Dental Practice Construction Nearly Complete for Maine Dentist

Machias Dental: Almost Ready to Move In!

Building Machias Dental
Laying the pavement
[click to enlarge]

Earlier this year, I began to tell you the tale of Machias Dental. Owned by Dr. James Sparaga and his wife Kathy, it’s a successful practice in rural Maine. In fact, the practice was so successful it outgrew its building.

So the Sparagas embarked on an ambitious project to construct the dental practice of their dreams. They decided they would improve their working lives and pave the way for retirement by building a facility large enough to support an associate.

Building Machias Dental
“The areal shot shows a parking lot full of cancellations,” jokes Dr. Sparaga.
[click to enlarge]

Needless to say, building a dental facility from the ground up is no small task. Between the weather and contractors, the staffing issues and the equipment problems, they’ve had their hands full for many months.

However, their saga is finally drawing to a close! The building has been constructed and the pavement laid. Soon enough, the staff will move in, and the patients will begin to arrive…

Catch up on the dental practice construction story in Machias, Maine. And stay tuned for further updates!

Dental Patient Marketing a Top Priority for Dentist’s New Facility

How Do You Fill a New Facility with Patients? New Patient Marketing

Though construction is nearly complete, the financial work just goes on and on. Dr. Sparaga’s wife Kathy is continuously crunching numbers for the bank, for the governmental guaranteeing agencies (USDA), and for the insurance companies. “It seems endless,” explains the doctor, “and it’s constantly evolving with changes in equipment pricing and cost overruns in the project.”

Building Machias Dental
It all comes down to this: the new facility
[click to enlarge]

It’s unfortunate but not terribly surprising that the project has run over budget. Given that, the Sparagas are holding the line on items like trash compactors, garden pavers, and piezosurgery equipment.

However, they are increasing their marketing to create booking pressure sufficient to supply patients for two dentists. After analyzing their advertising budget, the Sparagas decided to change their strategy a little bit. For the moment, they will reallocate their television funds to additional radio and direct mail in extended geographic areas. (They intend to develop new TV ads within a year.)

I asked Dr. Sparaga about the reasons behind this marketing switch.

“We’ve found that the initial penetration of a geographic area is best served with radio, followed by direct mail and finally TV,” he told me. “Television is too expensive to introduce ourselves. However, when it’s applied after the initial invasion of other media, TV has worked to validate what the public has been hearing and reading about.

“The biggest cases we’ve done have been strongly influenced by TV validation,” he added.

Want to catch up on this story? Here’s what the Sparagas have been doing…

Dental Associate Search Ends for Machias Dental

Associate Dentist Slated to Join Dental Practice in New Facility

Dr. Sparaga is delighted to have found a quality dental associate who will mesh with his practice and enjoy its rural location.

“Our associate will be bringing a fresh set of skills to the office, as portrayed in his Caliper test,” said Dr. Sparaga. “Much of his personality profile matches mine (no wonder I liked him!), so we know we’ll see eye-to-eye on big-picture issues.”

Building Machias Dental
What’s inside the walls
makes all the difference
[click to enlarge]
Building Machias Dental
The new facility includes
33800 feet of category
6 computer cable
[click to enlarge]

The Caliper test is a pre-employment personality test. It’s a quantitative way of measuring the compatibility of a candidate with a particular position at a particular company. Many employers who use the Caliper system swear by its results.

Dr Sparaga continued enthusiastically. “His high marks on empathetic interaction will balance my high ‘D’ developmental tendencies, and I welcome help in that crucial area. It appears we’ll have no shortage of enthusiasm over great new developments in dentistry as we concentrate on the personnel development that will be necessary to make our practice a success. It’s an exciting time for us.”

Want to catch up on this story? Here’s what the Sparagas have been doing…

Building a Dental Practice Requires Hygienists

A New Facility Is Only as Valuable as the Employees Who Work There

Building Machias Dental
As winter comes to end,
so too does construction…
[click to enlarge]

As construction of Machias Dental’s new facility moves into its final stages, personnel issues are coming to the forefront. Since an associate dentist will be joining the practice at its new location, it will be essential to have enough team members to adequately support both dentists.

In the meantime, one of Dr. Sparaga’s hygienists had to resign to take over hospice care for her mother, so the practice has incorporated assisted hygiene into the mix for the moment. And it’s working pretty well: with a seasoned assistant, one RDH is producing close to what two RDHs used to produce per day.

Building Machias Dental Building Machias Dental
Sometimes the workers are happy. Sometimes they
are not enthused.

The Sparagas are currently advertising for two hygienists. The supply of hygienists seems to be more than adequate, as they have received multiple calls from their national search ads on the internet from candidates saying no one’s hiring. But the practice location in rural Maine has proved quite a challenge.

“We’ve learned that a well-paying job, a new facility, and a dynamic working environment is not enough to attract most young people,” sighed Dr. Sparaga. “They want lifestyle first. Since this lifestyle is not as glittery and vibrant as in more urban and affluent areas, it will take the exceptional individual to fill our needs.”

The doctor is also unwilling to settle for less than the best. “We’ve had a few hygienists try it for a few months who could not meet our minimum performance standards, so we asked them to move on. We know what’s possible, and we won’t settle for mediocre job skills.”

The Dental Associate of Your Dreams

Paging Dr. Right!

Work is nearly complete on Dr. Jim Sparaga’s new dental facility. His team is looking forward to moving in to their spacious new headquarters. But the doctor also knows that the new facility will require expanding his team…

Building Machias Dental
The new facility is nearly complete!
[click to enlarge]

Finding an associate is a common retirement strategy for dentists, and Dr. Sparaga was no exception. He was hoping to find an enthusiastic young associate who could help him recoup some of the construction expenses. And if he grooms his successor along the way, so much the better.

Dr. Sparaga and his wife wrote up an ad top attract the right sort of associate to their practice in rural Maine. They knew it wouldn’t be fore everybody, but they crossed their fingers. (See below for the text of their ad.)

They also had two “head-hunters” out there beating the bushes for an associate. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well as they’d hoped. “All we got were dozens of inquiries from green-card seeking dentists in places like Bangalore and Sumatra,” sighed Dr. Sparaga.

Then the doctor got a call from a dental student who had happened across their ad on the internet. When Dr. Sparaga learned he went to Pitt, his heart swelled a little bit, because that’s his alma mater too.

Had the Sparagas found their new associate? His resume was in order, he seemed enthusiastic about Maine, and they got on well over the phone. So the Pitt student brought his wife and young children to Maine for a visit. They kayake and attended the local blueberry festival. The whole family loved the downeast lifestyle.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with him and his family,” enthused Dr. Sparaga. “Luck or Karma? Maybe it’s the new facility?”

Here’s the original ad for a dental associate:


Soar with eagles n the rugged coast of Maine with a dynamic team in a state-of-the-art facility. Instead of fighting traffic, take part in our adventure: providing complete dentistry to our neighbors in our rural coastal town. An unusual practice opportunity, practicing big-city dentistry in an historic village. Machias is the Shiretown, with the county court system, University of Maine, hospital, and airport (with a new one coming).

Help take our patients to the next level with excellent communication skills, while advancing your career with Implants, Cerec, Lasers, Invisalign, anti-infective perio management, conscious sedation, and on-site lab.

Take the leap and join us in our new office, currently under construction, overlooking the Machias River Falls.

Want to catch up on this story? Here’s what the Sparagas have been doing…


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