What to Consider When Hiring a Dental Consultant
Hiring a consulting company is a huge decision and not one to take lightly.
If you’re like most practices, you look for ways to save money, not spend it! So, you might be thinking that paying for a consultant is going to bust your budget.
I assure you that it will be some of the best money your practice ever spends, but only if you choose wisely.
If you’ve ever thought about working with a consultant, or aren’t sure where to start, let me share my experience with you.
What to consider when hiring a consultant
I have been in dentistry for almost 20 years and all of that time with the same practice.
During that time, I have been through multiple consulting companies. After partnering with a few different ones, we learned a lot about our practice needs and how to find the best consultant to fit them.
One of the main things you want to do before committing to someone is to do your due diligence in researching the company.
Go online and read reviews. Not just on their website, but also on social media and Google, because these are the most authentic reviews you can find.
Most consulting agencies will offer a complimentary meet and greet, either in person or over the phone, to discuss your initial needs. It’s a great chance to get a feel for them and walk away with a first impression.
Before you decide to enter a contract, be sure they’ll fit with your team and doctors. If they only fit with one or the other, it won’t work out well for your practice.
We are a team-oriented practice and looked for the same in a consulting agency. It was invaluable to us to find a consultant that meshed with our doctors, as well as the rest of the team.
As a practice, decide together what qualities you would like to see in the company.
Lessons I learned
Finding the right dental consultant
One of the first firms that we worked with wanted to come in and basically clean house. That wasn’t what we were looking for.
We immediately knew this was not the right consultant for us. But, that might be what your practice needs.
The second company entered the scene and presented a lot of great ideas and systems, some of which we implemented and still use to this day. However, after some time, we realized they were not the best company for us long-term.
We took about a 10-year break without a consultant and did pretty well.
Getting help and planning ahead
About five years ago, my doctor realized he needed to have an exit strategy. He had one but just didn’t know how to implement it so that it would work.
That’s when our most recent journey began.
Our doctor met with multiple mentors, consulting companies, and other doctors until we found an agency that would mesh with our entire team.
For an owner-dentist nearing retirement, stepping away from your practice is more involved than that.
There are many factors to consider:
- Who will take care of your patients, the practice you’ve established, and your team members?
- What’s your legacy going to look like?
- Will you work some or not at all during retirement?
Retiring is definitely more than just handing the keys over to someone else.
Creating effective processes
One main reason we needed outside help was that we were adding our first associate.
We had no idea what we were doing. We desperately needed assistance.
Hiring an associate is another one of those practice transitions not to be taken lightly.
The dental practice consulting agency we chose helped us write the book on adding an associate to our practice. We now have two!
The process turned out to be much easier with a consultant helping us along the way.
I don’t want to imagine what could have happened had we attempted this feat on our own. There was so much that we hadn’t thought of or considered.
Now, our owner-dentist can look toward retirement with ease and confidence, knowing his legacy as a dentist will continue, even after he steps aside.
The difference between surviving and thriving
Since then, our consulting agency has been absolutely invaluable to our team, doctors, and our practice as a whole.
Could we have survived the last five or so years without one?
Probably, but we certainly wouldn’t have achieved the success that we were able to accomplish without their guidance.
Could our owner-dentist be looking toward retirement had we not partnered with a dental practice transitions coach?
Maybe, but not with the peace of mind that he has now.
My point is that there’s a huge difference between a practice that survives and one that thrives. Which type will yours be?
Communication is everything
One of the most important things that you can have with your coaches and consultants is a constant line of communication.
They can see the big picture from an outsider’s view, which really is the whole point.
It’s hard for us to see what needs changing or implementing when we’re down in the weeds each day.
Consultants see the 30,000-foot view. They can point out where things are working, where they aren’t, and how to fix them.
We’re thankful to ours, who is always there with timely responses.
What a consultant is not
A consultant isn’t there to do your work for you.
No matter how great their processes or suggestions may be, they can’t want it more than you.
They also aren’t there to do the hard stuff that you aren’t will to do.
Their job is to show you a better way to align with your vision and mission. It’s still up to the doctors, team, and practice to put those suggestions and processes to use.
All in all, I highly recommend working with a dental practice consultant.
As long as you find the right fit, you can’t go wrong by hiring one.
Meet the Author
Carly Rhea, FAADOM is the office manager at Devine Dentistry… This text opens a new tab to Devine Dentistry’s website…, a multi-doctor practice in Nashville, TN.
With nearly two decades of experience in the industry, Carly enjoys ongoing training through institutes such as LVI, Franklin Covey, and the Dawson Dental Academy.
She is currently Vice President of her local AADOM chapter… This text opens a new tab to the Nashville AADOM Chapter website….