Associate optometrists who desire to own and manage their own practice are a dying breed. Over the past 10 years, more optometrists have decided they prefer employment over being the owner. Owning and managing a practice while still allotting time for patient care has also become much more difficult. So if you are an owner-optometrist looking to employ an associate who wants to buy in to the business, where do you look? And where do you look anonymously so that your current associates or surrounding optometry practices are unaware?
With an unlimited budget this problem could be easily solved. However, most ODs do not have an unlimited budget, and if they do they are too frugal to spend the money.
Here are three ideas to find the perfect associate who desires to own and manage a practice with other ODs.
- Placement Services – Companies like The Eye Group will recruit an optometrist who meets your associate-to-partner needs. These companies are effective, but costly, charging as much as 10-15 percent of the associate’s first year compensation. For a practice that produces $1 million a year and wants to pay an associate $80k, that translates into a significant chunk of change.
- School Placement Services – Most of the optometry schools have some form of a placement service that matches practice owners with associates. To ensure success, clearly specify you are looking for a future partner. Example of said service.
- Direct Contact – Meeting with different optometrists takes time and requires patience, but it can cost much less than a head hunter. Schedule yourself or your child with an area optometrist of interest. When you go to the appointment, take the time to visit with him or her about the opportunity. Remind them of patient-doctor confidentiality. This approach requires humility and some risk. However, if the payoff is a future partner it’s well worth it. This works best when visiting ODs in commercial settings.
Job postings on sites like Optometry’s Career Center is always an option, but most optometrists I visit with seem to assume the “classified” ads option. Whether you are looking to add an optometrist now or considering one later, finding an optometrist interested in and capable of owning a practice is less common than one might think.