Am I getting taken advantage of in my part of a start up mobile dental service provider?

I am the dentist in this small business that me and a lab guy that used to make my dentures at a previous place of employment. Here is a summery of how it played out.

I worked for a mobile dental company. Not too many of these types of dentists out there doing this, so I gained a bit of knowledge in how to provide that type of dentistry. What supplies are more important, how to approach walking in to a new nursing home (which is primarily what we see), what challenges to be aware of when treating a more medically compromised patient, what type of assistant makes the best mobile dental assistant, and several other keys pieces of info when doing what I do.
That company and I got to a point where we no longer got along, and lets just say we divorced. I called the guy that ran the denture lab that I had used rile at the company the previous 4 years because I knew he still made dentures for another guy that opened his own mobile dental service in another region of the state. I have NO INTEREST in owning my own business and knowing the field well and having be very successful at doing that type of dentistry I figured it would be a perfect fit. When I called the lab guy, he told me he had always dreamed of owning a company that managed different doctors that either temped or were placed permanently, and that he was interested in starting a mobile practice with me being the sole dentist at start up and the main dentist when it expanded. We agreed on a % that was on average what a first year graduate would make, because of the way we had to file Medicaid reimbursement, which takes up to a year to be paid and that only starts the time clock after treatment is completed. Being a start up business I wanted to make an effort to show my part of being a team player. He has made several mentions of ideas of how I would be rewarded handsomely in the future for doing such a thing. Now we have been doing it for about 6 months, and in that time, a few things have done all the way from shocked me to hurting my feelings, to leaving me feeling like a $2 whore in a third world country. To name a few of these-1) not listening to my advice on how frequently each patient is scheduled. We are much more successful than we anticipated and it is causing my promises to patients already started to become s. I say I will be back for the next step in the treatment in 3 weeks only to make it back 2 months later because I have sooooo many new patients and the company doesn’t want to upset a new client. 2) Ignoring my suggestions on the qualities an assistant should have or what type of material to order, only to learn the hard way that I knew what I was talking about to start with. I feel like I am setting myself up to build up this company in which I have no ownership in, by seeing all these new patients (which by the way pays very little compared to making somebody a denture which I have started over 40 cases but cant make it back in a timely manor to finish so I am not paid for that service yet) and doing so at a rate that is normal to pay a first year graduate when I have 11 years experience with 5 of those doing mobile dentistry. Then when it comes time to follow up with the things discussed back when we were forming this thing, I could be replaced by another less experienced dentist that they can then teach what I have taught them. Please don’t state the obvious. I know that I am not the most highly skilled business man alive. I am a dentist and that is what I do know. I never had a job before being a dentist so I have no skills with business, and no desire to learn at 41 years old. What is your advice? Am I being a cry baby or do I have legitimate complaints. When I do vent my concerns I feel that they say what it takes to settle me down but never follow up with what they said. It is my license that we are operating under. It is my ass if a patient decides to sue. I am at risk for them and the learning curve of dentistry alone not to mention mobile dentistry. Please help.
PS- I have a contract that was claimed to be very vague so we could make it more appropriate at a later date, but my faith in their word is fading fast.

If you came to us as a potential client we would want to know a few things up front. Main one is HOW are you being reimbursed for your services. Do you get a paycheck (with taxes withheld) or are you paid as an Independent Contractor (no taxes withheld)?

If you are paid as an employee (taxes withheld, etc.) then YOUR EMPLOYER has the right to dictate your schedule and hours. If you are a contractor, then generally YOU decide. However, you may be being paid as a PARTNER (an owner of the business). However, if there is not a formal Partnership Agreement filed with your name and SSN and ownership percentage listed then you are not "officially" an owner.

Since it is your license that allows the operation to continue you REALLY need to form your own business and start making the decisions regarding your actual practice yourself. You can hire someone to perform the office administration tasks (the actions a business owner would normally perform). Look for an individual Bookkeeper in your area that might be willing to handle all the regulatory filing duties. YOU can still make decisions based on their proposals. It’s really not that hard.

But, YES, to answer your actual question…you ARE being taken advantage of!

G’Luck…

Mike Womack, Sr. Partner
Zero Degrees Tax LLP
Moore, OK



  • If you came to us as a potential client we would want to know a few things up front. Main one is HOW are you being reimbursed for your services. Do you get a paycheck (with taxes withheld) or are you paid as an Independent Contractor (no taxes withheld)?

    If you are paid as an employee (taxes withheld, etc.) then YOUR EMPLOYER has the right to dictate your schedule and hours. If you are a contractor, then generally YOU decide. However, you may be being paid as a PARTNER (an owner of the business). However, if there is not a formal Partnership Agreement filed with your name and SSN and ownership percentage listed then you are not "officially" an owner.

    Since it is your license that allows the operation to continue you REALLY need to form your own business and start making the decisions regarding your actual practice yourself. You can hire someone to perform the office administration tasks (the actions a business owner would normally perform). Look for an individual Bookkeeper in your area that might be willing to handle all the regulatory filing duties. YOU can still make decisions based on their proposals. It’s really not that hard.

    But, YES, to answer your actual question…you ARE being taken advantage of!

    G’Luck…

    Mike Womack, Sr. Partner
    Zero Degrees Tax LLP
    Moore, OKReferences :


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