What a time to consider spending money! More precisely, what a time to consider borrowing money against your family’s future in order to spend it!

Does it make any sense?

With some selling agents, it’s “Buy now! Buy now! Prices are only going up. Quickly! If you don’t buy it, someone else will!”

Actually, I do think it is a good time to buy and become your own boss, but not for these reasons. It is because the breadth of treatments which Associates are able to commercially do is narrowing.

Many Associates are lucky, and are in practices which encourage them to develop their skills. But just as many are not, and are realising that after years of UDA chasing, or being pushed only the private work the Principal doesn’t want, they are actually not going very far. Their career has turned into a job, and one that they are increasingly despising. Why? Is it the patients? The surgery itself?


It’s because the career of ‘dentistry’ isn’t what they thought it would be. It’s stagnating because they can’t get on and do more interesting work, as those treatments simply aren’t promoted. They can’t broaden and develop. And in mid-career there often comes a confidence drop and a creeping realisation that they have accepted that …………. treadmill. That word was used in the early 1990’s, and the late 1990’s; it was used before the 2006 Contract, and it is being used increasingly again now.

That’s the reason I think it is a good time to buy. A way to reinvigorate and re-energise your career and your development – to put in your own hands the freedom to concentrate on the clinical treatments you enjoy, and live the professional life according to your rules, not someone else’s.

Sure, it is more time consuming and tougher than being an Associate. But it can be more rewarding too – personally and clinically. Being in control of your own time and career.

Will you make more money? You should. The NASDAL statistics which are collated from all the NASDAL members’ (nameless) clients each year would indicate that the average earnings per Principal are around twice the average Associate. Of course the word “average” covers a multitude of situations, and there are all sorts of geographic and practice variations, but it provides an indication.

But don’t let money be the only reason – or soon you will be on another treadmill.

And the really good news? If you know how to look, there are still some practices for sale which are NOT overpriced!