Financial Mistakes Dentists Should Avoid: Insights from Dr. William Chen

Host: Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas
Guest: Dr. William Chen
Edited By: Candy Velez CRDH

Today, we continue our conversation with Dr. William Chen, exploring the realm of digital dentistry and discussing a significant financial mistake he made in his career.

Dr. Chen shares valuable insights and advice for dentists, shedding light on avoiding financial pitfalls. Let’s dive into the main themes of our discussion.

Equity Associate Agreements: A Cautionary Tale

Dr. Chen opens up about a financial burden he faced early on in his career – signing into an equity associate agreement contract. Reflecting on this experience, he emphasizes the importance of caution when considering such agreements:

“Signing into an equity associate agreement contract has led me to one of my larger financial burdens. I won’t do it again. So, therefore, it’s not technically a mistake. Right. But, yeah, it definitely hurt my career early on when I signed an associate agreement that had equity.”

Dr. Chen’s cautionary tale serves as a valuable lesson for aspiring dentists. He advises dentists to seek a second opinion before signing any contracts and highlights the need to be aware of potential red flags.

An Alternative Approach: Working for a Percentage

Dr. Chen proposes an alternative approach to equity associate agreements – working for a percentage without an equity commitment.

He suggests that dentists should focus on building a strong working relationship before considering any long-term commitments:

“Why not just date? Why don’t you work for the person for a percentage and be done? And if you guys are that well of a match and you want to get married, okay, start the marriage talk. But until then, there’s no marriage talk.”

By advocating for this alternative approach, Dr. Chen aims to prevent other dentists from falling into the same financial burden he experienced.

He urges dentists to carefully evaluate their options and consider the long-term implications before committing to any agreements:

“Somebody may be listening like, wow, equity associate agreement. I preach against it, quite honestly. Everybody I meet, if they’re into that sort of thing, hey, all I can tell you is it didn’t work out for me.” 

Navigating the Changing Landscape of Dental Practice Ownership

Dr. Chen touches upon the evolving landscape of dental practice ownership, mentioning the rise of corporate dentistry.

He clarifies that his own practice is not part of the corporate model but acknowledges the prevalence of this alternative approach:

“Corporate is a different animal. People look at my 17-chair practice and say, oh, he went corporate. No, I didn’t, actually.”

While Dr. Chen doesn’t delve into the specifics of corporate dentistry, his mention of corporate dentistry highlights the need for dentists to stay informed about the various forms of practice ownership models available.

Understanding the pros and cons of each model can help dentists make informed decisions about their career paths.

Implications and Potential Impact

Dr. Chen’s insights into the pitfalls of equity associate agreements and his alternative approach to working for a percentage have significant implications for dentists.

By sharing his personal experience, he empowers dentists to make informed decisions and avoid potential financial burdens. His advice is a cautionary tale, reminding dentists to thoroughly evaluate contracts and seek second opinions before committing to long-term agreements.

Furthermore, Dr. Chen’s discussion of the changing landscape of dental practice ownership highlights the need for dentists to stay abreast of industry trends. Understanding the different ownership models can help dentists navigate their career paths and make choices that align with their goals and values. 

Until next time, keep learning, keep exploring, and fuel your dental dreams with knowledge!

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Read More: Dr. Chen Shares a Clinical Mistake & the Importance of Digital Dentistry

Dr. William E. Chen, DMD

Dr. William E. Chen, DMD

Dr. Chen is the founder, CEO and visionary of Chen Dental in Sebring, Florida. Dr. Chen received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Rollins College and attended the University of Florida College of Dentistry where he completed his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 2001. Chen Dental was established in 2005. Dr. Chen has served the community for 20+ years as a modern dentistry leader for ensuring healthy smiles. Over 14,000 patients from three countries, thirty-eight counties and thirty-three states visit Chen Dental each year. Dr. Chen has been voted Best Dentist nine times, received multiple business of the year awards, and the Innovation and Leadership Award. Giving back is very important to Dr. Chen who has trained with renowned financial expert, Dave Ramsey, to learn financial and biblical principles about healthy money management. This has allowed Dr. Chen positive growth in his business and increased his charitable giving. With the support of the community, he has helped raise over $300,000 to benefit organizations such as Lindsey's Wish with Champion for Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and more. Dr. Chen established Chen Dental Lab in 2017, the first in-office digital dental lab in Highlands County, Florida. He is a member of several dental associations including the American Dental Association, Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the International Dental Implant Association to name a few. Dr. Chen is also a Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce Circle member. Dr. Chen has a deep passion for his family. He lives an active lifestyle through surfing, wake surfing, hunting, fishing, and camping with his three adventurous boys and has enjoyed 22 years of marriage with his beautiful wife, Geri.