Dental Consulting Success Stories
What Our Customers Have to Say
Double Your Net Profits
by Bill Mason, DDS
Here I was, recently divorced with two daughters in college and headed to graduate school. I was working more and more hours, and making less money. I felt like a duck swimming upstream from a waterfall, I was calm on the surface, but my webbed feet were paddling like crazy to keep from going over the edge! I was becoming short tempered and frustrated. Now, I have control of my practice, money and my life. Dr. Schuster and his wonderful and talented staff have helped me control money and time, therefore my life, the practice and my staffs’ lives are more as we would like. For example, we noticed an immediate 35% reduction in our clinical supplies expense by adopting the principles which advocate a set percent of collections be spent on supplies, and no more. It works! We are still working to improve in many areas, (i.e., life is a journey), but my staff and myself are working as a unit, a team, it is so powerful. Our patients are the center of our practice, we are here with the skills and energy to serve their needs.
Before becoming involved with The Schuster Center, we were busy, busy, but not always productive. It seemed we had to work harder and harder yet profits were static. The end of the day was overloaded with short appointments so we didn’t leave the office until 7pm. Now, our definite block scheduling allows us to control our time so we can spend an adequate amount of time with our patients. Our community’s economy relies on General Motors and the automobile industry. There has been much uncertainty, layoffs, plant closings, bankruptcies etc. Our recession began 5 years ago and is continuing. I knew I had to do something to get control of the practice’s overhead and to continue to grow and be a viable business. A friend of my daughter worked for a dentist in Traverse City, she spoke very highly of The Schuster Center Management Program. My daughter and I looked up The Schuster Center on the internet and ordered some of the introductory CDs. I knew I was going to enroll in the program once I heard Dr. Schuster’s ideas, it was just what the doctor ordered. (When the student is ready, the teacher appears.) He has a high quality, patient-centered approach to dentistry. It is not about working faster and faster, I had done that already and knew it would drive me and my staff out of dentistry eventually. I have especially enjoyed the positive changes in my staff! Working in my office is more than just a “job”, it is a life forming/improving/motivating experience. My staff and I have been able to work on “ourselves”, much of the teachings at The Schuster Center are focused on that. These improvements only make us better able to offer the best care to our patients. I love that aspect, and it was one of those unexpected bonuses.
Now, there is more of a calm in the office, we have a two hour staff meeting every other week, and a daily morning huddle, staff retreats, lunches etc. Patients continually compliment us on our demeanor and professionalism. Once we got the ball rolling in the right direction, it feeds on itself. I have many outside interests as do my staff. These include snow and water skiing, tennis and Jui Jitsu. I now have the time and energy to devote to these activities on a more regular basis. There has been a great deal of perseverance and hard work involved in this process. Progress only comes with effort, but with patience and adherence to The Schuster Center principles, it will work out. I want to stay in contact with Dr. Schuster and his principles. I enjoy dentistry more than ever. I enjoyed it before, but it was taking my life away, controlling it. My staff and I feel empowered, we are becoming more and more a leadership office in our community. Some may ask, is this a “cult”? My answer, no, just sound business principles applied to dentistry. I now know without a doubt, that virtually anything is possible with the principles and ideas I have been exposed to.
Bill Mason, DDS
Double Your Net Profits
by Peyton Cunningham, DDS
I had been married for about 4 years and in practice for 2. I started as a start-up solo practice in a city in which I knew no one. I went to the bank and asked for $100K. Had a pro forma and great projections. Two of three banks told me I wouldn’t succeed and would not lend me any money. The third said they would lend me $50K. So I borrowed $43K and my wife and I located an existing building already set up for a dentist. She and I painted, plumbed, dry walled, wall-papered, and hung the blinds. I bought two chairs, lights, supplies from a dental supply company, and had a cabinet maker custom make the cabinets (they were less expensive than the dental supply companies).
After two years of struggling to make the monthly notes (robbing Peter to pay Paul) on the apartment, student loan, and the office, I just couldn’t seem to break the $5K plateau per month for anything. I asked myself the question, “How do I know if I am doing all the things necessary to fully operate this business to its potential?”. I was a member of the local and state political societies as well as study groups. This kept me in constant contact with other dentists. I quickly realized that comparisons to other practices were fruitless. Each practice has a different size physical plant, number of staff, hours of operation, and varying locations, etc. The most important thing I found was that dentists think they are in competition with other dentists, when in reality it is their personalities, ethics, and intrinsic character that define the “best” of the best practices. I was struggling at a young practice age to find out how to develop a practice that was special.
