By: Carrie Mauterer, DDS
Dr. Mauterer will be speaking on the Summit: CE & Demo Stage in the Rocky Mountain Dental Convention (RMDC) Expo Hall on Friday, January 18, 2019 at 10:00am.
A few years ago, I was taking a walk with my youngest son and we started chatting about Christmas. I asked him if he knew what he was going to ask Santa to bring him. His answer still makes me chuckle to this day. He responded with his typical deadpan face, “A swimming pool with a basketball court on top.” Wowzah! That is definitely dreaming big. While I tiptoed my way around the obvious problem (that the overhead basketball court is going to mess up Shamu’s triple flip), I gently pointed out that a swimming pool with a basketball court on top may not fit into Santa’s sleigh. I suggested that if he wanted it bad enough, he should find a way to finance it himself. Although he was lacking an MBA and was just five years old, his answer was as confident as Warren Buffet’s would be. He responded, “That’s OK Mom. I’ll just raise the money by selling rocks from our driveway.” That’s my Sully – he’s not afraid to dream big.
I share my son’s penchant for big dreams and creative solutions. I have huge dreams for my career and my group practice I share with my business partner. I may not be awesome at selling rocks, but I am pretty good at taking care of my patients. I absolutely love it. The honor of earning our patient’s trust and watching their families grow is the best thing in the world about being a dentist. Not surprisingly, being a dentist is what I do best with my dental degree. Conversely, being a small business owner was just a means to an end. The tasks involved with practice ownership were not my favorite and not something my dental degree prepared me for.
As our practice scaled up from a scratch start practice in a space sharing environment all the way to 12-operatories, we saw many successes each year. I found that eventually my big dreams outgrew our individual resources. My business partner and I realized that to take our practice to our dream level, it was time to join forces with a strong company with bigger resources. As I enter my fourteenth year and the fourth growth phase of my dental career, I have seen rapid changes in the dental industry. I have enough experience to know that we had to stay ahead of the curve and lock in an ideal partner to secure our next phase of growth.
In the year since we partnered with our Dental Service Organization (DSO), we have seen a dramatic increase in our practice growth. Sure, before making this move I learned how to run a fairly solid business. I learned how to calculate city use tax (uhh…after our first audit happened). I learned what a water tap is and that ours would cost $85,000 (after the building loan was already tapped out). I even went to classes on increasing our Google juice (why does it have to be juicy?…blech). However, by handing over our finances to a CFO, our equipment and supply accounts to a CEO with actual buying power, and our marketing to a millennial with an advanced marketing degree, our practice achieved our big dreams much faster and easier than going it alone.
Consolidating our practice with a new partner was a long uncharted journey. With DSO companies rapidly changing the industry, there was no guidebook to instruct us on our next steps. So, we wrote our own book.
Please join me as I share my story of the journey of finding a DSO partnership and what life is like on the other side. As you curl up with your hot cocoa at The Summit: CE & Demo Stage (BYOHotCocoa) with me on Friday morning, I will share my insights, successes, fears and ridiculous flubs and blunders on my journey to chase my big dreams. After all, aren’t our personal stories what bring us all together?
Carrie Mauterer, DDS, owned her private general dentistry practice, Appletree Dental, for 13 years before partnering with Peak Dental Services in 2017. She currently serves the Colorado Dental Association as Vice President and the American College of Dentists Colorado as Secretary. She and her husband, Jason, have 5 boys, 13 chickens, 2 golden retrievers and 1 angry cat. She is a terrible gardener and knitter, but a pretty darn good whistler.
The Metro Denver Dental Society is a not-for-profit component society of the American Dental Association and the Colorado Dental Association.