Mason Fuller is currently growing a company called Atlas Resell Management. Their company provides a marketplace for used dental equipment. They help doctors and office managers recover cash from unused dental equipment. Their service is comprehensive by appraising, packaging, storing, negotiating, selling and shipping these goods worldwide. Helping their customers since 2004, Atlas Resell Management will turn dental equipment into cash and solve the used equipment problem.
He is focused on building a team of great people at Atlas where they share a set of values based in fairness, honesty, accountability, helpfulness, learning, and positive attitude. Their focus is centered on being of great benefit to their customers & partners. Mason intends to create a lasting, positive impact in the dental equipment industry.
VIDEO - DUwHF #1071 - Mason Fuller
AUDIO - DUwHF #1071 - Mason Fuller
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Howard: It's just a huge honour for me today to be podcast interviewing Mason Fuller all the way from Boise, Idaho, which is where I wish I lived every summer in Phoenix, Arizona. That's my fantasy – to live in Boise in the summer and Phoenix in the winter. Mason Fuller is currently growing a company called Atlas Resell Management. Their company provides a marketplace for used dental equipment. They help doctors and office managers recover cash from unused dental equipment. Their service is comprehensive by appraising packaging, storing, negotiating, selling, and shipping these goods worldwide. Helping their customers since 2004, Atlas Resell Management will turn dental equipment into cash and solve the used equipment problem. He is focused on building a team of great people at Atlas, where they share a set of values based in fairness, honesty, accountability, helpfulness, learning and a positive attitude. Their focus is centred on being of great benefit to their customers and partners. Mason intends to create a lasting, positive impact in the dental equipment industry. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Mason: Thank you Dr. Farran. I'm really excited to be here.
Howard: Oh, please call me Howard. Howard is so much better. Ryan always calls me “dumbass”, but I prefer Howard.
Mason: I'll steer clear of that - I don't know you well enough yet for that!
Howard: So your website is AtlasResell.com. So Atlas – A-t-l-a-s – Resell. So where does Atlas come from? Well now on the spine isn't one of the first vertebrae called...
Mason: Atlas came from the origin of the company. I thought of the idea while I was doing a gap year after college, traveling around the world. I finished my degree and I had a little bit of money in my pocket and I thought, you know, I'm going to blow this for a year and go travel the world and think of what's next.
Howard: You were going to be Anthony Bourdain, traveling the world.
Mason: Yeah. But unfortunately I just saw a headline; he's no more.
Howard: I know it's crazy. We had Spade – rich, famous, successful, married, child – and then Anthony Bourdain. Most people watch that show and thought he was sitting on top of the world, just traveling the world, eating great food with people. Mental illness and substance abuse and all that stuff is a tough disease. It makes dental decay look lame.
Mason: No doubt. I know. It's too bad about that.
Howard: So, atlas is the topmost vertebrae of the backbone articulating with the occipital bone of the skull, but it wasn't based on the atlas vertebrae.
Mason: No, it really wasn't. It was fourteen years ago that we started and e-commerce was just starting to take off and I thought the barriers, the geographic boundaries, have come down and business of all kinds of different persuasions is now available. And so I wanted to build a company and I wasn't quite sure what exactly it was going to look like in the beginning, but I knew that every business in the country has value locked up in idle assets and the owner of that business usually doesn't want to spend their weekends figuring out what to do about that. And I thought I want to solve that problem and try to create value along the way. So, I started out really with not a focus on the dental industry, but quickly found that the dental office has a big problem with used equipment sitting around.
Howard: Did you have any dental roots? I mean did you have a cousin, uncle, aunt that was a dentist or how did you get your eyes on dentistry?
Mason: No. Well, the first couple years of this business I was experimenting trying to find the industry that was going to be the best match for the type of service that we do. And so we were selling, fourteen years ago, starting out to sell old rental tools and unused retail inventories and copy machines. I started out selling door to door on consignment and I thought the first couple of years of this business, I don't know what the industry is going to be, but I'm going to listen to the market and find out where the need actually is. And I'm going to let the P&L kind of guide my way, and so we'd analyse each category and quickly found out that the dental office was a perfect fit for us, not only trying to get all that idle unused equipment out of the doctor's garage or basement or storage shed, but we can actually add value along the way and refurbish it and do a good, thorough diagnostic and try to filter and separate what's worth selling, what's marketable and what should we refurbish.
Howard: So fourteen years. How old are you today?
Howard: Thirty-six. So, fourteen years ago. Let's see, I had algebra, trig...
Mason: Twenty-two, twenty-three.
Howard: So, what made you walk out of college and decided instead of, you know most people they want a job, they're hiring and they've got a resume and all that. What made you just say, no, I'm going to start on my own. How did that happen in your journey?
Mason: I come from a family of entrepreneurs. All we talked about growing up around the dinner table was business and just fun business ideas and I was always coming up with something fun to do over the summer, buying and selling cars. I went and got my finance degree in college, just knowing that I wanted to do business because I've always felt that business is half art, half science and the possibilities are limitless really.
