Dr. Brandon Kroffke is a general dentist from Cleveland, Ohio. He is only five years out of The OSU COD and less than one year into ownership. He would like to share his story and hopefully inspire someone in a similar position. There is much talk of corporate dental offices pushing mom and pop dental offices from existence. Dental school loan debt can be daunting but can be paid off with hard work and living below your means. Dr. Kroffke is very passionate about helping his patients and considers dentistry his hobby.
VIDEO - DUwHF #972 - Brandon Kroffke
AUDIO - DUwHF #972 - Brandon Kroffke
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Howard: It is just a huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Brandon Kroffke all the way from Brunswick, Ohio. You're down here on your vacation with your lovely bride to be, or existing bride?
Brandon: Mom to be. She's an existing bride to be, three years.
Howard: Been married three years and now you're going to make a baby. So Doctor Brandon Kroffke is a general dentist from Cleveland, Ohio. He is only five years out of The Ohio State University, if someone says they went to OSU or Ohio State University they really didn't go there. Everyone from my house at university always has to say The Ohio State University, and what's the COD stand for?
Brandon: College of Dentistry.
Howard: Okay, The Ohio State University, College of Dentistry, in less than one year into ownership. He would like to share his story and hopefully inspire someone in a similar position. There is much talk of corporate dental offices pushing mom and pop dental offices from existence. Dental school loans can be daunting, but can be paid off with the hard work and living below your means. Doctor Kroffke is very passionate about helping the patients and considers dentistry his hobby. Well, thanks for coming on your… I can't believe you're on vacation, and part of your vacation is to see my dental office and to come on a podcast. How did you talk to your wife into working that in during a vacation?
Brandon: She knows how much I'm on Dentaltown, and I love dentistry so much and you're one of my mentors. I don't know. I don't want to come across as creepy or anything, but she let me cut the trip one day short to come to your house, and I can't believe you're going to have me. I'm just some little dentist and you have all these people with all these credentials, oh my gosh.
Howard: No, it's nice to have people at all different levels of journeys, because you're three years out of school.
Brandon: Five years out.
Howard: Five years out of school.
Howard: 25% of our viewers are still in school, and they probably don't want to hear my advice on what to do when they leave school because they’re like “when you left school thirty years ago”, I'm a dinosaur, so I think it's cool. So 25% of our viewers are still in school, almost all are under thirty, and you just got out five years ago. What lessons did you learn in your journey?
Brandon: Before ownership, I went on a few interviews. I started working for a corporate place, they have twenty offices or so, so I was one of twenty dentists and I had an EFDA, an Expanded Function Dental Assistant. She used to be a dentist in Russia actually. So she was just a workhorse, she'd help make treatment plans, she'd prep a whole quad walk out, I would literally watch your place class two fillings back to back. Medicaid welfare got good at molar endo, taking teeth out, and after about a year I was a butting heads with the other doctor at the office. She actually was dating the owner of all twenty offices, so I was in a hard position, I had to leave. I was having my patients taken from me, or they would show up on her schedule they got crown and bridge.
So I left to another associate position where I worked for a husband and wife, and they had Cerec and all that stuff, so I was milling my own crowns. I didn't get paid very well but it was give and take to learning CE, and I got them to foot the bill to go do some implant training. So that was my second year out. My second year out I've learned through a lot of mistakes. I had some woman claim… I got a fax one day, okay, from a detective at a sex crimes unit. Okay. I was like, oh my God, what could this be about? You know what I mean? So I had to take two polygraph tests to prove my innocence, because this woman said I grabbed her breasts during a tooth extraction.
Howard: Was she put out?
Howard: Was she on laughing gas?
Brandon: Totally awake. There's an assistant in the room the whole time, she had filed for bankruptcy four times, she was trying to extort me.
Howard: Oh, she had filed for bankruptcy.
Brandon: It’s like anyone can say this, and then I’ve got to spend a bunch of money to prove my innocence.
Howard: Did she first ask for money to make it go away, and then you said no, then it went further?
Brandon: So she went to a detective at sex crimes unit, and we got a fax from a lawyer saying pay this and it'll go away.
Howard: He did say that? The lawyer.
Brandon: We can settle for this or it won't go.
Howard: What was the amount?
Brandon: Fifteen grand or something like that. Stupid.
Howard: So you didn’t have to pay because you're young and hot. See I'm old short, fat, and bald. They'd all say, “oh, he did it. He did it.” So I'd have to pay fifty grand. But you're like, dude.
Brandon: It was crazy. So I lost a lot of sleep over it.
Howard: Now does dental malpractice pay for that?
Brandon: No, it was completely separate.
Howard: So it’s private?
Howard: So did you have to get a lawyer.
Brandon: The owner covered the costs, he has like a full time lawyer, a brother-in-law who was a lawyer. I would’ve just walked down there by myself, but he goes ‘no, Brandon, you need someone to represent you’.
Brandon: ‘They can twist your words and manipulate it’.
Brandon: So that was my second year out, just getting little skills on the belt.
Brandon: My third year out the guy wanted me back, so they gave me a big old cash bonus and I went back to my first gig.
Howard: To where you were losing patients to the girl dating the owner?
Brandon: Yeah, so then he put me at his main office, which was like a huge, big office. I was seeing patients that, let's just say a patient has made a denture, or a partial, or something, I would redo it and make it right. I fixed a lot of work and got a lot of training.
Howard: From inside his DSO’s?
Brandon: Yeah, so like he would work like one or two days and just see like problems going forward.
Howard: So he had twenty offices?
Howard: You were doing a lot of rework?
Brandon: From other providers.
Brandon: Via the main lab there. So I got a lot of good experience working hand in hand with lab techs and things. So my fifth year out I had an opportunity present itself.
Howard: So you were with them a year, this other office for a year, and then went back and worked for the first one for three more years.
Howard: Then an opportunity.
Brandon: A couple of different offices, built them up, and an opportunity presented itself in my hometown actually.
Howard: That's Brunswick, Ohio.
Brandon: Brunswick, Ohio.
Howard: Now how big of a town is that?
Brandon: I’d say forty thousand people and there's probably like ten, fifteen dentists.
Howard: Forty thousand and there's ten or fifteen dentists?
Brandon: Yeah, I would say roughly. I was working one day to feel this practice out on Fridays, the practice that I was going to buy, and so I cut back my associate gig to four days, and I was hoping to transition to feel this practice out, and I got it evaluated. Sorry if I'm all over the place.
Howard: No, no, no. But when you said phone you up, did you see it on a classified ad, or did a broker meet you?
Brandon: No. So my mom was at a church event, and turns out a guy I used to play soccer with, his mom, talked to my mom and said ‘so and so's looking to retire and before he talks to a broker, maybe Brandon and him should sit down and talk’. So we just went out to lunch and shot the shit, and I threw a figure out there and his eyes got big.
Howard: Now how old was he?
Brandon: Sixty-two, sixty-threeish. Been practicing for about thirty-two, thirty-three years.
Howard: He was just ready, could he have gone another ten?
Brandon: He was really happy when I was like ‘you know what? You don't need to work anymore?’ He wanted to be there for me to help me transition ownership, and I was pretty much like ‘you're good to go. I got this under control’. So his partner retired three years earlier, the practice had never had an hygienist, or a pano, for that matter. All film. He's referred everything out, extractions, endo.
Howard: No hygienist and no what?
Brandon: No endo or extractions, or implants, no hygiene program. It seems the last ten years of practice everything was getting patched up.
