Dr. Howard Farran has been lecturing to international audiences on the business of dentistry. With his blunt, practical, and often times humorous insights into the industry’s most controversial subjects, he has been captivating audiences since 1990. He was then, and is still now, driven by a genuine passion for helping dentists provide faster, easier, lower cost dentistry of a higher quality to their patients.
Dr Farran is the owner and founder of the hit vlog series “Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran”, where he discusses these topics with some of the best Doctors, Dentists, and Dental Practitioners of today. Dr. Jonathan Cook was recently a guest on his show, and has allowed us to share with you their conversation.
Howard Farran: So is it fair to say that if you’re an urban dentist, you should consider acquiring every selling dental practice within a five mile radius of you?
Jonathan Cook: Yes.
Howard Farran: And what you would say urban would be? I mean rural.
Jonathan Cook: I say that jokingly, but there are some limitations, as you can imagine. Look, I don’t take HMOs, those are ruled out, but the most important thing that I’m looking for now when I am … One of the things that I added to my lengthy list, my due diligence list, is personality. If you don’t mesh … You can arguably get by for a year, which can work because now you’ve got this dentist who you’ve pulled into your practice. And he passes the baton over the course of a year. But most importantly, you have light at the end of the tunnel. So even if you don’t click and he doesn’t mesh with some staff members, or whatever the case, it’s two [inaudible 00:41:08] care appointments away.
Jonathan Cook: It’s 12 months, it’s not the end of the world. So I find that that’s a pretty nice, happy medium where you can get by and have everybody part ways amicably.
Howard Farran: I love it how you are specific on the criteria, you don’t take Medicaid, you don’t take HMOs. Another one is, which I’m sure you’re aware of, is culture. They think somewhere around 2% to 4% of humans are sociopaths. And there’s just dentists selling their practice where you can just tell they’re either not right in the head, or evil, or they’re broken mentally, a sociopath. But the culture, you never want to do M&A activity or a partnership with someone who had a different culture. Rant on the hard lessons you’ve learned on culture.
Jonathan Cook: Great question, so I had a bipolar dentist, legitimately bipolar. And from one day to the next, you just never knew what you were going to get, and screaming, and yelling at staff members. That was the original practice that I bought down in Miami. And it is an absolute killer. I mentioned that when I purchased the practice he was doing $750,000 and we took in year one to $1.2 million, but what if it could’ve been $1.5 million but we lost the $300,000 because of the energy that was being sucked out of that business. And the negative effect that it had on this staff, and just the cancer spreads. So culture is so, so huge in my practice. We talk about it at almost every morning huddle, we talk about it at every monthly meeting, whether it’s a management meeting, or a team meeting for both teams, both offices.
Jonathan Cook: We talk about it at our quarterly team building events. So it’s repeated, and repeated, and repeated. If you don’t stick to your guns, before you know it you look around and you see everybody almost mimicking each other. They get why it is that we do what we do and they understand the culture, and they understand why the culture is so important. And so like I said, birds of a feather flock together. Before you know it, you’ve got everybody rowing in the same direction and believing in something bigger than themselves. So culture for us is right there at the very top. Look, I think it would’ve naturally came regardless, but a lot of it has to do with my past experience of being in these … I mean, I was in the lion’s den.
Jonathan Cook: I really was and it wasn’t just with one, it was with two. And these are guys that you take on, and you try to make it work, and you try to keep them at bay. But there’s only so much you can do.
Howard Farran: Yeah, I agree that untreated bipolar people that are mean to you everyday, they’re so toxic. And they can be so nice for five, six days, and then they can just tear someone a new one. And then people start falling in love with them and they make excuses for them. Well, she’s having a bad day. It’s like you gotta get that fix or you can’t be here. But toxic staff, moody staff, it just can’t do it. And then with criminal activity, did you think that on the criminal activity, do you think they’re totally smart dentists that know they’re criminals, or do you think they’re mentally broken sociopaths who can’t really distinguish. I’ll give rare examples, a lot of dentists got mad at me because I posted on dental town a dentist that had a hidden camera in his bathroom and was filming. And I thought, “Well, if there’s 211,000 Americans alive with a dental degree and one guy gets arrested for doing this, someone else is doing it maybe posting this.”
Howard Farran: Some dumb ass will say, “I better take that down.” Everybody got mad, said, “Well, why are you talking shit about dentists?” It wasn’t even four months and another dentist was arrested for it? And I’m sitting here thinking you have a hidden camera in your bathroom. Are you completely broken, insane, and weren’t born right, or are you a normal dentist, and just that weird? I always have a hard time … But I did listen to a long lecture on it and they said when you look at some of these massive criminal empires, like Nazi Germany, or many of these regimes, they said there was no history of mental illness among 90% of the leaders. They were just doing purely evil stuff. Do you think when you’re dealing with criminal activity with dentists, do you think they’re more mentally broken, or are they a sociopath, or are they just evil, or does it not even matter? We gotta deal with them the same anyway.
Jonathan Cook: I mean, you gotta deal with them the same either way, but I think that just they’re humans. They either convince themselves that what they’re doing is okay, they justify it in their own mind. And before you know it, they’re doing it on a such repetitive basis. Maybe it’s initiated because a guy’s having a bad month, and he’s like, “Well, man, if I just do this this one time, I can make payroll.” And then all of a sudden, he does it again. And then each time they do it, it gets easier and easier. So that has to have been the case, at least with this guy that came in with us. And so sure, could’ve been a sociopath and just not even at all in tune with what’s going on, and how that’s wrong, or they just turn a blind eye and they justify it in their head.
… Continued in Part 7 …