Howard: I really want to talk about that because six thousand kids just graduated from dental school last week and the last couple of weeks and it's so bizarre because what you're saying is so definitive. My dad owned his own restaurant, so I graduated May 11th and it only took me a hundred and thirty-three days to open up my office, September 21st, which turned thirty years old last September 21st. And these kids come out of school and they're all talking on Dentaltown about how bad the associate jobs are and how DSOs are (indistinct) and all this stuff. But it's like you just want to shake them. It's like, well, why isn't it registering to just open up your own dental office? And you're right – the dentists that their mom and dad owned a dental office, that's about a quarter to a third depending on the class in the country you're talking to, they get it. But if your dad owned a farm or a restaurant, they get it. But man, if your mom and dad were employees or your dad worked an eight to five and took a lunch pail and your mom was a stay-home and made cookies, they just don't understand the entrepreneurial. So what you're saying, it was a cultural family thing so the norm for you is everybody worked for themselves.
Mason: Yeah, that's just what they did. I saw how hard my grandfather and my father worked. So it wasn't some delusion about oh I'm going to own my own business and then I get to do whatever I want. I knew how much hard work it was, but it was that I get to use 100% of my skills and talents to try to make the best thing that I can make.
Howard: And the other thing, the dentists, they always come out and the first thing they think is I want to open up a dental office and make Mercedes Benz and Lamborghinis and BMWs and it's like, well first of all, you barely know how to do a crown, a filling and a root canal. So the people that really crush it at that high end, they've all got ten, fifteen, twenty years under their belt and get all these diplomats and courses. But then again that new car, that new luxury car, it's the top of the pyramid. Last year, they sold seventeen million new cars last year in the United States. Everybody knows that. But what they don't talk about is forty-two million used cars were sold. Everybody talks about housing starts. You know, they need to get them up to a million. Last year it was six hundred and twelve thousand new homes were built and sold, but they don't talk about that there were 5.5 million used homes for sale. And I always tell these kids, they say, well I went to all these fancy centres and I want to do lifestyles of the rich and famous. I'm like, great, so you live in downtown Manhattan or Key Biscayne or Beverly Hills? And they go, no, I live in Salina, Kansas. And I'm like, dude, go to the grocery store at Salina, Kansas and tell me how many high-end luxury cars are at the Dillon's grocery store in rural America. So the used market is so much better. Everybody in dentistry will talk about all these great companies like Adec and Pelton & Crane selling all this new stuff but gosh, if the market for cars and houses is like dentistry, I would think the market for used stuff, what you're doing, is significantly better. I mean, if they sell seventeen million new cars to forty-two million used, and six hundred and twelve thousand new homes to 5.5 million used, I would think your business could be bigger than any new selling dental equipment industry, brand name that everybody knows about today.
Mason: I absolutely believe that. I 'd say that's why we found our way into the dental equipment industry because there really wasn't a very organized company or process that did a great job of trying to take this highly variable used product and treat it in a very scientific way to appraise it, assess it, get it in a condition that's saleable and then stand behind it and make sure that whoever's buying it on the other end, they're not buying perfect equipment. Nobody that buys a used car is looking for a perfect brand-new product, but that they're not going to get surprised, that they know exactly what they're buying, and it was priced just right.
Howard: And another thing with B to C market – business to consumer – you know that a new iPhone is very different than a Motorola flip phone from fifteen years ago. But a lot of dentists say, well, I want to impress the patients and I want to put all these brand-new top of the line chairs in. And it's like a consumer doesn't know what a top of line dental chair is. They probably can't name one dental chair brand. And I tell a lot of these kids to go get used stuff and if you take it to where they reupholster cars – if you're reupholstering cars all day long, you can reupholster a dental chair in one night. I've talked dentists out of it where they had six offices and they wanted to get all new six operatories and I’m like just get a car guy to come one night, every night after you close, he does one chair a night and then six nights later those six ops look brand spanking new.
Mason: Well I don't want to talk us up too much, but yes, the value is there, but you also have to go into this with eyes wide open. You have to expect that there are going to be dings or scratches and there are going to be some installation issues and what we're trying to do isn't to necessarily outfit somebody's entire office. We're not a dealer in that sense of the word. We're very e-commerce driven. So I want to take a product that maybe was tried and true and everybody loved that thing and it's a workhorse, it's absolutely rock-solid and they don't make them anymore, but everybody remembers how good they were. And when some doctor has their Gendex 770 inter-oral X-ray go out, I've got one that we have tested and checked the beam strength on and checked the arm tension on and done a workout and sell just that single product to that doctor in need.
Howard: Okay, now what exact X-ray machine did you say? A Gendex what?
Mason: Seven Seventy.
Howard: A Gendex 770 X-ray machine?
Howard: Okay. What would that cost new and what did you sell it for used?
Mason: We sell those refurbished $2500 to $3000. Brand new an inter oral X-ray might be $5000 or $6000.
Howard: So it's about half.
Howard: And what are your top-selling items? I'm on your website, which is atlasresell.com, and I see clicks to buy exam chairs, sterilizers, X-ray, full catalogue. And then to sell/post your own equipment, site concierge, historical pricing, logistics. I've always thought it'd be amazing on the logistics. Do you have a pretty broad name and resources of people who install dental equipment on the side?
Mason: Yeah, we keep a list of independent technicians, but we also have a list of great, big dealer contacts that we love to pass leads along. We have forty-five employees here and most of our effort is on sourcing correctly and so we buy direct from the dentist, we appraise their list and decide what's going to be marketable and what's going to be worth everybody's time. We buy it outright and I send guys all over the country, every corner of the country, and we pick the equipment up, pay them right there on the spot and get it back here to Boise where we refurbish it in our facility and we sell some things fully refurbished, and we also sell things used, as is, the way they are with the condition inspection.
