentist has in the operation of Owning and running and maintaining a Dental Office as a successful thriving business.

It’s important to make sure that the duties of those doing certain tasks within the business are clearly defined and correctly remunerated, because often, there can be a number of grey areas where services are performed that may be outside of the regular job description and responsibility of the person involved.

And working for free or low fee is a situation that should never be happening.

But sadly, it is.

I’d like to revisit the topic of division of practice income with the purpose of making sure that all in the Dental Practice are remunerated fairly for their efforts and toil in maintaining the Office as a viable business entity.

First and foremost in this premise is that all who perform dentistry should do so on the same basis.

They should be paid for the performance of the dentistry.


And that can be a remuneration via salary, or via a percentage commission.

These are the two ways of recompension for effort.

Hygienists and Therapists, and Dentists should all be compensated for the delivery of dental services in this manner.

Now we know that hygienists and associate dentists are always accounted for in this manner. However, what I often see is that the Dental Practice Owner, for one reason or another, does not account for his services as a Dental Service provider in this same way.

I often see that the Dental Practice Owner does NOT separate and take out his commission for the performing of the dentistry out an upfront manner, as he does for his associate dentists.

And so the owner’s reward for the straight out delivery of Dental Services by his own hands becomes “thrown into the mix” with the operating costs, and subsequent profits and losses of the business.

In private Dental Practice.

In a similar manner, the duties of the business owning dentist are rarely remunerated fairly, as they too get lumped into the mix of “owning and running” the business.

And that’s really not treating yourself fairly at all.

If you as a business owning Doc are performing administrative duties without a clear recompension for those actions, then you are selling yourself very very short.

Because low and behold, if you weren’t there to perform those actions, like payroll, HR, marketing, advertising, accounting, and bill paying to name just a few, then the Dental Office, or business would need to employ and pay someone else to come in and perform those duties.

So if they would pay someone of lesser intimate knowledge of your business to do this, then why not pay yourself and reward yourself for these duties on top of the reward you take, [i.e. your commission] for performing treatment on patients.

This is where a lot of dentists who are practice owners, or often Practice Principals in Corporate Dentistry, unknowingly sell themselves short.

They give away their intellectual property and experience and administrative services for pennies in the dollar if any at all, while assistant and associate dentists get paid the same percentage commissions. And those associate dentists enjoy the luxury of hanging up their handpieces at the end of the day and going home without a care in he world.

So Dental Office Owning Dentists, if you are doing non-clinical duties, make sure that you reward yourself fairly for the performance of those duties.

Otherwise what’s the point?

Dividing up the Dental Office Collections

As a rough rule of thumb, here’s how the Takings, or Collections of the Dental Office should be divided.

  • 40% dentist commissions
  • 20% for salaries of workers, inclusive of benefits
  • 20% for overhead in running the office
  • 20% for owners of the business, inclusive of:
    o  Dividends to shareholders and investors
    o  Capital expenditure, like new equipment
    o  Marketing [which is a capital expense really]

When a business owning Dentist looks at the division of “where the money goes” in this manner they can see with distinct clarity the areas where they are overspending and also underspending.

When times are good, there are opportunities to ramp up the capital expenses and also pay investors higher dividends.

When times are more difficult, these would be times where capital expenses may need to be deferred and expected dividends paid would be smaller.

Dentists who are business owners often fail to look at their Dental Business as a business.

That’s a big mistake.

And that’s probably why at age sixty five, 95% of dentists are not in a position to walk away from their offices and support themselves comfortably, if they so desired.

Ninety five percent will not have reached Independence Day.

And that truly is, a sad statistic….



The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at

Did you like this blog article? If you did then hit the share buttons below and share it with your friends and colleagues. Share it via email, Facebook and twitter!!