The downside of becoming a dental franchisee

Are you considering buying into a dental franchise? It certainly seems like an arrangement that means less headaches with marketing. Becoming a franchisee also comes pre-loaded with processes to help insure everything runs smoothly out-of-the-box.

Of course there is a downside. As a franchisee you have certain obligations to the franchisor. For some this loss of “professional sovereignty” may feel like they aren’t in an ownership position at all.

As a dental franchisee it’s easy to fall into a professional rut as you have less and less emotional investment in your business. In the end many dentists find themselves simply punching the clock, day in and day out.

This leads many to view the services they offer as products rather than treatments for patients. What happens next is that the practice becomes a glorified assembly line – where treatments are assessed based on price and patient need comes second to profit.

Obviously this does not apply to 100% of franchisees. Many offer advice to patients that may cost the practice some additional revenue. And they do this to create loyalty and make their operation stand out among the other chain services in the area.

However if you are a franchisee there really isn’t much incentive to be “great” when good enough is all that’s expected.

Being part of a chain means a steady flow of patients because of brand recognition. As an example, the local McDonalds or Starbucks doesn’t need to promote itself. These independent stores, as franchisees, don’t have to worry about being amazing. They simply have to be.

It’s the same with dental franchises. Business is good, because the brand is strong. And because the brand is strong, you don’t often see individual service initiatives from the franchisees.

Another factor that contributes to this is that most dentists working in chain operations only stay for two years. So quality service improvements run the risk of annoying the next dentist/franchisee because they go beyond the work they are prepared to do in order to hit the minimum brand standard.

As a customer, I always choose the independent operator.  It doesn’t mean I don’t trust the chains. I simply want my dentists to have more of a long term investment in myself and my community.

Independent operators have more “skin in the game” and they see their community and patients as more than a resource to be exploited.

As someone who has worked on both sides of this ownership model, I can say that as an independent owner the added stress of being 100% in charge is mitigated by the level of satisfaction it brings me, my team members and my patients every single day.  

If you are considering whether or not to invest in a franchise and you’d like to explore your options, click through and book a coaching call. It could be the best investment you make in your dental career.

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If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help