Playing the percentages

Playing the percentages

Jun 01, 2007

Let's return to our story that began in this column in the May issue.

Our practice owner, Dr. Gene Moss, had just made a difficult decision. The practice was not doing well, so he would have to reduce his associate's pay percentage if their working relationship was to continue.

His associate, Ben Collier (our hero), had taken the news stoically, but after much thought decided to call Lou Swinney (our dark-caped villain) and have lunch.

(Note: Any comparison Mr. Swinney may have to any actual sales rep, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)

At the restaurant

Dr. Ben Collier eased patiently into a parking spot not far from the front door.

A moment later, Lou Swinney wheeled into the lot, just missing a small SUV parked between him and Ben's black Subaru station wagon.

"Hey, Doc! It's good to see you!" Lou bellowed over the SUV.

Ben grinned and sauntered along at the proper angle in order to meet Lou at the door.

After they were seated, Lou started the conversation.

"Dr. Collier, you mentioned over the phone that you wanted to start your own practice."

"Yeah," Ben replied sheepishly. "I've been thinking about it lot lately!"

"How come?" Lou probed.

"Well, really I need to make a little more money, and I think that owning a business is probably the way to go."

Lou came half out of his chair and circled his right arm in a huge loop. "You got that right!"

Ben blushed a little.

He knew this middle-aged-man's body language in front of potential clients was a bit awkward.

Ben wasn't being totally truthful, but decided Lou didn't need to know everything.

Lou continued. "I have all kinds of contacts. We can set you up and things will be just peachy."

Just then the waitress brought some water, but the two men didn't seem to notice.

"What do I need to start a practice?"

"Just give me a list of the toys and drugs you want, and I will take care of the rest."

"What about paying for all that?"

"I dunno. We can work out something. Our company can carry you for a few months, and then you can work something out with the bank."

"What about start-up costs?"

"It will be easy. Just talk to a banker. They want to lend money to a fence post these days. You should be able to get all the dough you want," Lou opined.

At Fibbs & O'Brian Accounting

Gene Moss sat upright and stiff. In front of him sat Gilbert O'Brian.

"Welcome back to our office. You called and were concerned. How can we help you?"

Gene's neck muscles tensed.

He began to speak somewhat timidly.

"Gil, I'm lookin' at these financial statements, and I need to know something."

"Shoot!" came the quick reply.