The chiropractic associate compensation type is more of what I call a ‘hybrid’ position. In this situation you, as the owner/chiropractor, will often be treating alongside this doctor (at least for a while). You desire to hire this chiropractic associate to help you out with your patient load but also to build his own practice so you can create another income stream from within your practice. Visit Physical Evidence Chiropractic: David Lipman, DC.
In my experience, of the 3 types of chiropractic associates that I discuss in this article, this is the most difficult to find and manage. Reason being, you are looking for someone that is hungry; someone that is willing to work hard for perhaps little pay in the form of salary but with good incentives to build. If you can find such an associate who is wanting to grow like this, yet truly doesn’t have the ability and/or the desire to actually go out and do it all himself and just needs your guidance, then you may have found a diamond in the rough.
The risks are perhaps obvious. This can easily turn out to be the type of chiropractic associate that I described above, the one who will see his numbers, think he can do so much better down the street on his own, and use your practice as a launching pad. This is the most common fear of any clinic looking to hire a new chiropractic associate.
To find a good associate of this type you truly have to do your due diligence in making sure you hire just the right person. This is one of many very good reasons to consider using a placement agency to do the ‘filtering’ for you. The other side of the coin in this scenario is hiring the doctor who shows all the promise in the world but overtime proves unable or unwilling to perform. This is the doctor that sold you on being ‘highly motivated’ when in reality they just want to be a treating doctor. In the last article in this series we will discuss how to severe ties when this unfortunate situation arises.
Compensation of a chiropractic associate in this position should be generous enough to attempt to ensure long-term loyalty, yet produce a good and fair profit to you. I have consulted with clinics, as well as put into place associates just like this in my clinics. The chiropractic associate made a very small base, say $2,000 to $3,000 per month; however, anything they bring in above a certain amount – often I use the figure of double their base – is then split on a percentage basis.
The reason I like to use ‘double their base’ is that it sets it up like a 50/50 partnership wherein they are paid the first base amount and hence I take the risk in the beginning and then the next equal base amount is paid to me. That way I am back to ‘even’ before any percentage is paid out to the chiropractic associate.
The percentage split should be arranged based on the expense structure of the clinic. In a very expensive to run clinic, a 50/50 split (on gross revenue) might be unreasonable to you the owner. If your overhead is 80% of your total revenue, and you are keeping only 50% of the chiropractic associate’s gross income, then you are potentially only profiting 10% while he is profiting 50% (above the base). That is not a fair arrangement for the owner. However, a smaller satellite or otherwise less expensive to operate clinic might allow you to profit just fine on the 50/50 arrangement. For just that reason, I love to manage chiropractic associates in small clinics; we can both make a good and fair profit and the long-term relationship is more secure!