In 1991, my brother-in-law, a dentist, suggested that I should hear Dr. Michael Schuster speak on Profitability Management. My wife and I attended this eight-hour seminar. In it we learned some basic marketing which we took home and implemented immediately. We also were given the percentages of how every dollar was spent in a dental practice. Finally, some tangible information that we could work with. Secretly, I didn’t like the idea that every dollar was already pre-spent. (After working the system, the wisdom of this concept became apparent.) We went home and feverishly developed a spreadsheet of money flow and adjusted our categories in Quicken. For the first time I had a very accurate picture of the financial status of the practice. I might add it was much more revealing than the CPA trying to get us to show a loss every year.
Over the next six months, our ability to manage money combined with the increased number of patients due to our marketing efforts allowed us to become solvent and place 20% of gross income into retirement investments. This management system really works. I found that I could work less hours and still have the same income. As the practice grew it was easy to manage the growth. It was comforting to not have to worry about money. As this developed, it became easier for me with case presentation. I found that patients accepted my treatment recommendations. After another two years, I realized that there was much more. I figured out that patients DO NOT understand our technical ability nor do they really care. They were not coming to see me because of a superior crown margin. It was the leadership, empathy, and ability to form relationships.
I decided that I needed to enhance these abilities so I enrolled into the Mastery Program at The Schuster Center. This time kept me at the forefront of learning how to become the best at a profession that one can be. I continue my journey with Dr. Schuster and The Schuster Center. It has been invaluable to me.
Peyton Cunningham, DDS
Double Your Net Profits
by Greg Sanchez, DDS
In 1996, I became a student at the The Schuster Center. At the time, my brother and I had a twodoctor practice, with PPO providers and other insurance issues. We were doing mostly fillings and cleanings. We had the “revolving door” market cornered on staff members. Our profitability was OK, but not great. I was working myself silly, doing everything from ordering supplies to running office errands; then trying to do good dentistry.
I have always loved dentistry and working with patients. I really tried to do a good job. I had attended Pankey and wanted to do comprehensive dentistry, but I had a hard time “getting it off the shelf”. I really liked my patients and my profession, but I could not offer the correct services because I was so bogged down with errands, staff issues and office work.
The first few years at The Schuster Center were time consuming and it was difficult getting the team on board – we had a few changes. We set aside a 1/2 day per week for at least 1-1/2 years to work on our goals and systems. We continued that practice monthly until just a few years ago. I realized I could not do this on my own. I wanted to do quality comprehensive dentistry and needed a dedicated team.
The practice had great results immediately in terms of lower stress, increased profitability and working systems. We enjoyed the new freedom. Finally, we had everything in place and the systems and numbers tracking became automatic.
I came to work one day and my assistant asked me to finish some lab work and then said, “Thanks”. This had happened many times in the past, but this time I realized she was engaged, having fun and taking responsibility. We were a whole team working for a common goal. We were working for our patients, not on them.
Patients were saying “yes” to everything that they wanted and they wanted lots of dentistry. I had quit selling and was just providing the best care I could. I am not sure if I can explain how good it feels to be trusted, depended upon, and consulted. I was doing a great job and the patients and staff knew it and jumped on board with me. It fills my soul and heart with the desire and motivation to keep learning and even do a better job. I feel bad even bringing this up, but I was also very profitable. I was making enough money, fully funding savings with some to spare. I doubled my net profit in the 2nd or 3rd year.
At the beginning of The Schuster Center program, we were asked to write a vision for our future pratice. I now noticed that mine had actually happened. Not that I’m all the way there. I know I have more learning and work to do, but my goals were achieved. We were off insurance, profitability was way up, I was seeing patients 3-1/2 days a week and I had time for the lab work which I enjoyed. I also had time for my family and other passions like photography, building cars and investing in real estate.
I am not done with dentistry, this is only my 20th year. I am excited for the next 20 years. I will tell you that I cannot do this alone. I love and need my great team that supports and makes me a better dentist and person. Everything The Schuster Center told me and taught us came true. I had to do the work, but I also reaped the benefits.
Double Your Net Profits
by Hal Stewart, DDS
Sixty new patients a month! Doesn’t that sound exciting? Well, it did to me… for about a year. It was 1993 and I was 3-1/2 years out of dental school. I had owned my own practice since December 1990, in Highland Village, Texas, a small, affluent suburb of Dallas.
Being the son of a custom home builder, I knew the meaning of ‘quality’. My father built one house at a time. He was on the job every day working along-side his employees. He always went the extra mile for his clients and he made sure that everything was perfect before they moved in. My dad remained friends with every single person for whom he built a house up until the day he died. Many of them attended his memorial service. How many builders can say that?
I knew that I wanted to be a dentist like my father was a home builder. Those values of helping one person at a time and giving them my all were instilled in me at an early age by my father. So, when I woke up one day and looked at my practice numbers and saw that the previous month I had seen sixty new patients, I knew something had to change. How could I possibly give any one individual my ‘all’ when I am giving everyone just a fraction of myself?