Howard: So we're aware of this hidden value?
Brandon: Yes. So I contacted Tim Lot on Dentaltown.
Brandon: He evaluated it.
Howard: Smartest dental CPA in America.
Brandon: I think it was like two grand or something. He goes ‘you know what? That's where I have the practice right here’. I was like ‘okay, I'm going to buy this automatic’.
Howard: So what did Tim Lot do? You said it cost two grand?
Brandon: I want to say it was around two grand to have it evaluated.
Howard: Tell them who Tim Lot is?
Brandon: Tim Lot’s a CPA on Dentaltown, he's really well known.
Howard: He only does dentists.
Brandon: Only dentists, and I've just seen him comment throughout the years and it's like this guy really knows his stuff, if I'm going to do this one time I might as well do it right.
Howard: You’re so smart, so many people think they're doing the right thing. They'd go to church and they asked their pastor,’ I need an accountant who can you recommend?’. ‘Oh Frank, he's the holiest guy in the church’. Maybe so, maybe he's a nice guy, maybe you can trust him and everything. But he might be his only dental client or he might have had one. When you find a CPA who only does dentists. Oh my God. It's like if you had to have a bypass, would you want to go to a gynecologist, a dermatologist? I mean when you were to go to some guy who only does the organ that's failing on you.
Howard: Tim Lot is that guy. Where's he from?
Brandon: Tim is out West.
Brandon: Yeah, Baltimore actually.
Howard: Yeah, Baltimore.
Brandon: I use Jason.
Howard: Jason, the lawyer out of Orange County? Jason Patrick?
Howard: Jason Wood.
Brandon: That’s it.
Howard: Yeah, Jason. Jason Patrick Wood.
Howard: Jason Patrick Wood, and he’s esquire.
Brandon: He got the deal done fairly quick, in a month or two.
Howard: The reason Jason is a genius is.
Brandon: He helped me with my lease.
Howard: He’s second generation. When he was 10 years old he was listening to all this dental stuff, I mean the guy has been in dentistry basically since the crib.
Brandon: I want to get the point across of pay people that are really good at what they do, and I'm so glad that I was on Dentaltown and it's just such an amazing thing to have. All these dentists have already been through this, you know what I mean? So I wanted to say, I think it was John Huh, ‘So You Want To Be An Owner’ was a really good thread that had a bunch of bullet points with what to do to preparing for ownership.
Howard: John Huh?
Brandon: I think.
Howard: Was he an import?
Brandon: Out of Hawaii.
Howard: Jonathan, Jonathan Fay? or Jonathan Huh? Can you find that? What is his thread?
Brandon: He does ‘so you want to be a practice owner’.
Ryan: I only find John Huh.
Howard: ‘So you want to just want to be a practice owner’.
Brandon: Yeah, he was out of Hawaii, I want to say, and he just had really good pointers. He said go on like a legal zoom, and create your LLC, and just all these little bullet points that helped me out.
Howard: So you went rural, that was probably better than going to Cleveland or Columbus.
Brandon: It’s just thirty minutes out of a major city. Yeah.
Howard: You were born in this town?
Brandon: Yeah, Brunswick.
Howard: So I want to make a point to all the deans out there. I mean one of the biggest things that [inaudible 00:12:02] is always pushing is that if you double the number of dentists, they'll go to these rural areas. It's not true.
Howard: By the way, your wife, where were you born?
Wife: I’m from Strongsville, which is like ten minutes away from Brunswick.
Howard: How big was Strongsville?
Wife: About the same amount of people.
Howard: Forty thousand? That's the thing because that's if you were born in LA, you're not going to go to Salata, Kansas, and when you study, who are the physicians and dentists that go back and serve the rural communities? They're the kids that came from rural communities, because a kid that comes from a town of forty thousand doesn't want to live in downtown Cleveland or downtown Columbus, and you're not going to take some girl born in Scottsdale and then have her graduate and go to Eloy because they need a dentist.
If this country wants to get people in the rural, like they’re always complaining, well there is nobody in this big section of Alaska, because you don't get any Eskimos in the class. People from San Francisco then say ‘well God, we’ve got twenty people from Anchorage, why don't they go to Nome, Alaska or Prudhoe Bay. Well, if you want dentist in Prudhoe Bay then you’ve got to get kids from Prudhoe Bay. In the last thirty years I have all these dentists whining that they're in a town of five thousand in Kansas, and they can't get any hygienists from Wichita, Kansas to come work in their town of five thousand. Well, no hygienist is going to do that. So I said, why don't you do this? Why don't you go to your high school and have an essay contest, and why I want to be a hygienist and if you win the essay contest, she'll get a scholarship to the hygiene school.
First the guy did it, it was like thirty years ago, he did it and he said [inaudible 13:45] he said ‘well I got two’. I said ‘send them both’. So then turned out they didn't get accepted. So then he called the dental side and said ‘wait a minute, your whole class was filled with girls from Wichita how come there are no girls from the rural? It was only call from the dental side, they go ‘you’re right’. So now these two girls that didn't get accepted and got accepted, and then when they graduated yesterday they went into practice. Yeah, so I mean you make your own luck.
Brandon: So the admissions department wants these high GPAs and things, they’ll take people I feel like out of staters or whatever and that's the big thing. I just got lucky finding dentistry, I'm a freaking hillbilly that fell in love with dentistry and I just feel like the stars aligned to get me back to my point.
Howard: So you went to where you wanted to live, you went rural, and you found a woman from rural too? I mean forty thousand, that’s rural.
Brandon: I met my wife in school and just luckily she lived in a town next door to me.
Howard: She in school?
Brandon: Yeah, we always had ambitions of moving down south.
Howard: So you’re a dentist too?
Brandon: She went to law school.
Howard: Are you a lawyer?
Brandon: Compliance specialist.
Wife: I work in compliance. Yeah.
Howard: Ryan, do not give her a copy of this tape. She will get a transcript and sue me. That is awesome, and then you got smart advice. So many dentists, they find out something in their lease that went wrong. And I said ‘well, who's the attorney that you ran the lease by?’ No one.
Brandon: Jason was the man with the lease, he redid the whole lease.
Howard: Jason redid the lease, Tim Lott did the evaluation.
Brandon: He evaluated. He valued it way more than the figure I already threw out there.
Howard: So when I got out of school there was some dentists out here and one of them was my friend, and everyone was looking at offices and then they wanted to go to Scottsdale.
Howard: They wanted to be cosmetics, and this guy found this old man who hadn't done a crown in twenty years. All he did was amalgams.
Brandon: I remember you're telling me?
Howard: Yeah, and he bought this practice and four times a day one of his patients over the last forty years would come in, where his MOBL popped off and all they do is numb it up and do a thousand dollar crown, and he had three chairs, one hygienist, he worked one chair and he had an emergency room. Every day like clockwork he did for crowns for a thousand dollars, had no overhead, bought this thing like a song. Now let's look at the other side. They go buy that million dollar practice, he’s a cosmetic dentist. You don't have the skills, you don't even know how to do the stuff. This guy's doing smile designs and all these diplomas and he can sell all these big cases, and then Humpty Dumpty buys it and he goes from a million to five hundred thousand, he pays a million and within a year he owns a half million dollar practice. So kudos on finding value.
