When our dentist survey asked “Do you think husband and wife teams are a good idea?“, 23% of our respondents answered yes; 27% said no; and half thought there was not a clear-cut answer.
In this survey 39% of our respondents currently work with their spouse; another 39% have never worked with their spouse; 17% used to work together, but don’t anymore. And 5% don’t have a spouse at the moment.
Only 11% of our dentists were coworkers before they became a married dental team; 26% were romantically involved before they teamed up in their practice, and 63% were already married when they became a dental team.
An Oklahoma dentist who thinks spouse dental teams are a good idea, believes it’s good for the marriage: “A spouse in the office prevents so many negative things from happening and allows the spouse to be in the decision making process on all parts of married life.”
Another dentist (who answered ‘no’) explained why it can be bad for business: “We each had our own practices. My husband moved into my practice because his was failing. Now I have added expenses and unequal distribution of resposibility.”
Here are a few comments from the 50% of dentists who say ‘it depends’:
“I know of offices who do very well; others who have constant conflict,” said a Texas dentist. “Often the “back” office does not know what the “front” office is doing. Even if the dentist thinks everything is fine, it may not be. Must be lots of communication to keep things working well.”
“I found it very challenging working with my spouse when we were dentists, and for husband wife team when I was an assistant. The lines of authority weren’t clear and it was very difficult. I suppose given the right personalities and positions it could be successful,” said a California dentist.
“I have seen some that work amazingly smoothly and others that can’t seem to shake the fight they had last night and in a small office and that is POISON!” said a South Carolina dentist. “Watched on the sidelines the exciting 5 year rise and then the excruciating 5 year fall of a partner’s front desk (who had started out as his assistant) . Whew!”
“…I know couples who succeeded and others that were disasters. In most cases, the results had more to do with the state of their marriage than the fact that they worked together,” said a New York oral surgeon.
An Illinois dentist who currently works with her spouse does a good job of putting things into perspective: “Depends on your relationship and working style. My husband spends about 15 hours a week in my dental office. I trust him completely to handle the finances and my patients actually love having him there!”
So what does this all have to do with dental marketing? Nothing directly. But it was interesting that no one said their spouse is involved with the practice marketing. That might be a creative way to involve a spouse with the practice.