Howard: So do you feel like you're in the wrong geographical location if three out of four dentists are east of the Mississippi River and only one in four are west. Do you sometimes wish you lived in Atlanta or South Carolina or at the most western, Dallas or Chicago?
Mason: No way. I ride my bike on the river to work every morning.
Howard: Oh yeah. So what percent of your business is USA versus international?
Mason: A good chunk of our equipment does go international, 15%, about 20%.
Howard: So it's the 80/20 rule.
Mason: That varies depending on what it is.
Howard: So 80/20. Eighty US/Canada, twenty international?
Mason: Yeah. And a lot of it is still North America.
Howard: So when you're buying from a dentist, what is usually the deal? I mean is it a bankruptcy, is it an estate sale or is it a dentist after fifteen, twenty years just doing a whole dental office remodel? What’s usually the scenario?
Mason: Every single office has something that they're not using that's valuable. I bet you have something in your closet, basement, garage that you've hung onto and you didn't want to take the time to sell it yourself, so we walk in and say, look, I'm going to pay you, not a ton, but it's enough to be worth your while and get this off your hands. So it's upgrades and every single office we contact, I guarantee has something that's of value if they want and we have cash that we spend every day buying up equipment and then we work on the logistics to get it gathered up and back to us. So we also do things on consignment, so some people get emotionally attached to their equipment, they get invested in it and they know they need to get rid of it, but they feel like they've got a price that they need to recover out of it. And so we'll take it on consignment and manage the sale because if you've ever sold anything online, you know it's really difficult. It takes time and there's back and forth communication and not to mention just reputation. We've been at this for fourteen years and we have excellent feedback all around the Internet. So when somebody's buying something from us, they know that I'm going to stand behind it and make sure that everybody's satisfied at the end of the deal.
Howard: That or they'll just go set up a duck blind in that riverbed and wait for you to ride by the water line. You won't see me in my camo. You might hear me eating those Doritos, you might hear the crunching noises. So I click the first button and you have a Westar lot of four Weststar dental patient chairs, you have metallic dental exam chairs, just all kinds of inventory. Is chairs your most popular item, is that the most popular item or is it some of these other ones?
Mason: Probably refurbished sterilizers is our most popular item.
Howard: And why do you think that is?
Mason: Because people don't do preventative maintenance very consistently on those and sterilizers are finicky with temperature, pressure, heat. The water has to be of a certain quality and that's a machine that absolutely requires preventative maintenance and when you don't do it, we need to refurbish it to make it go again.
Howard: Wow, man, you've got so much stuff. I'll just read the categories. Air abrasion, amalgamators, CAD/CAM dental restoration, cosmetic dentistry, curing lights, delivery systems, dental air compressors, dental lab equipment, diagnostic, X-ray censors, endodontic equipment – you've just got a whole kitten caboodle!
Mason: Because we're representative of what you'd find in a dental office. We handle bankruptcies. We handle people opening, closing, satellite practices. Somebody outfits in six operatories, brand new – we'll come in and buy all the old stuff and maybe make the deal more attractive.
Howard: So, how often do you get a bankruptcy?
Mason: Very rarely. When we started out, 2003, 2004, 2005/6, we saw some, and we get leads on equipment from banks and lenders, but it's pretty rare.
Howard: Well, you know, the bankers have come on this podcast from the biggest banks, you know Bank of America, things like that. And they say in the biz that the dentist runs about 8.4% default chance. And it's almost always because they had their license taken away and they almost always have their license taken away for, it's usually alcohol.
Howard: It's usually an addiction issue. It's like 85% alcohol and 15% opioids. And so that's why I'm telling these kids that you know what's dangerous? Opening up a restaurant. I mean 20% of them fail the first year, 40% are done in two years. There's no protective mode. Everybody knows how to cook. Everybody's got an awesome recipe from mom and grandma and their aunt Matilda. But you know, anybody can open up a dry cleaner. The dry cleaner I use – I mean talk about immigration – it's an immigration family, husband and wife, they're open seven to seven, seven days a week, and they live there. Could you imagine some born-an-American kid thinking, oh man, dry cleaner, that's a good business, I'm going to go open it up and I'm going to go open up Monday through Thursday from eight to four. They haven't analysed their competition. These people came from a country where they are so lucky, they are so proud that they have this opportunity and they're making bank. But my God, isn't that crazy?
Mason: That stood out to me when I was traveling around after college. I wanted to go all the way around the world. I bought a one-way ticket to Hong Kong and I would stay in hostels and just wherever I could find a place to sleep. And some of these places, the people who worked in these places, didn't even have their own bed. They would put the chairs from the restaurant together in a row, so they could sleep for a couple of hours and they worked seven days a week just like you said, amazing.