Brandon: So that was a biggie. It's in my hometown and I can hit it off with people. This is my hometown, I'm not going to do you wrong. You know what I mean? It instills that trust. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about sales in dentistry. First time I heard that I'm like I’m not selling crap, but you really showed me that to tell the truth and to be a good dentist you need to do dentistry, and that's being a good leader and selling dentistry. Thank you, because the first time I hear that I was like I'm not a salesman, but it's true. You need to sell dentistry to be a good dentist and to educate and to get stuff done. So you're not having a tooth in your hand or whatever.
Howard: You know it funny because everybody complains about the government because they’re a trillion dollars in debt, well that's only one year. I mean they’re nineteen trillion in debt, but that's only one year's revenue. The same guy complaining, I'll say ‘well, how much do you make a year? He says fifty thousand. I said ‘well, how much do you owe on your house? Hundred and fifty thousand. Oh, so you're three years in debt just on your house, but the governments and idiot because they're one year in debt, Japan's two years in debt. The American consumer, believe it or not it doesn't make sense, but they spend about a hundred and 3% of their income. So they're going to spend all their money. So why are you telling them ‘well, let's work on this broken tooth’.
Brandon: They're going to spend it on iPhones.
Howard: They're going to spend it all anyway. My job is, if you're going to max out your credit card, let's make a good decision and fixed up all your teeth. Because if I don't, you're going to go to Disneyland, Disney World. You're going to blow all your money, every human has a spending problem. Not everything's wrong. When they max out their credit card, all that means is they're going to have to go home and maybe cook dinner instead of going out for dinner. If you want to hide something from a millennial you just put it in the microwave, and then you put it in the oven.
Brandon: Put it in the oven.
Howard: They'll never find it. That's a joke. I wouldn't want to go to a doctor who stands there thinking ‘well, I can't tell fat ass that he's got diabetes and a clogged artery, and something growing in his brain’. I'm just going to work on his chief complaint, he's talking about difficulty breathing. No you want a complete physical, and to get these guys to do a complete exam, and to be passionate enough about it and explain everything you need.
Brandon: It can be confrontational.
Brandon: You know what I mean? But you’ve got to go over and get it out in the air, otherwise they're gone and it's a problem swept underneath the rug.
Howard: I think there’s a lot of self-limiting beliefs. Like they'll say to themselves ‘well, I'm sure he just wants to just do one today’. Well, who made that decision? You start with one tooth dentistry, then events eventually they wise up and go to quadrant and they say ‘well, if this whole quadrant’s going to be numb let's do that’. But then next door in the oral surgeon, he's numbed up all four quadrants, pulling all four wisdom teeth his whole career. If you just start with ‘well, wouldn't you just prefer to just do it all at once?’
Brandon: Lay it on the table.
Howard: Most people just say ‘yeah, let’s just do it all at once’.
Brandon: One thing I'm struggling with is these patients have been coming for thirty years, and you’ve just got to tread lightly. You know what I mean? You don't want to scare anybody away but sometimes you’ve got to tell them what's going on.
Howard: So there’s a lot of undiagnosed perio, whenever dentist doesn’t have a hygienist, there's no perio program.
Brandon: Bleedings not normal.
Howard: Yeah. Yeah. Was that challenging?
Brandon: It's really challenging. It's all about the presentation of it and you’ve just got to lay it on the table and you say ‘if I were you, if you're my mother, father, sister, this stuff is affecting your heart. You could live six years longer, they're saying just by treating the gum disease. You never want to scare anybody away, but you definitely got to show them what's going on in kind of baby steps. So as we're talking single tooth dentistry like Brett Blair does freaking whatever, a million dollars on two days or whatever he does on upper-lower quads. Hopefully in five, ten years I want to be there, but right now it's baby steps. I always hope to like go back to a classroom and do like a lunch and I can't believe that I'm on with Howard Farran. So kids out there, doctors, I'm sorry like I know everything. I don't.
Howard: Well you do.
Brandon: It's so true about living below your means. I graduated with $285,000 in debt, I came from shit, I'm blue collar, I worked three jobs in high school and just to get that weight off my shoulders. I want to get it out there that you don't have to be someone's whipping boy, and you live below your means you can pay your debt off. I hope you guys are passionate how I am, I want to be getting emotional here. I know Howard is passionate about dentistry, but it's definitely possible to pay your loans off and live a good life.
Howard: Did you pay your loans off, all your student loans?
Brandon: This quarter. So I mean I've never done business Taxes, so as soon as that crap’s figured out, Bam.
Howard: But do you think it’s paid off now?
Howard: This yeah.
Brandon: Yeah, this quarter for sure.
Howard: Congratulations. So five years out of school.
Brandon: I'm almost on my goal.
Howard: Five years out of school your student loans are almost paid off.
Brandon: Yeah, let me go back here. So my last associateship, I could show you this email that says ‘Brandon, you're never going to do as good as you did here in mom and pop dentistry. There's no way you're going to financially do as well as you did here’. I am, and in the first year. I'm all PPO, no Medicaid, or welfare. So if you work hard and work on your skills.
Howard: You’re all PPO?
Brandon: No, I take cash patients and PPO.
Howard: But no Medicaid or Medicare.
Brandon: No, if an old timer comes, a long existing patient and they're like we'll do like $100, get your teeth cleaned and cover your x-rays for the year, and we'll put you in not an insurance plan. Nothing illegal, but like a dental savings plan, just like an in-house plan, you know what I mean? So they don't neglect themselves and they can still get their teeth cleaned, and there are still twenty, 30% off the normal UCR rate. We just bumped their fees up to be at the 60% level and I think that's pretty average. I think our crowns below a hundred, like $990, which is that pretty [inaudible 00:23:23].
Howard: Below a thousand.
Howard: Yeah, that’s way above average.
Brandon: That's above average?
Brandon: A crown is what?
Howard: Like Delta for Phoenix pays $740.
Brandon: I’m not getting paid that, that’s just our UCR fee.
Howard: Oh okay. Yeah. Yeah.
Brandon: So like PPO’s will pay what? Like $475.
Brandon: $500. So I got really lucky, Howard, I started as a dental assistant when I was eighteen or nineteen. So my mom went from a dental assistant to being an office manager and I hired my mom when I bought the practice, and her existing dentist is not really thrilled with me, but I have an MVP, Michael Jordan, and upfront.
Howard: Well, he must have known when you were in dental school that she wasn't going to stay loyal to him.
Brandon: I never knew I was going to be a practice owner to tell you the truth.
Howard: But is that stressful for your marriage though, having mom in the business. They say never mix family.
Brandon: You know what? I used to comment on that. Now it's business, I’ve got to go back to my roots and I leave that office I don't talk to my mom again until the next work day.
Howard: So your mom working for you doesn't interfere?
Brandon: No, but our relationship. It's like it's business now, I’ve got to remind myself that.
Howard: Hey, all my boys work with dad for a couple of years.
Brandon: Why is none of your boys a dentist?
Howard: Well, my dad he just [inaudible 24:59], he had Nine Sonics and he kept telling me to dropout of high school and let’s start a Sonic franchise. His friend Roger Carpenter had a hundred Jim Williams out of a thousand. Their kids were all dropping out, and he said ‘you're going to go to four years of Creighton, and then for eight years’, he's like ‘Howwie, you're only a sophomore in ten years, you could own five Sonic drive-ins’. He would take me to dinner, he'd take me to Coffeyville, Kansas and talk to Roger Carpenter and all these guys. So then he thought it was because it was competition with him, so he took me to Dan Carney of Pizza Hut.
Howard: Dan and his wife Beverly were pitching me Pizza Hut franchise, like no. Then I even got to thinking it was the hardest to get into MacDonald’s, but it's like my next door neighbor, Kenny Anderson.
