Dentaltown August 2020 - 6

howard speaks
column

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Almost 33 years ago-on Sept. 21, 1987-I opened Today's Dental. I had graduated in May and it took me
just 133 days to find a place to rent, build out a dental office and open to the public ... right before the stock
market collapsed. Oct. 19, 1987, saw the biggest one-day percentage loss in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial
Average: 22.61%, a record that still stands today and is nearly double the second-biggest drop on record (12.93%
on March 20, 2020).
My three new employees-an assistant, a hygienist and a receptionist-all panicked and said, "What are we
going to do?" I laughed and said, "Are you kidding me? People will still have teeth and need a dentist a million
years from now."

"The Cool Out"
We started Dentaltown in 1999, and the first thing
we set up was free classified ads. It's one of the neatest
sections on the site. Usually, there are about 1,000 ads
from dentists trying to sell their practices and about
5,000 ads from dentists looking for associates to help
them out.
Then came the coronavirus. When 40 million Americans lost their jobs, about 30 million
also lost their dental insurance, which
means dentists really won't be hiring
new associates for a while.
Now, instead of 1,000 dentists
selling their practices and 5,000
posting jobs, we've got 2,000 dentists
selling their practices and only 1,000
posted jobs. I spent a day combing
through those posted jobs recently,

and most of them were posted by DSOs. They may have
staff turnover and people problems, but because they
know their numbers so well, they're the ones thriving
right now.
Who's selling their practices, then? If you've never
been divorced, you can retire from dentistry by age 60.
(Get divorced one time and you're going to push that
back a decade. Get divorced twice, you're going to die
at the chair.) All of the older dentists who held on to
their spouses are looking at advisers today and saying,
"Did you just ask me if I'm going to put in UV lights
and negative-pressure rooms? No way-I'm selling the
practice. I'm outta here."

"Career Opportunities"
Back when I graduated from dental school, new grads
either bought a practice or opened their own. Nowadays,
new dentists aren't comfortable with that-they're a

by Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, publisher, Dentaltown magazine

6

AUGUST 2020 // dentaltown.com

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7/20/20 2:40 PM


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Dentaltown August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown August 2020

Dentaltown August 2020 - Cover1
Dentaltown August 2020 - Cover2
Dentaltown August 2020 - 1
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