Howard: Yeah. And you know what I really wish they’d do. The largest number of employers for any economist with a PHD is the Federal Reserve – they've got like thirty-six hundred – and I wish they would just try to go sell a story because they keep talking about all these small towns in America that have lost the factory. They need to go back for the last one hundred years and say, well, let's see who started that factory. Was he born in Ohio or did he move all the way from Armenia? Did he come all the way from India or Pakistan because those people that you're walling off, those are the people who vote with their feet and move fifteen thousand miles for an opportunity. They work like that. They work all day every day until they drop dead. And all the factories that I knew, we used to do vacations in Kansas where we would drive around campsite to campsite in all these small towns and we'd get into the history of like, well how did this town start? And they'd tell you where the immigrants came from and they'd tell you the name of the guy that started the factory and all this stuff. And Americans just don't realize. I see it with dentists – when they graduate from dental school, $350,000 in student loans, if they were not born in the United States, they will go start their own practice, work twelve-hour days, six days a week, and in three or four years have all their student loans paid off. If they were born in America, they go buy their practice, at the same time buy a house that costs the same, buy a Bimmer, buy a Lexus, vacation in Hawaii, and you catch back up to them when they're fifty and they're still paying interest on mortgages, debts, student loans. I think being born in America is probably the worst financial thing that will ever happen to you. Born hungry and starving for opportunity and being able to vote with your feet and move to another country, that's what this whole country was built on. So besides exam chairs, you said sterilizers are next because dentists aren't maintenancing them. Oh my God, I'm so guilty of that. What would be third? Exam chairs, sterilizers, what would be third?
Mason: Digital X-ray sensors probably.
Howard: Well let's talk about that.
Mason: Intraoral X-ray.
Howard: I'm really interested in the cordless digital sensors because when you have that cord, you or the assistant's going to trip on that cord at least once a month and you see that $5,000 censor banging off the floor and you're like, oh my God. So what is a new sensor and what are the prices of some of the ones that you're selling?
Mason: Well, it's still, a lot of times it's kind of a replacement sort of situation. Somebody messed up the cord on one of their sensors, but they don't want to have to outfit all new technology or switch to a different brand, so our sweet spot is trying to find that doctor who has just a gap or a hole in their equipment profile and we can get that to them, the equipment only. Software practice management, imaging suites, we don't get into that. We don't do installations, we provide equipment only and we're going to test that sensor, we're going to shoot X-rays on it and check the image quality, but you're going to save a bunch of money too.
Howard: Would you say the average save is half or is that 50% off mostly chairs?
Mason: I'd say that's pretty close.
Howard: Let's start talking about high ticket items. I mean, because I tell people if your chair works then just reupholster, you don't need a new chair. But my gosh, when you go out to buy a CBCT, that's huge money, that's six figures, and I went to your X-ray deal and you just have CBTs, I mean, you just have tons of them. First of all, why are these people giving you them, why do they sell you these CBCTs? They just want to upgrade to a newer, fancier one?
Mason: Well, on high ticket equipment, most commonly it's because going into that equipment they didn't do their back-of-the-napkin arithmetic to come up with the cashflow requirements to support a machine like that. So when we get either CAD/CAM equipment or a cone beam type piece of equipment, sometimes partnerships dissolve and they need to get rid of equipment. But a lot of times they just didn't get the utilization that they were thinking they were going to or they didn't invest in their own training to really fully maximize that equipment. And they already have the equipment but they've moved onto a different kind. That's typically the situation we see.
Howard: You know what you have to realize is that profit is not just by increasing revenues, it's also by cutting costs and it's about a fifty-fifty deal. And some dentists, they never have their eye on cost and they're always under this stress to sell, sell more. And they focus on a flier for marketing, get more new patients, and all this stuff like that, but my dad used to beat into my mind because he had a restaurant and he used to always say the easiest dollar earned is a dollar in expenses saved. The second easiest dollar earned is a dollar in taxes delayed. But the hardest damn dollar you'll ever make is to sell another dollar's worth of whatever it is you do.
Mason: That's great advice.
Howard: I remember he was next door to a Greek restaurant. I 've told Ryan this story several times. My Dad needed pickles so he'd buy a five-gallon pickle bucket – pickles for pickles on a cheeseburger. But the Greek restaurant next door, Nick Nicholas, he needed the pickle juice to make his white hero sauce. So they would take turns buying the five-gallon dill pickle and my dad would go over there and drain all the juice off and go home with the pickles and fill it back up with water. And that's what they have to do to. When you're in a restaurant selling a hamburger, you're not even getting three bucks. And I look at these dental offices, the cheapest thing they sell is an X-ray. Now that might be fifty bucks. I mean a filling's a hundred and fifty. Everything they sell compared to a restaurant? They might come back after lunch and do two MOD fillings for four hundred bucks when the restaurant right next to them at Subway didn't have a $400 lunch hour and they're trying to make money off... I've been reading this lawsuit against the franchise of Subway. A lot of the franchisees are assuming because the national franchisee keeps pushing this $5 sub and they're like, dude, you've been doing that for a decade and our costs are going up. And there's a lot of franchisees that says that's about our breakeven point or maybe slightly at a loss. And we're selling a $6 sandwich. We're selling, in some markets, a $7/$8 sandwich, but when your franchisee keeps telling everybody on TV that it's a $5 sub... And here's a dentist and then I've got to ask you dentists listening – what do you sell in your dental office for five bucks? In fact, what's the cheapest damn thing you sell in your dental office? What is it? A PA? An exam? I mean, what is it?
Mason: Well, yeah, my wife and I talk about that too, how comfortable do you feel eating a dollar cheeseburger? What's in that dollar cheeseburger? Because somebody had to get it and assemble it... I mean, how do you make money on a dollar cheeseburger?