Brandon: I was going to say, you do what you already know.
Howard: Who’s still practicing.
Brandon: Where’s he at?
Howard: No, he's in Wichita, Kansas.
Brandon: Okay, I’m sorry.
Howard: He was my next door neighbor, and I’d go to work with my dad and my dad would make a cheeseburger and tater tots. Kenny would take an x-ray, look through teeth, and do a root canal, and take an impression, he had a lab man. He had an operatory, because back then it was just gold or PFM, I mean I just thought it was the coolest thing and I said ‘dad, dad, I don't want to make hamburgers’. So my boys all do their own thing, I didn't have my boys for me, I had them for them. I said ‘just be happy and healthy.
Brandon: That’s great.
Howard: That's the only two things I've asked from my boys, be happy and healthy, and if you're miserable and unhealthy then that's not what you're supposed to do. But, yeah, you’ve got to have passion. I couldn't imagine doing something I didn't want to do, I feel sorry for people who have to go do something they don't have to do, they hate to do, and watch the clock from eight to five, and that's why they go home and drink Jack Daniels. We drink Jack Daniels because...
Howard: No, we don't even have alcohol in the house.
Howard: I make so many jokes about Irish and alcohol, I shouldn't because we don't even have alcohol in the house. Do you know why I don't have alcohol in my house?
Howard: When I had my boys and we bought our first nice house, it came with the bar and it had a big bar, and it wasn't my mom it was my mother-in-law. So when I saw that bar, what I did is I went to the liquor store and I said ‘I just bought a house it’s got a big bar, give me everything to make the most common drinks if you have a party?’ So he got a couple basket deals and loaded it all up and all that, and my gosh, my mother-in-law walked in she started to cry and she's telling me all the friends she had that didn't know while they were up there sleeping, one of their kids in high school or a daughter in high school was dipping into that. By the time they left home they had a full blown drinking problem, then they went to college and crashed. It was all because you had forty gallons of liquor in the house.
Brandon: Easy access.
Howard: Easy access, friends coming over. So I said all right. So I went and got the big old trash can, wheeled it in the house, threw away like five hundred dollars worth of liquor and we turned it into a juice bar, snacks.
Brandon: That’s amazing.
Howard: Healthy stuff.
Brandon: So you changed right then and there.
Howard: Oh yeah, yeah. It was like I got it, I didn't want to be going down there and measuring how much whiskey was.
Brandon: Old black mark.
Howard: The bottle and all that stuff.
Brandon: We use to water down all the bottles.
Howard: I was in college for a lot of years, and I swear to God, every bad decision that me or any of my friends ever made, ever, involve alcohol. I was very surprised at how my world-class perfect boys could go out some night with a couple of guys, and get hammered, and see their IQ go to almost zero after just six beers. I mean, there's nothing that can make a man become a Neanderthal quicker.
Brandon: I’ve got a funny story for you, Howard, we had 30% of the Mormon kids at Ohio State and there's a golf outing, and we're drinking, and we pull around like the ninth hole. So my buddy was driving and turned a little too fast and flipped the golf cart right in front of like thirty Mormons not drinking. I'm pinned underneath this golf cart, and it like just dragged me, I got all this road rash. I just thank Heaven none of us were seriously hurt. But I’ve just got to be thinking what these guys thought of me there.
Howard: What's also amazing is back when we were little like we have a family member where they had a baby, and on that day the six-year-olds run over by a drunk driver. But back then it was a ticket, and it used to be one third of the fatalities in cars were liquor related, now it's not even the top five. This is more dangerous. Have you looked at the mortality?
Brandon: Oh my God.
Howard: So it was always about thirty thousand a year and ten thousand of those thirty were alcohol induced, or substance abuse, or impaired drivers. Now the impaired drivers has gone down from all the DUI laws and all that stuff.
Howard: But the mortality’s gone up to forty thousand because everybody's driving like this, and it's called distraction. It's funny because when you had alcohol it’s MADD Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, and it was such an outrage because it was kind of a morality issue.
Howard: Like why were you drinking and driving? Now all the goodie two shoes who are all morally, ethically fine, are all texting on Facebook and Instagram while they're driving and that's why I quit riding my bicycle.
Brandon: I was going to say I don’t know many cyclists that haven't been hit.
Howard: Yeah. Well I was in a cycling club and every year in Ahwatukee one of our members was ran over and killed.
Brandon: That’s so messed up. Killed? Killed.
Howard: Killed dead.
Howard: Then we'd cry, and it got to the point where when I ride around South Mountain, okay I don't say there's crucifix around there. I tell you there's nineteen, and I know two of them.
Brandon: I saw all the crosses.
Howard: Two of them I used to ride by and it's like, man.
Brandon: I’m not doing this anymore.
Howard: Yeah, it's weird because if someone told you I'm going to sell my car and get a motorcycle, you'd say well that's crazy. But if you take out the engine and you paddle and exercise, it’s ‘oh, that's a good that's exercise’.
Howard: No, it's a motorcycle. In fact it’s actually a really shitty motorcycle, it doesn’t even have an engine. You're out there peddling your little motor less motorcycle and you get t-boned.
Brandon: There's a lot of cyclists around here, isn’t there?
Howard: I mean the first seventy mile race I was in was the Mesa deal, and there was a woman who just had four kids who was trying to get back in shape. She went through an intersection during a race, cops were standing in the intersection and some lady went right through it and killed her. So yeah you’ve got to pick sportswear [inaudible 00:32:06].
But anyway, so what advice would you give? Okay, they’re in dental kindergarten, this is February. So six thousand of them are going to walk out in May, what advice would you give them?
Brandon: Do your due diligence. Just because you have a DDS everyone's going to add another thousand dollars to the bill. You’ve really just got to do your research. Dentaltown, get on there and look for...
Howard: What do you think is so important about Dentaltown? A lot of them will say ‘well, I'm in a Facebook group’.
Howard: Well what’s the difference between Dentaltown and a Facebook group?
Brandon: Facebook. Dentaltown, you can be anonymous and post. I haven't posted a lot, I'm a long time lurker. I feel like there's been enough posts to learn from. I'll post the case, and ask questions about it. That's the big difference. On Facebook people can criticize you and on Dentaltown you're anonymous. You can post a case and not worry about people.
Howard: So on Facebook you can’t be anonymous.
Howard: So that's a big plus for you on Dentaltown?
Brandon: Like I said, I'm not a huge poster in my time, I'm researching. I'll plug in something on the toolbar, you know what I mean? Bring it up and research it or see what threads are going on that day. Facebook, there's different groups. There's a lot of pictures and videos, I think that's really good. It's easier to post, I feel like I've had trouble posting.
Howard: The first thing I liked the most about message board format. I’ve never liked newsfeeds, whether it’s the initial email groups, or Friendster, Myspace, now Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, because let's say you posted a really neat case or a neat video, or say it was something I really want to do and then six months later I'm like ‘oh, I want to go find that’. I mean what am I going to do?
Brandon: Search through.
Howard: Just start scrolling back, so it doesn't have to search ability. The second thing I noticed about a Facebook group is like, say this is cosmetic dentistry group though everybody in there is all the same choir. If you come in there and say ‘oh well, I don't believe this or I don't believe in your bone grafting, or I don't believe in this and that’. Oh then they unfriend you. I think Facebook is one of the most polarizing forces in America, because you have all these camps. There's been some research on it with Twitter where they got all the tweets from republicans, and all the tweets from democrats and they showed that there was almost no intercrossing. So when your mom's out there tweeting all this republican stuff.
