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January 14th, 2020

Productive Stories: Dr. Maxwell Thaney

Each month in 2020 we’ll be featuring a story from a Productive Dentist, which are some of the top producing dentists in the nation.

These dentists don’t possess a supernatural power or use a silver bullet to transform their practices. They are real doctors practicing dentistry in vastly different geographic regions across the nation with varying service mixes. There is, however, a pattern found in productive dentists that sets them apart.

Productive Dentists Are:

  • Veracious about digesting quality CE
  • Adept at making small adjustments for big wins
  • Practice discipline and adaptability
  • Engage with expert guidance to get to the next level
  • Willing to look in the mirror and take ownership
Dr. Bruce B. Baird with Dr. Max Thaney

Our first Productive Story in 2020 features Dr. Maxwell Thaney. Practicing in Brockport, NY, Dr. Thaney has been with PDA for the last six years. In 2016 Dr. Thaney was inducted into the PDA Grand Slam Club: an elite club reserved for doctors that consistently produce over $1,000 an hour, provide exceptional team leadership and are stewards in their community. This honor is held by less than 50 doctors across the United States and requires a nomination process and extensive evaluation to gain entry.

“There are a lot of things you don’t know because you just don’t know.”
– Dr. Maxwell Thaney

In 2010 Dr. Thaney decided to buy his first practice in Brockport. The doctor he purchased the practice from was retiring but had to take another job because he hadn’t saved enough money to fully retire.

That was a lightbulb moment for Dr. Thaney. “I knew by 2014 that if I wanted to retire in 30 years, I’d better start planning. By 2014 I’d doubled the size of the practice, I wanted to expand, but needed to eliminate some stress points first.” Maxwell said. “I met PDA at a Productivity Workshop in Rochester at that time and knew I wanted to bring in some expert guidance to help with those things I knew I just didn’t know.”

In 2015, Dr. Thaney successfully merged another practice in so they could triple the size of their practice and square footage. “One of the pain points I suffered from at that time was the frustration when I would take a look at our P&L,” said Maxwell. “When I was an associate, I always knew what I’d be making. But as an owner, while I could see that we were doing great things such as expanding, buying equipment, taking our team on a cruise, I had zero idea where my money was really going or how I was paying myself.”

Small Changes For A Big Reward

“For doctors, the mental and psychological freedom that comes from stability with finances is incredible.” Productive Dentist Academy CEO Victoria Peterson explains, “There is an emotional impact that money carries. Only by gaining freedom can one become the highest functioning clinician possible.

“That freedom is achieved through discipline. And discipline comes from knowledge. And knowledge comes from understanding your numbers. And understanding your numbers comes from organizing your financials. It’s rare that dentists in the US are looking at their budget to actual.”

Realizing that a change was needed, Dr. Thaney shifted the way he approached finances. “I had to figure out where the money had to go. Cash, credit, checking deposit all goes into one account. When everything clears, we separate that out into our P&L. What I learned was that I was grossly underpaying myself. So, I started look at what normally comes through, and I set benchmarks to see where things needed to go.”

Maxwell brought in his office manager to help with accountability. Her buy-in ultimately helped lower the overall stress in the practice. “I explained to my office manager that I take a lot of pride in what we do. If we can’t control our budget then I won’t be able to control my stress.”

They established a game plan to become debt free by September 2019 — a goal they have achieved.

Maxwell says having a deep understanding that making change couldn’t be overnight helped the process. “You can’t go from a 36% labor cost to 22% overnight. It’s a combination of ratcheting down over time.” Maxwell states.

“For me, I knew I really wanted to connect with patients. I wanted to go into an operatory saying, ‘If you really like this guy, you can do his dentistry for free.’ Knowing that we are focused on paying down our debt put me at ease inside the op.”

PDA Co-Founder and one of America’s most productive dentists Dr. Bruce B. Baird agrees, “The reality is it’s hard to provide the highest quality of dentistry and truly focus 100% of your time and attention on the patient in the chair, when you’re worried about paying your bills.”

Commit to Succeed

By making the choice to be disciplined and establishing a budget puts the dentist in the best position to practice productively.

“For most offices problems pop up on the productivity side.” Maxwell continues, “As a doctor, is your time best spent helping patients, or is it spending your lunch hour trying to figure out how to get a cotton roll for nineteen cents? Or are you focusing on neither and daydreaming about who is going to win the Superbowl?”

Setting a budget and committing to it makes relationships with patients stronger. “Now I know if I’m really excited about attending a CE event, we can easily see if we have budget allocated for that or make choices about how we’ll need to lean out to make it a reality.”

Dr. Thaney attributes the success of his practice to his team, his dogged tenacity, energizing and continuous CE, and the guidance of PDA and his peers.

Discover YOUR Success

Success is waiting for you within your practice. If you’re ready to discover more, schedule a time with our PDA Client Success Specialist. Schedule now to Discover your potential.  


Recommended Book: Profit First by Michael Michalowicz

Dr. Maxwell Thaney Podcast Interview

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