Whenever I am consulted by a clinic that is new to the challenges of hiring a chiropractic associate, one of the first questions I get is how to structure the compensation. There are many great ways to set up the pay and bonus structures so that it will optimally motivate your new chiropractic associate. In this article I will attempt to discuss some of the best compensation arrangements I have encountered and setup over the years.
However, before we jump into those payment structure scenarios specifically, let’s spend some time reviewing some of the obstacles and mindsets encountered so that you are well up to speed on the realities of working with associates.
I first want to address an issue that I see so often on blog posts, forums and so on concerning the hiring of chiropractic associates. We have all heard it before “… chiropractors eat their own …”
Now I realize that in chiropractic, as in all professions and all areas of life, there are doctors that will take advantage of a chiropractic associate and visa versa. Nevertheless, upon further reflection it must be remembered that this is a free society. No one is forced to work anywhere and hence always has the ability to seek a better paying position elsewhere. In addition, supply and demand most often dictates what a chiropractic associate doctor is paid. This is out of our individual control. These are market forces at work, not the greediness of every chiropractic business owner.
If the average chiropractic associate’s base salary in a certain area is 4 thousand a month should I pay 6 thousand because I am a good guy? Not if I am a good business man I wouldn’t. Now, of course this does not take into account a myriad of mitigating circumstances. What is this particular doctor’s experience? Does he bring a patient base with him? Has he in some way demonstrated or do you have some assurance that the candidate can build up and manage a large patient base on his own – verses just wanting to show up and treat whoever is placed on his schedule?
A common scenario that I have seen arise when a chiropractic associate has been working for a clinic for a good period of time, usually a few years, and they know the numbers that they bring in and the collections that result from their efforts, yet they do not feel their pay has grown relative to those numbers. In fact, in most situations where I see a disgruntled chiropractic associate this is usually the case. The underlying cause of this is often poor communication on the part of the owner (or fear of honestly communicating) and a lack of understanding on the part of the associate.