Dr. Schuster always shares the quote, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”…well, about that time in 1993, I received a brochure about The Schuster Center and Dr. Michael Schuster, so I attended… and my life was transformed forever. I started at The Schuster Center in 1994 and have been plugged in ever since.
I now see 8-10 new patients per month and my profitability has sky-rocketed. It doubled in my first year of attending The Schuster Center, primarily from reducing overhead. It has continued to increase annually because I know how to keep costs down and quality up. I have completed some of the most extensive and comprehensive restorative and cosmetic courses and I am doing this dentistry in my practice every day. It is not sitting on the shelf! That is because the business principles I learned at The Schuster Center have allowed me to structure my practice in a way to attract patients who want this type of dentistry.
The profitability has been great, but the freedom of enjoying life, time with my family and outside interests is something I could never place a price tag upon. “Thank you Dr. Schuster and the entire Schuster Center team for helping me achieve, and continue to achieve, the life that I always dreamed.”
My Life Has Changed Forever
by Josh Renken, DDS
Looking back on this year, I can honestly say I have created more in my life than I ever would have dreamt possible. When I started my practice, I think I was a person who was mainly relying on blind effort, suffering from frustrations I was not recognizing in a productive way. Our office had grown significantly from scratch in its five short years. Our staff had grown, our production had grown, but I started becoming aware that my satisfaction was not growing. In fact, my personal fulfillment was not growing. My primary focus was on the fixing of people and was often sad when they could not be convinced how important it was to them. (That just seems funny to even write now.) My goals were only about production and we attained those goals within the first few years, but that was empty as well. My staff had grown and we had awesome people but I had a growing sense that we were not all on the same page in many ways.
In my personal life, I had become accustomed to living my life to basically please others. I had little respect for myself and was pretty reckless, smoking cigarettes whenever I could and drinking too much when given the chance. Not surprisingly, I was pretty unhappy inside. I would often sit around and basically use all my imagination to create catastrophes in my head. I would sit in my garage and smoke late until the evening and early in the morning, worrying that this or that patient would be unhappy. I would sit and fret about my daughter, scared that she was not going to be “normal.” I felt so powerless to help her and then felt guilt about my son’s level of received attention. I often played the “blame game” with my wife. Looking back, I was addicted to that pattern of thought, steeped in resentment. My beliefs were vague and my values were grey In short, so much was happening in my life and I was just running scared. I was reacting to this, responding to that, and had merely accepted that this was just “how it was going to be.
”I am so thankful I found you, (and me) when I did. When I read your book and then met Sean, I started to accept that my destiny was not carved in stone. I began to realize that every little piece of my life was mine and mine alone; for the better or worse. In addition, I started to see the areas in my life where I was enabling others unproductive behavior, rather than respecting them as human beings. As this awareness has grown, I am also becoming aware of how special and amazing my life has become. I am beginning to grow beyond the assumptions and values of my childhood. I am now putting as much effort into respecting myself as I do respecting others. I realize that my thoughts are me and don’t spend much time on the reactive, negative ones. While this process invites a great deal of frustration, I now see frustrations and failures as new places for creative thought and structure.
Regarding dentistry, I have a rejuvenated thirst for knowledge and deeply enjoy learning more and more. I wake up every day and put effort into creating the practice of my dreams rather than just reacting to that day’s problems. My vision is extraordinarily vivid and I know it will exist as I see it in my mind. I know there will be details, setbacks and challenges but it is fun to know where we are going. I love to imagine new ways to help people gain greater control over their own health. Most of all, I think I am finally seeing my patients as human beings and that is a great awakening.
As for my family, life I no longer lived in fear. One of my goals when I started at the Schuster Center was to get to the Mayo Clinic for Reilly. Well, we did and she has since turned a corner, actually learning, reading, making friends, having a “best friend” (who happens to be a boy) and creating her own life. Where I used to want her to be “normal”, I now celebrate the unique amazing human being she is. I have a new respect for my wife, and give my son as much structure and praise as he can handle. I know how lucky I am to be a part of this family and I can’t wait to see what adventure we will embark upon next.
Lastly, I often reflect on the sheer volume of material I have received as a student of your program. I can only imagine the years of attention, hard work and discipline it required to develop this body of work. Your program has been a gift to me and I respect the amount of energy you have given it. I hope you know when one of our patients chooses health over the path of least resistance, and our team helps them get it, your energy is there.
And when my family takes a walk together and my daughter begs to go to her best friend’s house, the gift you have given me is as alive as it ever could be.
I promise to continue to use this gift to create the life of my dreams and give those around me the opportunity to do the same.
Sincerely Joshua M. Renken, DDS