Brandon: You’re in your own little world [inaudible 00:35:08] criticism.
Howard: Everybody's in a bubble. I think what Dentaltown is if you post a case in your group on Facebook and everybody says ‘oh, you walk on water’.
Howard: ‘You're so right’. Like the “mercury is toxic” group, oh my God, you’ve got to be a holistic guy that believes if you have a silver filling in your mouth that your hair's going to fall out, you’ll get thyroid cancer.
Brandon: Is that a group?
Howard: Oh yeah, and you can walk in there and say ‘okay, just explain this. Why do you eat shrimp and clams? Do the shrimp, I mean shrimp will put more absorbable, ethyl and methyl mercury in your bloodstream within twenty minutes of eating it than anything you could ever measure out of amalgam to this day. They'll show some film ‘well if you have an amalgam it looks like there's smoke coming out’, we're not talking about some smoke coming off a video, we're talking about blood measurements of ethyl and methyl mercury. Yeah, go eat a bowl of popcorn shrimp, and all these people that are anti mercury, they're sitting there eating their salmon, and their seafood. But the point is, I don't care if you agree with me or disagree with me that's not the question. The question on Dentaltown, you can’t unfriend anybody. There’s a quarter of a million dentists and you post something and someone says ‘dude, you're full of shit’. He's still going to be there in the morning. Whereas on Facebook you just unfriend, and you keep unfriending until you live in this little insulated bubble, and I don't think it's good for society.
Brandon: Right, it isn’t. That’s why on Dentaltown... say new product comes out, whatever. You can search it, see what people are saying about it, and do your own research.
Howard: Yeah, and that’s another thing, you're in a Facebook group and someone names a product, say 3M’s bonding agent or whatever, on Dentaltown you could go search that deal and see every thread that ever talked about it. But you might be in a Facebook group and there might be five hundred people there, there might not even be an expert on that bonding agent. I mean there might not even be one, a lot of these experts you need ten, twenty, fifty thousand people before you get an expert in everything. You know what I mean?
Brandon: Oh yeah. This just popped in my head. When are you guys going to stop doing podcasts do you think?
Howard: I don't know. I don't know. Oh I found the thread, ‘so you want to be an owner’. ‘So you want to be an owner’.
Brandon: Yeah, that was a good one.
Howard: So did you ever post on this thread?
Brandon: I have no idea if I did, it was a year or two ago.
Howard: Are you still going to be able to be anonymous after...
Brandon: I don't care, I've posted probably ten or twenty times. My names Zoltan.
Howard: So you should take a selfie of us and post it on that thread. Do you want to do it? Or you want to not do it?
Brandon: The reliven it. We'll have to take another selfie.
Howard: We can take another.
Brandon: Another good one for the kids in school, it's ‘so you want to be a great associate’. Do you ever have Steven Kuzma on the show?
Howard: Ryan, do you know who that is?
Ryan: Steven Kuzma?
Brandon: He's given a lot of great information out there.
Ryan: Do you know how to spell Kuzma?
Brandon: K-U-Z-M-A. I've never met him, but he just has a lot of great information. He started another thread, great YouTube videos.
Ryan: No, it doesn’t look like we’ve had him.
Brandon: He seems like a really good guy, I don't know where he practices at.
Howard: So what was his name? John who? Who started this?
Brandon: John Huh. But as you guys are doing that I want to give a shout out to, we had this instructor in school his name was Ronald Kirby, he died earlier this year. He was a really good instructor, and taught us all how to cut our first crown prep on tooth number thirty. So Ron thank you so much for all your hard work.
Howard: Did he die early?
Brandon: He looked really young, sixty, seventies. He had prostate cancer. He was down in the Preclinic with the monomer, the monomer causes slow growing tumors. Guys it's not going to kill you immediately, when you're all down there making your three unit bridge with the monomer, and sure enough they got him.
Howard: Well what I thought was very weird is I'm in dental school when I was there.
Brandon: So many hazardous things.
Howard: We used to line the [inaudible 00:39:39] with asbestos.
Howard: But it wasn't like asbestos in the wall, you'd burn out your investment. So when you would take that out the asbestos was glowing red.
Brandon: My God.
Howard: Then you would clinch it.
Brandon: [inaudible 00:39:50].
Howard: Yeah, you would clinch it. So I mean we're picking up glowing red asbestos, and then as I got out of school you’d see all these commercials for asbestos.
Howard: Mesothelioma and I’m sitting there thinking, oh my God. What was the other thread? Did you find the other thread, Ryan? So you're saying Stephen Kuzma was that instructor?
Brandon: No, he just started a thread.
Brandon: I just kind of went on a tangent there. I wanted to cover a few things from being on the show and that just popped into my head. Doctor Kirby was a great instructor.
Howard: So what other advice would you give for young people?
Brandon: While you're a student CE is free. I tried to do as much these [inaudible 00:40:35] events and Disney is great. If you ever get a chance Disney's customer service, like we're in the service industry as Howard says. I mean, you’ve got to know how to talk to people and treat people.
Howard: But Dentaltown has four hundred and eleven online CE courses and they're all free.
Brandon: Yes, I didn’t know that.
Howard: While you're still in [inaudible 00:40:54] from around the world. Some of my biggest fans [inaudible 00:40:59].
Brandon: That is so cool.
Howard: This girl I met in Tanzania, it was in Tanzania or Ethiopia, and when she saw it was me she literally cried.
Brandon: That is wild.
Howard: Because she said that those online courses were just…
Brandon: Do realize the impact you’ve had on so many people?
Howard: So much more than her dental school which was in, what's the big sea port of Somalia? Darkmahaal? But anyway it starts with a D, but anyway, her whole village saved up and sent her to this school. First she thought the school was great, until she found our four hundred and eleven courses for free on Dentaltown, and she did that. Then I was in Kathmandu at that dental school and that's what the dental surgeons told me. They go ‘well, we go to class because they take attendance and everything, but we just sit in the back and we watch those free courses from Dentaltown.
Brandon: From Dentaltown. Well how do you feel knowing that? How do you feel that there’s so many dentists that could literally start crying. I mean do you realize that Dentaltown was going to have this impact?
Howard: No, it's the townies that made the impact. I mean if I did Dentaltown and took it in my closet it would be nothing. The only reason Dentaltown is anything is all the people posting and sharing.
Brandon: I think that was the first thread. So you might want to take a tooth out or whatever. Tommy Murph.
Howard: Tom Murph. Yeah.
Brandon: I thought that was a cool thread. I think that was the first thread I remember reading.
Howard: He's got guts because a lot of people don't realize how vicious the turf battles are.
Brandon: Oh yeah, with all the surgeries.
Howard: Orthodontists do not want you learning Ortho in school, I mean I've asked a thousand orthodontists to make me online CE. Do you know who the only people that make an online CE in orthodontics for general dentists? Orthodontists from other countries.
Howard: Because there's only one in this country, a board certified orthodontist Richard Litt. But he is, I think he's Italian.
Brandon: [inaudible 00:43:03].
Howard: He's just such a bull in a race horse. He's the only guy who doesn't care, everyone else cares and there'll be blackballed for life. Like Richard Litt is like public enemy number one for ten thousand orthodontists in the United States, and Richard Litt sticks to his guns. He said ‘look, first of all, half of America lives in these small rural towns without any specialists’.
