Profit First for Dentists

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Debt and What to do About It!

This is the third blogpost in the Business of Owning a Dental Practice series.  Today’s topic is Debt.  Primarily I’m going to talk about Business Debt but you could apply the same principles to personal debt as well.   

Owning a dental practice generally comes with acquiring debt, at least for most dentists.  Whether you do a scratch start or you purchase an established dental practice, to pay for it, there will likely be a loan. 

Add to this business debt, any personal debt  you may have such as dental school debt, a home mortgage, vehicle loans, and possible credit card debt, and you find yourself swimming in debt. 

It can feel heavy or even stifling to think about all the debt. 

Let’s first break it down into ‘good’ debt and ‘bad’ debt.  Debt incurred that increases your revenue and does not cause a bigger burden for your business could be considered ‘good’ debt. ...

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Technical Training vs Business Training

This is the second blogpost in the Business of Owning a Dental Practice series.  Today’s topic is to talk about Technical Training vs Business Training in a dental practice. 

I don’t want to sound cliché because I know you’ve heard it before that most dental schools don’t spend enough time training dentists on the business side of owning a practice.  Some schools do a better job than others, however, most dentists still share with me they feel ill prepared for stepping out in business.  And this is not to put down any of the schools.  They have a job to do and that is to train up dentists in the technical skills so they can confidently go out into the public and do dentistry. 

I love the technical side as well.  I’m a dental hygienist and have also done my share of assisting on some technically advanced dental care.  It’s amazing to see a patient love their smile again or be able to function...

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The Business of Owning a Dental Practice

I’m starting a new blog series about The Business of Owning a Dental Practice. 

Beginning next week and for 8 more weeks, I’ll post a new blog on a specific topic of business and how it relates to dentistry along with some of the challenges I see dentists face. 

If you’re like many of the dentists I speak with, there a always multiple things going on at any given moment.  Dentistry has a lot of moving parts making a day in the life happen.  Time seems to slip away faster and faster and its seems almost impossible to manage all the business stuff. 

My goal is to share with you how to simplify the money management in a dental practice by using the Profit First system.  It's so important for dentists to completely know where they stand with regards to their finances, learn how to pay themselves first, and pay their taxes with ease. 

The Profit First for Dentists System allows dentists to truly see the overhead picture. It's possible...

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Stuck Thinking It All Has to be Perfect!

I’m a Recovering Perfectionist!

However, perfectionism doesn’t really exist! Being hard on yourself because you’re not perfect is just wrong.  I am a person who strives to make things perfect and what I’ve learned is this is a big ol’ Rabbit Hole!  It’s never ending! And it's never going to be perfect.  

So instead I’ve changed my mindset to be one of ‘Doing my Best’ rather than thinking it needs to be perfect.  It’s so easy to get caught up inside the mind replaying conversations and actions.

With Profit First I’ve found many dentists think everything has to be perfect before they can get started.  And that’s just not true.  Waiting to begin only puts you behind on the increased profits you’re going to realize.  Why would you want to wait on that? 

Dentists tend to be analytical people. They like to check, and re-check everything before making a commitment....

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Cash is King! (or Queen)

Once you have taken stock of the debt situation you are in, it’s time to make a plan for Debt Reduction.  In order to pay down your loans quicker, you must have additional cash flow (profit) in the business.

The Profit First model is great for this because you are already setting aside money in the Profit Account.  Once you really get a handle on the overhead it’s simple to put more in the Profit Account. 

The Profit Account is used for quarterly distributions to the owner doctor.  Remember, this is the pay for doing dentistry in the practice.  The Profit Account may also be used to pay additional principle on any business loans or credit card balances. 

When you decide to use part of the distribution for debt reduction, the owner will now take less in distribution for personal use.  For example, the typical owner distribution would be 50% of the Profit Account deposits for the quarter but with focused debt reduction, the owner might...

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Reducing Debt...Especially Bad Debt

Dentistry is an expensive profession.  It’s costly to go to dental school. Then to either open or purchase a practice is another significant investment.  It’s very likely that debt will be incurred in this process. 

Most dentists I work with are still paying on debt. These monthly payments can become drudgery in a short time. It can seem never ending!  And on top of practice debt, there’s personal debt.  Whew! The pressure to produce is real. 

With the profit first model, debt can be factored in when considering profitability. What I mean is this. A portion of the Profit Account distributions may be used for some additional debt reduction if that is the goal of the owner. A system may be put in place with a plan to eradicate debt sooner. 

First, begin by taking stock of all debt. What exactly are you paying out in payments every month? What percentage of collection is this?  Is any of this bad debt, like credit card debt that...

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How Does the Profit First Rhythm Work?

If you think about your dental practice, I’m sure you’ll find you have a daily rhythm to things.  Most of us would say we have personal daily rhythms as well.

We tend to rise and start our day very much the same from day to day. The rhythms of our life provide an unwritten structure that actually then perpetuates the rhythm to continue.

The same is true of your business, your dental practice. When implementing a pattern of behavior in a rhythmic cycle, we are much more likely to continue to take action. Taking action is where the magic happens with Profit First. 

A weekly rhythm of allocations and transfers seems to work best for a dental practice. Income flows into the practice daily and then once a week, it’s time to allocate by percentage and transfer money to the additional bank accounts set up for a specific purpose. Those accounts are for Profit, Owner’s Compensation, Taxes, and Operating Expenses. 

As money flows into each account, it is...

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How to Start Small & Trim the Fat!

Transitions always take time.  Once you decide to make the change to the Profit First system and take action, you’ll likely meet some challenges.  It’s all new. 

When things get wonky and difficult, the natural reaction is to go back to the ‘old’ way of doing things.  It’s familiar and we feel okay there.  But is that what you want? 

Give yourself some grace as you navigate new ways of handling your money.  It’s best to start small.  Putting 1% of collections in the Profit Account is better than 0%. 

To build the Profit Account percentage or increase your Owners Compensation, you’ll need to begin the process of scrutinizing all expenses.  Reducing the overhead may seem impossible right now but I’m here to tell you many have done it and you can too! 

If your goal is to increase Profits, it will take working on Overhead reduction plus Revenue increases.  In my experience if you...

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How do I set my Target Percentages?

Uncategorized Sep 06, 2022

On last weeks blog I shared how to enter your own statistics into the table.  This allows you to evaluate your current allocation percentages. 

If you haven’t yet completed the assessment, you will not be able to set target percentages.  Every practice is different and the place to begin is with your own current reality.

Assuming you do have the assessment completed and you do know your current percentages, it’s time to set some targets or goals.  Setting a target percentage means you are getting very specific.  This target can be measured.  You will know whether you reach it or not. 

If you’re serious about reaching your target, it’s time to draw the line in the sand.  I suggest you share your target goal with someone who will hold you accountable.  Check in with them often.

Now a word about the target percentages.  They should challenge you but still be realistic. They must be attainable within a period of...

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Uncategorized Aug 30, 2022

Use this Table to Complete the Self-Assessment


Last week’s blog post gave you the directions for gathering all the data (numbers) and now today I’m sharing with you what to do with those numbers to complete your own Profit First Assessment! 

Here’s the table I’m referring to.




PFDentist TAPs

PFDentist $



Real Revenue














Owner’s Compensation














Operating Expenses








If you’d like a printable copy of this form, go to my website here:

Column A – Please enter all of your Real Numbers from the prior year data that you have collected.  For example Real Revenue is the total amount of money collected in your business for the prior...

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