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Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 20/08/18 18:00


They’ve now started building lots of houses on the dog field where I used to walk the dog. It was inevitable I guess and it took them long enough to get started but now I walk the dog on a concrete path beside the wire fence that separates me from the guys building the houses.

It’s hard work, shifting the bricks, laying the foundations and all of that stuff. I watch with interest.

I know how it works though, the bricklayers, the plumbers, the ‘subbies’, it’s how it works all over the building industry.

It’s how it works all over the dental industry too.

As I watch them though there’s not a lot of “I refuse to work with this trowel” or equivalent. Mostly because these guys bring their own equipment with them which is what self-employed sub-contractors should really do as far as the Inland Revenue are concerned. They don’t turn up and insist that things are just so, they work with this other bricklayer on this side, that the sun doesn’t shine in their eyes, that there isn’t too much noise on site.

Also, if they don’t like it they can just go somewhere else.

Sub-contractors in dentistry are different. And when I say sub-contractors, I mean associates.

There is often a feeling of entitlement with associates and a ‘do you know who I am’ type of attitude and a story I heard today reinforced that whole concept.

When a sub-contractor threatens a practice owner (i.e “if you don’t fix this I’m not seeing patients) as far as I’m concerned that has crossed the line and they don’t want to work there anymore so we should move along and obtain the services of another sub-contractor.

It’s wrong to think you won’t and it’s wrong to think you can’t. This myth that there are not enough around for practices like yours or mine is utterly wrong. There’s not enough around for Oasis or IDH.

Independent practices will find the people they want and will also develop over time to become a business where the sub-contractor model becomes less and less attractive or effective. I would rather not have a business at all than have a sub-contractor who thought they were more important in the business than I or any of my salaried team were. It might have taken me a while to get to this stage but this is the stage we’re at.

As a sub-contractor you come in, do what you’re told and what is asked. You have a job to do for which you are paid and off you go. You give up the rights of the employed individual to shape and mould the business because you are not an employed individual within the practice.

If you want those rights, those long-term advantages, that feeling of belonging then take a salary.


Blog Post Number: 1740

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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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