Howard: ‘I need the general dentists to be able to recognize, diagnose, and treat’. All the orthodontists are at a hundred and forty-seven Metros, and when you tell a woman in a town of five thousand ‘well your daughter needs to see an orthodontist, and it's a two hour drive that way, they're not going to go. So Richard Litt says the rural picked up half the tab of the costs of America, half the tab of the costs of the dental school, the med school, the law school. So if you send a dentist back to the town of five thousand, it's got to be able to treat the whole population. It's really public health dentistry 101, and all the other providers like endodontists, they teach you all you want.
Brandon: I’ve realized that.
Howard: But oral surgeons have been very upset with Tom Murphy.
Brandon: Really? He's at Myrtle Beach.
Howard: He wouldn't even come on the podcast show.
Brandon: He won’t?
Howard: He won’t. We're great friends, totally love, admire, respect each other. He's like ‘dude, I’d just be more stoking the fire with the oral surgeons’.
Brandon: I didn’t even realize that.
Howard: Yeah. He said ‘it's too politically incorrect to come on your show’.
Brandon: Did he know he is going to be getting into that?
Howard: Well the thing that’s so amazing is, I'll give dentistry the biggest black eye it can get right now, and that is the oral surgery man he teaches people how to extract teeth. Do you realize 8% of all emergency room visits are odontogenic in origin? That is a market failure among dentistry, so imagine that you fall off your bike, break your leg, and you go to the hospital. This is what happens [inaudible 00:45:03].
Brandon: They don’t do legs.
Howard: Sorry we don't do legs, we used do arms, and ears, and a head. I mean you're a frigging doctor, you're in a town of five thousand, it's public health dentistry. When mom brings you a crying baby or her eighty-eight year old Alzheimer’s mother who needs a denture, it doesn't matter. You're on the front line of public health and you need to learn all these skills. Like when you listen to someone talk about occlusion and TMJ, well I can figure it out within two hours that you've never done one ortho case in your life. I mean, if this guy would have done one orthodontic case, he'd realize everything he said the last half hour is bullshit. Then only some of the greatest people like Carl Misch in implantology, first he was a denturist and then these guys are saying ‘these implants don't work, the implants snap into the gumline’ and Carl's looking at this God awful bite. He's like ‘well God, you got an F on everything else, I'm surprised the implant even worked. So cross training, and that's why I recommend the FAGD because the FAGD forces you to study in sixteen different areas. When I was a kid I was arguing with the head guy, the AGD at Arizona State, but I'm not ever going to do implants.
Howard: I'm not going to do braces. He was putting his arm around me saying ‘just do it’.
Brandon: You’re so glad you did.
Howard: I’m so glad wiser people told me it's cross training and even if you'll never do an orthodontic case, you have to learn orthodontics or you can't diagnose it.
Brandon: How many years though did you work on getting your FAGD?
Howard: My FAGD, I think right out of school. It was a hundred dollars a year for like five years, it was a big thing about this podcast [inaudible 00:46:48]. What I like about the podcast, back to that rural area, I’m in Phoenix. So phoenix, you know it has suburbs, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe.
Brandon: Phoenix is huge, I didn’t realize how big.
Howard: Dude, if I leave my house and I go visit my friend in Queen Creek, on the interstate it's one hour, and I go the other way and visit my friend in Sun City, it's an hour. So it's two hours on an interstate.
Brandon: That’s crazy.
Howard: So every single night I could find something going on in Phoenix, but say you live in Parsons, Kansas and you only have one study club and it’s like the last Thursday of every month. Usually, maybe if you're lucky, one of the oral surgeons, endodontists, whatever, whatever, whatever, but they just don't have a rich environment. I was really surprised to learn that the people in the rural had the same average commute as an [inaudible 00:47:40], but I always thought if you had an hour commute you live in LA. No, these people in rural, they'll practice in a town of five thousand and they live an hour away in a town of twelve hundred. But everybody's getting on the road and going for an hour.
So I thought, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to multitask, because I knew the only competent thing I had on the podcast, the only thing I could add to it is, I got everybody's phone number. I mean I can call anybody and get them on the show, and I thought what I'm going to do is instead of her taking one hour at a study club, she's got an hour each way I can give her two hours a day.
Howard: Because I know the number one key to success is getting the most right information in your head. So if these little kids come out of school and they can't afford to go to all these courses, whatever, but they're on the treadmill every day for an hour, they get an hour commute to work, and I mean I've done one thousand of the greatest minds in dentistry, at all various stages of their career.
Brandon: I’m going back and re-listening to them, you know what I mean? It’s amazing.
Brandon: You have so much knowledge out there on the podcasts.
Howard: Well, I've done so many that I'm convinced I'm the only person who listened to all of them, a lot just complain and somebody will say ‘well, you release too many I can’t listen to them all’. I don't want it to be Barnes and noble where you walk in there and it's one book, I want you to have a plethora of books to choose from. If molar endo is kicking your butt, I've done the twenty-five greatest endodontists of all time. If you don't understand ortho, I've done the twenty-five greatest orthodontists. If you’re trying to build a website, I've done everybody who owns a company that only makes websites for dentists. I've done them all. So what I want to do is I want you to sit there and say, not I'm going to watch this because it's says Tuesday show. I mean, it's not like politically incorrect on a Friday night where you just get whatever time, no this is a library. I want this to be a searchable library.
Brandon: You can get a bad show or something, you don’t like the topic you can just go back and find another one.
Howard: Yeah. My God, and you start listening to it and you'd think, that guy’s an idiot, and I'm not talking about my guest I'm just talking about me. You can go to the next show. You know what I mean?
Brandon: Yeah, no-one's going to want to listen to me.
Howard: No, they will because I actually want to dress up. So many of the kids in dental kindergarten, they're getting out whether they should do a GPR. They don't listen to some grandpa with four grandkids who went through that three decades ago. In fact when you left, the guy that we left with he was a Brandon, and he's out about the same amount as you and he worked for some DSO’s.
Brandon: I was going to say does he live around here or something?
Howard: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Brandon: In Tooth Deck.
Howard: Yeah. Oh, is that what it said on his truck, Tuthak?
Brandon: Yeah. So I wanted to say he said he had a great way to get into implants and stuff like that. I’ve got some buddies that are missing teeth or cousins that are edentulous below the age of thirty, it doesn't matter. What did he like to say? Your family.
Howard: My family tree is research primates.
Howard: My first sinus lift was on my mother-in-law, I mean they’re free primates. Furthermore, your uncle Henry doesn't care if the implant fails.
Brandon: I think he doesn’t.
Howard: I mean I remember asking people way back then ‘so yeah, but what if it fails?’ My uncle was like ‘like I give a shit’. I mean like who cares? The Farran family tree should be like researched by geneticists to find out what went wrong. I'm the most annoying thing about working at my dad and my uncle’s since, since I'm suburbian to them they would get up every thirty minutes to take a cigarette break. My Dad one time got up, took a cigarette break, and then walked around to the bar at Brad's place. He says ‘I think I'm going to go get a shot, I mean I'm going to be in that chair another hour. So me and my sisters sit there while dad goes out and smokes a cigarette, goes to the bar, gets a shot, and we’re like ‘okay dad’. Because no patient in the world would ever do that to you, but when it's your dad, or your uncle, or your cousin.
Brandon: Was everyone smokers in your family growing up? It was normal with a smoker.
Howard: I mean every house had an ashtray on every table, I mean that was Kansas in the sixties. I was born in ’62, I mean that was still when they were having commercials saying it was good for you. Yeah. I don't really know anybody back then.
