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The Lifestyle Dental Practice Myth

The Lifestyle Dental Practice Myth

Several years back when I was an associate grinding out 5-6 clinical days a week looking to embark on practice ownership I started to hear about this concept of the “Lifestyle Dental Practice”. In essence, the definition was for a solo doc to work 3 clinical days a week, take several weeks off a year and make a $500k + income.

Don’t get me wrong this is super respectable, and likely a great model for many. Less than 1 year into my startup I was well on my way to achieving this and I started to realize that there were a few missing components to this model.

The owner is stuck as the primary technician. If something happens to the owner doc there is no hedge to protect the revenue generated from clinical work.

There is a ceiling on the productivity and value of the practice.

Components of this model are great, but it is NOT a resilient business model. It is my belief that a more resilient model is “THE MEGA LIFESTYLE” practice. I would define this as the owner could work as many clinical days as they enjoy (likely the sweet spot would be 2 or fewer to allow room for at least 2 associates to make a great living). Why 2 associates? With one associate the owner would get sucked back into an even greater volume of clinical if something were to happen to the single associate. In this model…

The owner can elevate from technician to CEO (this allows for a much better lifestyle where the leads are empowered and the doc isn’t stuck in management)

Assuming Overhead is in the right spot, there is potential for much greater EBITDA valuation & take home for the owner.

What does is take to scale from solo doc to 3 doc practice? the short answer is it’s not easy. a few keys are

  • developing a real leadership team
  • having enough patient flow to support multiple docs

There are so many ways to build a dental practice or multiple, often what we think we want pre-ownership changes & evolves as we become more capable and knowledgable and see what’s possible.

Let me know what you think?

What model were you attracted to and how’s that going? What am I missing?


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