Recession Helps Power Demand for Dental Temps
Having never had experience in the dental industry (except as a patient), Barbara Rosenzweig, president of Edina-based dental staffing firm Dental People, learned some things about staffing the hard way. When her dentist brother needed to temporarily replace a hygienist on his staff, he turned to Dental People. But the hygienist Rosenzweig sent to his office didn’t work out. It turned out the hygienist was a southpaw and Rosenzweig’s brother’s office was equipped only for right-handed employees. Rosenzweig learned to ask whether a dental office has ambidextrous equipment.
Trial by fire is how you learn the ins and outs of a business—even if that business was given to you as a gift. Three years ago on Mother’s Day, Rosenzweig’s husband and daughters presented her with the paperwork for Dental People, which had been in business for about a dozen years but had never quite taken off. Her husband believed that Rosenzweig’s ebullient personality would be well suited to running a staffing firm; she could draw on the business acumen she gained from her Mary Kay cosmetics sales business. “It turns out in about a month’s time that I was actually really good at [running the business],” she says. Rosenzweig soon paid her husband back for the cost of the company.
In the three years she’s owned Dental People, revenues have tripled to $750,000 and she hopes to top out the year at $1 million. Rosenzweig says her firm is thriving during the economic downturn. Like many businesses, dental offices are holding off on hiring permanent staff, filling the gap with short-term employees. This year, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners honored Rosenzweig as its “emerging woman business owner of the year.”
At any given time, Dental People has 200 hygienists, dentists, dental assistants, and front-office employees available on a contract or contract-to-hire basis. Although two employees handle Dental People’s administrative duties, Rosenzweig personally interviews each new hire, and is the person dental-office managers call 24-7 to find a dental pro for planned or last-minute absences.
“When dentists go on vacation, [they used to] shut down their office. Now they call us . . . and they can keep their office open and still make money while they’re on vacation,” she says.
Rosenzweig wants to extend the Dental People staffing model to the medical and pharmaceutical industries within the next year. She’s also looking at opening a Dental People office in Atlanta and plans to expand nationally. Currently, the firm places most of its employees in Minnesota and Wisconsin.