Brandon: Who didn’t?
Howard: Well within the family sometimes like both grandpas, both grandmas, pretty much everyone. It’s a different era.
Brandon: Is your father still alive?
Brandon: I’m sorry to hear that.
Howard: Yeah. Yeah. But I'm next.
Brandon: Jeez Louise.
Howard: He keeps saying come on grandpa’s dead.
Brandon: You have two grandbabies already?
Howard: I got two grandbabies walking and two in the oven.
Brandon: That's awesome.
Howard: Our motto is family first business second, and like they say on Pawn Stars.
Brandon: Oh yeah.
Howard: You ever watched that show?
Brandon: Not for a while but I know all those guys.
Howard: You know how he always says family first, business second. Okay, so here's one thing I'm going to call bull on. They believe the death of family practice because the DSO’s are in there recruiting saying ‘dude, you can't come out, and you can't compete, you can't do that, you’ve got to join us. We're going to have half the market in twenty years’. When I go and talk to dental schools, they all tell me that it's the same dog and pony show.
Brandon: It’s scare tactics.
Howard: It’s scare tactics, and they believe it. Then I say ‘okay, well let's do a little thing. Forget my opinion let's go with data. When you go into those DSO’s, the average associate didn’t last two years. So if it's as great panacea that they should be looking forward to, then how come everybody that graduated every year for the last five years, why did they all quit in a year or two? So I said ‘do they get a job at a DSO love it, and stay there until death do us part?
Brandon: If you're there for five years it seems like you're stuck, I've seen good and bad and it has a place, I guess, for some people. Some companies are better than others, do your due diligence to try to talk to the previous associate just face to face and see what they say. I think you can gather a lot, because there are really good DSO’s to work for and you just want to be treated well.
Howard: What I like about the DSO’s is they provide employment.
Brandon: Exactly, it was a great vehicle.
Howard: The private market is not doing well, there's so many dentists who close their office Thursday at five and don’t come back until Monday.
Howard: The phone rings off the hook Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and they don't even know or care. Number two, when you study employee turnover in the high tech sector, in any sector, the millennials are mostly looking for job experience. If they ever get a place where someone's mentoring them, teaching them, they're learning, they're growing, I tell the DSO’s you should have all the Dentaltown courses for free for your employees. Because if they're growing and they're learning, they'll stay. It's kind of like mowing the lawn, if you’re just going to go out there and push the lawnmower eight hours a day, seven days a week, they're going to quit.
Howard: But if they think they're going to learn about gardening and learn more.
Brandon: Be a valued member.
Brandon: I’ve been snake bit a few times if you can't tell, but you definitely want to be treated well and how you’d want to treat someone else. So if people are a lot of turnover, it's probably not a good place to be.
Howard: Well that was the fastest hour podcasts ever.
Howard: So tell me this, you're in Ohio. So what's the weather today in Ohio?
Brandon: I don't think it was that bad last week.
Howard: Because I'm embarrassed that you came to Phoenix this time of the year, because this is unseasonably freezing cold.
Brandon: It is. We get to pool days last week, we're at the Four Seasons.
Howard: So you came to Phoenix and you went to the Corona?
Brandon: Went to Scottsdale, did some hiking for the first three or four days, and then Sedona is beautiful and drove up there, two hours north. We had intentions of going to the Grand Canyon for one day, but that's going to be another trip.
Brandon: So just too much hiking, the elevation gets you too.
Howard: Oh my God.
Brandon: Have you been up there?
Howard: Oh yeah, all the time.
Brandon: All the time.
Howard: That's the thing people don't realize, who wins all the marathon races? Kenyans, and where do they live?
Brandon: High altitude.
Howard: Six thousand feet. Where are all the marathons? At sea level, New York, San Diego.
Brandon: They just crush it.
Howard: Rome, and it's funny because I went to Mount Everest. The porters are their village’s like nineteen thousand feet, they don't use any oxygen, I mean they run up and down there all day long.
Brandon: What are they called? The Sherpa.
Howard: Yeah, Sherpa’s. Yeah, and you what Sherpa is there? You know what Sherpa is? It's their last name.
Brandon: Oh really?
Howard: Because they're porters on all the other mountains.
Brandon: They're all one clan?
Howard: But Sherpa. Yeah. It's the most common last name at that place.
Brandon: Oh really?
Howard: But yeah. So did you go to Flagstaff?
Brandon: We didn’t go to Flagstaff.
Howard: No. Yeah.
Brandon: I heard it was really cool there.
Howard: Yeah, Arizona’s neat. I mean you go on the Mexican border, have you gone to Mexico? You’ve got to desert, you got sand dunes all the way to the mountain ski resorts.
Brandon: So this is Ahwatukee, it’s a Guadalupe Indian reservation around here.
Howard: Yeah, so Arizona is 25% of the land is nineteen different Indian reservations.
Brandon: Okay, cool.
Howard: So you always know where the reservations are because the city comes to an abrupt stop, and then it's just reservation.
Brandon: I know the [inaudible 00:57:38].
Howard: It's that way because they're, I don't want to get political, but they're micromanaged by The Bureau of Indian Affairs and I listened to all the shit that they have to do. Imagine every move you make you had to get it approved by an agency in Washington DC, and after living here for thirty years it's like, my gosh. I mean I don't want to get political, but it's sad.
Brandon: But what brought you to Arizona? My last question.
Howard: So that's a great question and I'll answer that. So I decided I was going to be a dentist in the sixth grade, no that was in the seventh grade, when we moved from St Patrick's to St Francis and went to high school. My next door neighbor's Kenny Anderson, and Kenny Anderson it was so neat because back then they were just a lot more than hope, growth, and abundancy, not fear and scarcity. All the dentists on the west side, every Tuesday and Thursday, would all eat lunch at the Rose Bowl Bowling Alley on the west side on West Street. So I would go observe with him on summer school days anytime I could, and he would always take and by me lunch, which I thought was really special and cool. We go to the Rose Bowl deal and he'd buy lunch, and those dentists back then, no computers, they'd have like a tablet of grid paper and they’d just have their year and their net income, and all their lines were going down.
The reason is because University of Missouri, Kansas City was dumping out like a hundred and sixty kids at a time, Creighton was doing a hundred, and the population of Wichita, Kansas was the same. In fact it was two hundred and eighty-five thousand every census for like ten, twenty years because in Wichita, every time a girl gets pregnant a guy leaves town. So the population was staying in the same while they're dumping a couple hundred dentists on there, and all through the seventh and eighth grade, all the way through high school, three years of Creighton, and the first three years of dental school. I mean I was watching their lines, they were very transparent with their numbers every year, they made less money than the year before, and I thought that's really weird that every year you make less money than the year before. So I wrote the Department of Economic Security in Washington DC, and it was in 1986 and I said I graduate next year in ‘87, where is the job growth in America?
This report was like a size of a really big coloring book size thing, and they said the United States between 1985 and 2000 would create thirty million new jobs, and half would be in five cities. Now looking back they were completely right, it was St Petersburg, Tampa, Boston, Phoenix, Orange County, and Silicon Valley, they really nailed it. They said half of the jobs would be created in those five cities in the next fifteen years, and so then I thought ‘okay, Boston's freezing cold, I hated Florida because of the insects, I just don't like all the insects, and Grant in Kansas. I thought everybody in California was a hippie on drugs and all this, and I wanted to have a family and I thought if I raise my kids in California and they’d all be Holly weird, I thought Hollywood was just not a place to raise kids.