Howard: Well, first of all, you know that cheeseburgers in America right now, most of them are half soy. When we were little, when my mom made meatloaf, she used to get the meat and then she'd get a box of saltines and then she'd crunch up the crackers. That was the meat filler. But today that saltine cracker would be soybean. And the thing I hated, what she did the most, is she'd buy a gallon of milk, but then she had a box of powdered milk and she'd save the last carton and she'd pour half of a real gallon of milk, you know, and the other half. And then top them off with fake powdered milk. And if it was all powdered milk, me and my five sisters and brothers would just say, okay, we're not even going to drink it. We'll just eat cereal with water. But that's how you learn how to increase your profit. I've got a guy up the street from me that has the lowest overhead of anybody I know. And he's so particular on his supplies. He has diagram cards and he personally trains his assistants how much impression material to squeeze out, how much bonding agent. These dentists sit there and say, well, my supplies are 6%. Well his is 3%. And he says that’s because your staff, when they set up a tray, they put two inches of gauze on there and they squeeze out all this impression material and blah, blah, blah. And he's like, man, if you just really just focused on the amount you use, that the amount of use is more important than the price you're paying for the supplies. By the way, you started off, you threw out a word fourteen years ago, you started with the e-commerce play and you're up there by Boise, Idaho, right next door to Washington, home of Amazon. Do you think Amazon's going to get into dentistry in any meaningful way?
Mason: I don't think they're going to get into equipment, you know the dental equipment and consumable supply business is twelve, thirteen billion a year in the U.S.
Howard: Dental consumables are thirteen billion a year?
Mason: Yeah, well equipment and consumables, about thirteen billion a year.
Howard: Okay, thirteen is equipment and consumables.
Mason: Yeah. So that's the whole spend.
Howard: How would that thirteen billion add up?
Mason: Equipment is about a third of that, so that tells you how much supplies, services, software is out there. So I think Amazon is probably focused on the supplies side and I don't see anything stopping them. I think it's affected the stock prices of all the big dealerships significantly this year just because Amazon mentioned the dental equipment industry.
Howard: Hell, they had a booth at the Greater New York Meeting the last two years. I mean the Greater New York's right after Thanksgiving. New York City's the smartest convention because they have their convention right at the perfect time of year. It's right after Thanksgiving. It's fall, the Macy's Day Parade, the weather's awesome. You want to go shopping. Whereas Chicago has their meeting in February. What was your next worst idea? January 31st? And then Boston, are you out of your mind? They have theirs in February and then every time you lecture there, they’re always whining about how they wish they had more attendance. I'm like, hey, you're in Chicago, what about May? What about September? What about October? Why not have a dental meeting when your city's at its finest?
Mason: Yeah. Good question. They're after it and they're building business portals and trying to create a business fulfilment system that's a little bit more custom-tailored to a small office. They're investing heavily in it. eBay is investing in it.
Howard: In dentistry specific?
Howard: eBay and Amazon you think are investing heavily in dental consumables?
Howard: And do you think there'll be any M&A activity? I mean, do you think it'd be the easiest thing for them to do is... like you're next to Burkhart, they're up there near you – do you think there'll be M&A activity where they'll buy a distributor?
Mason: We were talking about that in the last couple of weeks. I wouldn't think so but then again, they bought Whole Foods and that sounded crazy at the beginning, but it's sounding less and less crazy as you see them putting their lockers in the Whole Foods. So, who knows what they're going to do. On the equipment side for our business, we sell on Amazon, we sell on eBay, we sell on Google Shopping, we put our ads in Facebook and on our website.
Howard: Do you ever use the Dentaltown classifieds?
Mason: We do, occasionally. We talk on the forums occasionally.
Howard: Because the Dentaltown classifieds on the app gets a thousand unique visits a day. So the logistics, you said you had fifty or forty-three employees?
Howard: How many of those are in-the-field installers versus an independent line of network people? Say there's people listening to you and they're from Cleveland, Ohio. I mean, would you fly a guy out from Boise to install that chair or do you have independent people in Ohio?
Mason: We don't do any installation. We sell the equipment only, so that's where the trade-off is. When you're buying new, they're going to take care of you start-to-finish, when you're buying from us, we're going to ship you the equipment and you're going to have to arrange with your own technician and hopefully that technician is motivated to help you get the equipment installed.
Howard: You started a list for that though, of independents?
Mason: We do. Yup. So we can always make a referral.
Howard: Is that on the website?
Mason: No, our salespeople handle those referrals.
Howard: I've always thought Dentaltown should have that.
Howard: Yeah, I think Dentaltown should have that. Or we could have a link to it that goes to your site if you guys put it all out there, need a name of someone- Because sometimes they're buying your supplies from mail order, from online, from five different sources and then they have an emergency and I read on Dentaltown all the time, that they'll call the big brand name one in their backyard and he'll say, “You haven't ordered from us for thirty days. I'll tell you what, next Tuesday, the rep, Shirley, is going to be in your area. I'll have her stop by and talk to you.” And he's like, next Tuesday? Damn, it's Thursday and I got a chair that won't lean back or this or that, and there's just a ton of people who worked for these dealers for ten years and now they went onto something else, but they love to be on call or have a side time job. And then there's a lot of independents. Have you seen that one company, it's a franchise, what is it called? Dental fix-it or have you seen that franchise?
Howard: What's that one called?
Mason: It's called Dental Fix.
Howard: Dental Fix?
Mason: Yeah. It's a franchise. I don't know too much about their business, but we've interacted with them over the years.
