A lot of decisions are made in the span of a dentist’s professional life. Sometimes they begin as early as choosing high school coursework. Hopefully, they end with retirement plans after a long, rewarding career.
When you’re ready to begin practicing, or at some point in your career, you may have to choose between taking a job in corporate dentistry or pursuing a private practice. Theres is no right or wrong answer, this choice may be more a question of your preferences at a specific juncture in your career.
Consider the following points as you weigh which is right for your career and your lifestyle.
Risk Versus Reward
Small business ownership may seem like a risky endeavor, especially if you’ve never done it before. Working for a corporation may help you to avoid the financial risks and liability associated with a private practice.
Unfortunately, in a corporate job, your earning potential may be capped by an annual salary. In a private practice, you may receive all or a portion of the profits, while also controlling which services you offer, pricing and how you deliver your services.
Should you decide that the potential profits and other benefits of a private practice outweigh the risks, careful insurance planning may help you to mitigate some common concerns associated with practice ownership.
Consider policies created for the risks of practice ownership including:
- Data breach coverage
- Employment practices liability insurance
- Business owners protection
- Business overhead expense insurance
- Disability income insurance (May be necessary for corporate and private dentistry)
- Entity malpractice insurance
- Worker’s compensation
Resources Versus Choice
Which scenario is most appealing to you?
- Walking into your first day on the job in fully-stocked and staffed clinical areas where everything you may need that day is available.
- Choosing your own equipment, customizing your clinical areas and selecting staff members yourself.
Corporate dentistry may offer more readily-available resources, such as expensive equipment you may not have to source and purchase yourself. But a private practice may offer more freedom to make your own choices in what equipment and technology you’ll use.
Do you see yourself wanting specific tools, brands or technology? Or would you rather use what’s available instead of having to purchase or finance what you need?
Owning a Business Versus Working for One
Dentistry may present the opportunity to practice dentistry while running a small business. Although both are essential parts of running a private practice, these two roles may also be demanding when they’re performed by the same dentist or group of partners.
For those that find business ownership a fulfilling challenge, a private practice may be a natural way to achieve that goal.
For those that don’t want the added responsibility of business ownership and the potentially much longer working hours, corporate jobs are a way to focus on dentistry without having to run a practice. However, that may also mean being an employee and everything that may go along with that.
Do you dream of seeing your name on the door? Or would you rather know you’re leaving the office after a day of work without the added responsibility of payroll, staffing, accounting, marketing and more?
Ultimately, you may need to think about what’s most important to you.
When you’re fresh out of dental school or a residency and ready to begin your practice, corporate dentistry may be the right choice. At the start of your career, corporations may provide more job opportunities, locations, structure, equipment, patients, policy, financial stability, and even insurance.
Once you have more experience and considerations such as a family, less debt, etc., you may want to put down roots in a particular location with a private practice of your own. Unlike corporate dentistry, a private practice may give you the opportunity to build equity, if that’s what is important to you.
Understanding the Right Choice for You and Your Career
If you’re still torn between the two options, you may be able to find a middle ground by joining a privately-owned group practice. Or, consider letting other factors narrow your choices down, including location, real estate availability, opportunities to work with a mentor or even options to go into business with colleagues or classmates.
Advisors experienced in the dental professions may better understand the specific challenges and considerations you’ll face throughout your career. Find one you can trust, and ask for guidance.
About Treloar & Heisel
Treloar & Heisel is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement with a comprehensive suite of financial services, custom-tailored advice, and a strong national network focused on delivering the highest level of service.
Treloar & Heisel and Treloar & Heisel Risk Management are divisions of Treloar & Heisel, Inc.
Insurance products offered through Treloar & Heisel, Inc.
Treloar & Heisel, Inc. does not offer business consulting advice. Please consult a professional concerning this topic.