Not knowing how conservative [inaudible 01:00:59] California. So I picked Phoenix. So I wrote the Department of Economic Security in Phoenix and I said I want to come out there when I graduate, can you give me any economic projections for the area? So they sent me back tons of data, and before computers, I bought a six foot by four foot map, I traced out the three hundred census tracks.
Brandon: I remember you telling me.
Howard: They give me the seventy, the eighty, and the eighty-five mini census. So I made an index card for each one of the three hundred tracks, and then I wrote the Arizona State Board of Examiners for a list of all the licensed dentists names and addresses. So I put a white pen for every endodontist, yellow for orthodontist, green gums, periodontist, black oral surgeon, color-coded all out. I had all my census tracks and then I got the six year street widening project and the six year water upgrading project.
Howard: So I went there and I took a magic marker and where all the interstates were going to be expanded, and then where the water pipe was coming, because that's growth. Then I went through the three hundred and three cards, and I started at the top of the list dentist per thousand. Well when you got to downtown Phoenix, Downtown Tempe, I mean there was a place, I'll never forget, it was like sixty-four hundred in South McClintock, this is like thirty years ago. Then a medical dental building that had like twenty dentists in there, and then all these medical dental buildings and the ratios would get down to like one in five hundred. Then you can see where they were building the new roads, and they were making a two lane road, a four lane road, bringing in water pipes.
Howard: It started off with number one which was North Scottsdale, one dentist for sixty-five hundred. Mine was number two at one dentist sixty-three hundred. I gave my other one to my buddy, best buddy in school Steve Hase, and he went there and just flipping crushed it.
Brandon: Is he there still?
Howard: No, he actually.
Brandon: Sold there.
Howard: Him and his wife decided to move to Texas, so they’re actually in Texas, but the demographics were mind blowing. But the reason I didn't go to Scottsdale because I'm from Kansas, and whenever I was up in Scottsdale.
Brandon: Yeah, it felt like people’s noses were up in the air.
Howard: It was just really fancy shoes and fancy this. If you're at the Scottsdale study club a dentist will say to you ‘well, have you met Mister Jones?’ ‘Which one is he?’ He’s the guy over there wearing the Birkenstock shoe, and I’m like ‘you know the name of his shoe?’ That's fucking weird. So I just realized that I was born in Kansas, and I'm just not Scottsdale. What I liked about Phoenix is the Indian reservations that way, across the street from my office is the Guadalupe Indian reservation where 25% of my practice speak Spanish. I don't know how to speak Spanish, but I’m pretty certain I know how to say ‘Howard friend’ in Spanish. It's Gordo cracker, I hear that a lot. But anyway, so I wanted to be in Phoenix, and plus I didn't want to raise my four boys in a town where everybody has a Beamer on their sixteenth birthday. What I hated the most is we just crushed it, because the demographics and they were building ninety homes a month here when... So when I set up it was twenty-five thousand.
ow, thirty years later, I'm rich, and retired, and it's eighty-five thousand. I just rode the wave and so many people always say to me ‘yeah, well you were lucky because you set up in Ahwatukee.
Brandon: What do attribute the…?
Howard: Dude, I was born a thousand miles away from that.
Brandon: The research.
Howard: Where did they come from?
Howard: That is my dad. My dad and the drive-ins.
Brandon: [inaudible 01:04:44] had to have previous knowledge.
Howard: I used to cry, my dad used to make me so upset, it would be like on a Saturday morning.
Brandon: You’d go to the red light and count all the cars.
Howard: Yeah. Yeah, he drove me out to some damn intersection, gave me a five dollar bill, and says ‘Howie, I'm thinking about buying this. She's got a hundred and eighty-five foot frontage, it's deep enough. But when that light turned red I need to know where that last car is, because they need to be able to pull in. I can't have my entrance way blocked by a red light. Then he’d pick me up like twelve hours later. I'm out there, all my normal friends are riding their bike, and they were going to functions, and I'm sitting here on it with a piece of chalk. But I mean, my God, he used to go to is advertising in Channel Ten, KAKE, and he said ‘Howie, I’m going to go in there and we’re going to talk about advertising’. He goes ‘you need to learn this shit. But when we go in there I don't want to hear you say one word. You just shut the hell up and sit in the corner and learn something’.
I remember one time I thought I had the whole weekend off, and he called me up and says ‘Howie, great news’ Les Donovan who owns the big car lot company, he goes ‘I was just talking to him at the back of the church and this weekend he's having a new six people are going on a two day course on how to sell cars. I said “well, can my Howie go and sit in the back, I promise you won't say a damn word’.
Brandon: That’s awesome.
Howard: I was like twelve years old, like really that's good news? What would the bad news be then? Are you just going to shoot me?
Brandon: You were his only boy.
Howard: So what my dental office was, what my dental office really was, is my dad's tenth Sonic drive-in the demographics, the marketing, the advertising.
Brandon: That’s amazing. That’s awesome. The practice I bought, I didn't even know he was a dentist. I grew up in this town, like I didn't even know there was an office there. I mean I got a big old sign on both sides and they opened a Starbucks right across the street.
Howard: Do you have a city newspaper?
Howard: You know what the best advertising I ever did in my life, and you got to do.
Brandon: I know when the babies are introducing our new patient so and so.
Howard: The new patient of the month.
Brandon: Well if it's a boy, we're going to name it Howard.
Howard: Marketing. Humans have to feel something, when they see something it's out of sight, out of mind. They have to feel something and they'll secrete a hormone, oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin. If you piss them off adrenaline, noradrenaline. Why do humans like roller coasters? They feel something. Why they like to eat food? They feel something. Why do they kiss, and snuggle, and hug? They feel something. That's why they like their dog, they feel something. When you'd sit there deal, a cleaning exam, and x-ray thirty dollars, first of all it's not timely for most people, because most people, maybe they just had their teeth cleaned two months ago or three months ago, four months ago, and aren't going to go back, but they're not due for another three or four months.
So they didn't even see it. But every time I had a baby, I took out a full page ad and it said Howard Farran would like to announce his new patient of the month. Eric Wells Farran 9/11/1990. Oh my God. Hundred baby cars, I mean they’d bring in ninety dollar car seats. Three months later some hunchback lady with a walker would walk in and with these socks that took her a hundred days to knit. I mean those babies. I mean it was an unbelievable connection, because what's the number one goal of the species? To survive and reproduce. When you have a baby in their community, I mean that's what the whole damn community is about. I recommend that.
Brandon: I will for sure do that. How did you get that idea?
Howard: I don't know. But the funniest thing is putting those kids in every one of the marketing ads I did as they went through, Australia kindergarten to six, five, then Akimel Middle School, then it was high school. I mean teachers were like my friends. I would go shopping in a grocery store and some lady, I wouldn't even know, some eighty year old lady that you just thought just shopping there next to you turning and go ‘how's Eric, Greg, Ryan and Zack doing?
Brandon: Oh my God.
Howard: I was like what? What? Who are you? How do you know the names of my children? But again you're trying to build trust, and integrity, and empathy, and when they know that you're part of the community...
Brandon: I mean I knew it is so rewarding to practice in my own practice, that's why I got into dentistry in the first place. But there's something to say about having your own practice and giving back, it really does make all the difference. Howard, you're the freaking man. Thank you so much.
Howard: Thank you and good luck on your baby and remember that when you're my age, everything you do in dentistry won’t mean a fraction of that little baby there. I mean Eric, Greg, Ryan and Zach is like 99% and everything else I do is just gravy.