Howard: Have they been a good source for you to install someone? Like you say, I'll ship you this chair and then you call Dental Fix to install it?
Mason: I think it's a brilliant business model and I think that there's a lot of people eager to learn how to get into the freelance type technician arena and they have some really fantastic technicians in some areas.
Howard: In some areas. But you said you have dealer relationships. What dealers do you work with better than others?
Mason: We've been working with Burkhart for eight years or so and we've been working very closely with Henry Shein at the corporate level. We work with Patterson because now this, this was really an evolution because for the longest time everyone wanted to see used equipment in the garbage because nobody wants doctors to buy that. And we kept trying to make the case to the dealers that not having a used equipment strategy is not a strategy. And that's what led us to this industry because we were going to doctors' houses and the third car garage was full of dental chairs and we thought this is crazy. We need to be seamlessly integrated with this process because, if nothing else, we put some cash on the table that made the sale of the new equipment that much more attractive. We help underwrite these deals. So, year after year we kept trying to make this case and we've really come to an understanding that our customers on the used side, I mean, think of us like kind of like a home depot, like a do-it-yourself dentistry in a lot of ways. Whereas the big dealers, they should service most of the market because most dentists don't want to think too much about their equipment and they're willing to pay for it. And on our end, you can save money if you're willing to do a little bit more leg work and spend the time and understand the place that used equipment has in your portfolio. So we're breaking down barriers all the time and a lot of that comes with having someone in the industry that can stand behind the equipment. And that we're organized, we have a process in testing that equipment and it's not just buying something sight unseen from somebody that's maybe sold something online once or twice before. I think trust is huge in our industry and we have to be improving constantly at learning more and more about how to properly diagnose this equipment and make sure that it's functioning to specification and that we can provide a warranty on it and make it a zero-surprise transaction for the dentist.
Howard: That is the biggest issue. We were talking about that all the time because I think what happens is when they take out so much student loans, they get desensitized the debt. So if you're $350,000 in debt, well what's a $90,000 Bimmer? And if I'm $350,000 in debt, then who cares about buying a $750,000 office? If I'm going to buy a $750,000 office, why not a $500,000 house? And this is a good time to have kids because we're young. So then the woman that he met in dental school, she's a doctor, but now she's going to quit working and raise three kids and I say, you know, this kid's thirty years old and he's well over a million dollars in debt and my God, they can make so many bad decisions so quick. And I love it when guys like you come on the show and talk about that the easiest dollar earned is a dollar in expenses saved, the second easiest dollar earned – we have all these CPAS on – is a dollar in tax delayed. And the third damn hardest dollar you'll ever make is doing another dollar's worth of dentistry. That's the hardest way to do it. You need to save money. And I also see it in offices – if you get an office where everybody is focused on sales and marketing and all that kind of stuff, but no one's got their eye on cost, it gets crazy. So my office manager, she's been there twenty years, Lori is celebrating her twentieth year next Monday, I think the 18th we're having a party. But they're so different in my mind because all they do is stare at cost and they can squeeze twenty-five cents out of any dollar cost you've ever seen in your life. Well that's just everything and that's what you're all about. You know how to save money, Save, save, save. When I was little growing up, what did all of our grandpa's grow up in? The Great Depression. You know, we had World War One – It all started with giving women the right to vote, you remember that?
Mason: I wasn't there.
Howard: They gave them the right to vote and immediately we went into World War One, then the Great Depression, then World War Two. I know it's all from letting them vote. I mean, what else could have caused two world wars in Europe, around Germany?
Mason: I think it was a pretty enlightened idea actually.
Howard: Yeah, I'm just teasing. I'm not a very good comedian, but the bottom line is when we were little, all of our grandparents lived through the depression, so even when they had money, they were perfection at saving money and then they would look at how their kids spend money and it almost made them sick. Hell, if their grandparents came back alive, if their great grandparents came back alive and saw that the average American millennial was eating out twenty-nine out of thirty meals and dropping by Starbucks for a $5 coffee. When I grew up, every gas station in America had a free pot of coffee. You got that little Styrofoam cup. It was black. You might have a little sugar packet and a stick. If you'd have told me when I was ten that someday people will be paying five bucks for a cup of coffee. I'd have thought you were out of your mind, but I think it's going to come back to that.
Mason: Well, I think one of the best ways for an office to be efficient is to be lean on what they have and if they have idle equipment for God's sakes, unload it and especially if you're not using it, unload it. Sell that stuff because it doesn't do you any good. Having something, and especially if it's fully depreciated, that's cash, put that cash to work.
Howard: And here's another thing, because I know my homies they're dentists, they can't listen to you right now because they got to go take their Bimmer in for an oil change. But you know what they could do? And I know a lot of dentists who have done that. They told their dental assistant, you know all this crap back here, we have a museum going on, you sell it and I'll split the money with you. Because you know the dentist isn't going to do it because if the dentist were going to do it, you wouldn't have twenty years' worth of crap back there. So tell her, maybe you're going to a CE course and you're not going to see patients that day or maybe your hygienist's seeing patients and you've got two assistants doing nothing and say, hey, go unload all that. So what would they do? They would go to...
Mason: They'd just call us; just give us a call and we will appraise the value of that equipment. We're totally transparent, we'll tell you what we're selling it for. I need to make three times my money on what we invest in it.
Howard: Okay. What's your phone number?
