Small Biz Ahead

When Dentists Should Hire

5 Signs You Should Hire Employees for Your Dental Practice

By Kathy Simpson

So you have an established dental practice with a steady clientele. Now you’re ready to take your business to the next level. Would growing your staff help you reach your goals?

Adding new employees is a big step – and a long-term investment that can cost you in the long run if you don’t do your homework first. Before placing that job posting, carefully evaluate how your business aligns with these ready-to-hire criteria:

1. Business is good.

The demand for your services is up and has been for a while. From all indicators, it’s a reliable, long-term trend, not a short-term spike.

2. Your support team is above capacity.

Your staff is overworked, sometimes putting in overtime – and they’re talking about it among themselves and with you. “Most offices should add a staff member when one employee has a workload that is more appropriate for 1.2 to 1.4 employees,” says Roger P. Levin, DDS and chairman and CEO of Levin Group, Inc. in “When to Add Staff Members,” published in the October 2014 Journal of the American Dental Association.

3. You know the risks.

You understand the unique risks your business faces and how those can change as it expands. You are prepared to update policies, procedures, equipment, insurance coverage and any other items to ensure safe and profitable growth.

4. Your office is operating at peak efficiency.

Operational inefficiencies can be costly, and throwing more people at the problem will only make matters worse. Before making any hiring decisions, review your practices and procedures and streamline where you can. Get your staff members involved; their first-hand experience makes them expert sources of perspective and ideas.

“Most practices reach a certain point of either efficiency or inefficiency and remain there for the bulk of the doctor’s career,” Levin says in a Dental Economics article. Levin Group research indicates that more than 95 percent of practices can grow by 30 percent simply by reorganizing how they work, adding the proper systems, and training the team in those systems.”

5. You have the budget.

As a general rule of thumb, the total labor costs for your practice (excluding your wages) should be approximately 25 percent of the gross income if you have a hygiene department and 18-20 percent of your gross income if not. Adding another person could increase gross wages by 5 percent. If you’ve got the budget, a new hire may be a worthwhile investment.

Ultimately, only you can decide if additional staff will benefit your practice, but a careful evaluation of these factors will help ensure that you have a clear understanding of if and when the time is right. To test the waters, you can always bring temporary or part-time team members on board with the potential of making them full-time later on.