Mason: 208 286 1775
Howard: Why didn't you go with 1776, the year?
Mason: I tried. It was taken.
Howard: Well, you know what I got here. It was so funny. Back when the phone was everything – and you know, I opened in '87, there was no commercials…
Mason: Yeah A1 Dentistry.
Howard: So I dialled the phone number. I dialled 893-CARE and some little old lady answered the phone and I said, hi, I need your phone number. I'm a dentist here in Ahwatukee and she said, well, I'm not interested in selling. And I said, hey, but I'll give you 100 bucks and she said 100 bucks, get off the phone. So then I waited a day and I called her back and I said 200 bucks. She goes let me think about it. So I went to three days. I called back and I said, how about 300 bucks? She said cash, and I'm not doing any of the work, changing the number and all that kind of stuff. And she came down, I gave her a three Benjamins and then we switched it. That's how we got 893-CARE. But I'll tell you what, now that's big on the Internet. I mean, people all the time, they'll just go to a website and go to the contact because you can tell if the website's not being used or a lot of them are just parked at go-daddy and a lot of people buy that, but phone numbers are amazing. So they call you at 208 2861775. And remember that big rant about the 1776, that's how you remember that phone number where you're driving. 208 2861775 and then who do they ask for?
Mason: They ask for our buyers and I've got five different buyers and they cover different geographic areas and they will basically help you assess the value of that equipment. And we're an open book, we’ll tell you exactly what the market's like and what it's been doing over the last six months. And then we make you an offer. We'll come pick up the equipment, whenever the next time we're in that area and off it goes. We write a check and we're done.
Howard: But it looks like you can do it yourself posting, because one of the buttons says sell/post your own equipment.
Mason: So I'll let people, that's an opt-in kind of thing and you have to talk to us first before we allow that because the quality side – whoever’s buying this on the other end, I need to make sure that it's going to be a smooth and seamless transaction. We have checklists for every different kind of equipment to make sure that it's handled properly. We're not like an eBay where anybody can post, but we'll do that on consignment and you can actually get more cash back if you do something on consignment, but we'll still manage the process for you. We'll help arrange logistics, we'll deal with the payment, we'll deal with the customers.
Howard: And then what's your commission on that?
Mason: It's between 50% and 20% and it totally depends on the value.
Howard: I could never do it online on your website because it says to enter I have to take sixteen plus four equals... and I can't use my calculator because I'm on your website.
Mason: Well, robot.
Howard: Gosh, couldn't you make it easier like one plus one. I could do that. But sixteen plus four, you're kind of stretching it.
Mason: You know, Howard, I'm sure you've heard some customers you shouldn't do business with and you've got to fire those kinds of customers that maybe can't do that kind of...
Howard: Well, hey, if you want to work together we have classified ads but obviously that's not our core competency, it's just a service. But actually our classified ads are doing really well because the brokers selling practices are listening in on their site. Because before the Internet, like in Arizona, if you went to a practice broker, you would find one in Arizona and then he would publish it on the local Arizona Dental Society monthly magazine. But a lot of times the guy that wants to buy a dental office in Arizona right now, he's in the navy and he's in Okinawa and he doesn't get the local or he just got married and he's from Oklahoma and she's from Texas. And so the people list their own stuff and it links back to them. But I think if you ever have any ideas to think outside the box and work together, but I think one thing I've had in my mind over ten years is we used to have a list – and some lists, I don't know if you realize this, but we have a directory of all the online CE courses available and another reason that's successful is because people will be dentists in Florida and they're going to go back to Utah to stay with mom for a week over the summer and they want to make it a business trip so they want to see courses listed in Utah. But on that Dentaltown feature, that wasn't really us, when you went to that CE directory, you just punched that. Then you went to a dentist, Brian Harris, who's in Phoenix and he ran that site and monetized it and all that stuff. So I don't really care how you do it, but I do think what's most important is to keep your eye on the dentists. And the dentists would love to have a directory of people you could call.
Mason: Just give us a call – we've got somebody in every corner of the country and the reputation matters. We only refer people that we know do quality work, but we have fifteen hundred, sixteen hundred pieces of dental equipment that we're selling continuously and it's all priced differently. The condition is different, but when you shop with us, you're going to see the actual pictures, twelve pictures of that exact piece of equipment and you're going to see all the notes that our technicians made when they were checking that piece of equipment out and the price is going to be exactly according to condition. And we're turning that inventory every month. So I've got truckloads showing up every week. It comes out, it goes through our facility, it goes through all of our technician benches, we hook everything up to air, water, we fire the X-rays, and take the photographs because that's the trouble with buying things online, especially if it's used. And I've always felt that it's important to invest that time in properly describing this equipment because some equipment is perfect and it's fully refurbished and some equipment is missing a foot pedal.
Howard: When you're testing the X-ray machines how long does that employee last, the one that's sitting there in the chair getting the X-rays taken of his teeth. How long does that guy keep his job before he finally says that was the fifty-thousandth X-ray?
Mason: We wear radiation badges in the back.
Howard: I mean the patient that you're taking it on. Don't you just have one worker who pretends he's the patient,
Mason: Oh no!
Howard: Take an X-ray of his molar then take a pano and a SAF and all that stuff.
Mason: We've got Stanley, the model that sits in front of it.
Howard: Stanley, the model.
Mason: Stanley, the model, yeah.
Howard: Did you tell the CEO of Shein, Stanley Bergman? What a great guy. Were there any questions? I can't believe we've already hit an hour, but a lot of the dentists have overhead problems. You've been in the biz for fourteen years and any advice on when the dentist has overhead problems?
Mason: The best thing you can do is lean out your current equipment profile and if you're paying debt on something, get the cash back out of it. If it's not an asset that's producing for you, that's the quickest way and then as you're outfitting your practice, think of opportunities. I mean, maybe you buy two used sterilizers and you always keep one in spare, ready to go.
Howard: What about the compressor? One of the questions on Dentaltown, should I buy a two separate engine compressors in case one engine... You know how some of these engines, some of these compressors...
Mason: I absolutely would. I think anything that you rely on for your source of revenue, if it goes down and you're out of business, you want to be redundant. Buy two vacuum pumps and buy two air compressors and have them on a fail over. If one side goes down, you can switch over to the other system and if you're buying used equipment, it's not expensive to do that.
Howard: And that's why I love economists and engineers the most. Mathematicians, statisticians, Gallup people, they don't believe in right and wrong. They believe everything's a trade-off. So it's like, okay, redundancy. Whenever you say the word redundancy, there's got to be... you had to have an engineer friend in your family. Is your brother an engineer?
Mason: No, my brother works with me. He's been here ten years and we're both business guys and we just love building a good business and having a good team and making customers happy.
Howard: You know, an engineer, that's all they think about is redundancy. And when you're a dental office you say your compressor went out and you had to cancel all the patients in the afternoon. I mean that just costs more than the damn compressor. It's always redundancy and with economists and engineers it’s not right or wrong like you say. Well, I think that we should all have electrical cars. Okay, well that's an emotion. But an economist or engineer will sit down and say, okay, here's your trade-off. You want water, oil and gas here, but this, what about the mining, what about to make all the lithium, the import? I love analytical thinking.
Mason: Yeah but if we think about the impact of our consumer behaviour. The other thing I love about our business is it's green. I mean nothing consumes more resources than extracting metals out of the ground and manufacturing things brand new. And here we are throwing tons of stuff away that still is completely viable if it just got a little bit of attention. And so I think if we can create more of a circular economy around how we use equipment through its entire life cycle and get every piece of value that we possibly can, and then when we get it, some of the stuff is going to get refurbished, some of it's going to just be sold as it is and some of it's going to be scrapped and melted back down. And I think our role is we continue to grow and that's really what Resell Management is about. It's about figuring out the most efficient way to manage that life cycle and managing it on behalf of the equipment owners.
Howard: Well said – I loved your example of the linear economy to the circular economy. Linear, you start with a mine, you make something that's used and disposed and that's all you do. Whereas the circular is you make something, you use it and you recycle it. Like now Siemens is going into high rises and say we'll do your lighting for $100,000 a year. And then they have all the incentives to put in the most eco-friendly light bulbs and all that and then when those light bulbs break, they're the ones that want to recycle it. And so now their engineers are designing the light bulb so that when the damn thing burns out, they can recycle it better.
Mason: Wouldn't that be something if I provided sterilization as a service and you just paid me monthly for your sterilization. You don't own the sterilizer, but you'll have the equipment in place and it will be changed out on a regular basis. There's a business idea.
Howard: And I also think you're building an office that, what's that Mexican – Chipotle? I love Chipotle the most because restaurants, small business restaurants, they go into the carpet and the tile and the carpeting and the furry seeds and all, so they don't realize that everything is going to have to be thrown away in six years. My God, you're go in a Chipotle, it's cement floors. Like you go buy a home, it's more expensive to have tile, but if you go to the old world and you look at any thousand-year-old fort, they're all made of rock and stone, so when you build a dental office, if it's tile it will last probably as long as the Roman empire – it will last hundreds of years. So when you're designing your dental office, you can design that thing so there's no recycling, you don't have to redo it every six or seven years. But we went well over an hour, but I just want to say that, I'll never forget you ever because your name is Mason and my oldest son Eric – I had four sons, my oldest one, Eric is having his fourth son any minute now. And his name is going to be Mason and I just want you to know that me and Eric named him after you.
Mason: Oh wow, what an honour. That's fantastic.
Howard: We want him to be money saving. So did you think you were going to have to be a brick layer when you were named Mason?
Mason: No. just a builder of something.
Howard: Is a Mason just a builder of anything, or is it specifically a brick layer?
Mason: I think it's specifically stone work, but my mind is maybe a little more abstract.
Howard: But are you a Freemason?
Mason: No, I don't follow in the tradition of George Washington. I am however a Rotarian. So shout out to the Rotary clubs of the world.
Howard: Right on. I was a charter member of the Ahwatukee Rotary Club and I did that with Pastor Don Steiner who just passed away yesterday, that's so sad. Seriously, kids, keep one eye on the patient and keep one eye on cost. And take your God-given all-natural talent to sit there and use your brain to drive down costs until your customer has the freedom to afford to get their teeth fixed. And when you don't take your eye off cost, then you can't take PPOs, you can't take Medicaid, your customers can't afford you and then you're not a very good dentist. And then people are walking around your village saying, “Well, why don't you go to the dentist?” Because I can't afford the dentist because they don't keep their eye on cost and they have not made dentistry affordable and the rest of the economy, everything every year follows your hand. Everything gets faster, easier, lower cost, higher quality, and smaller and more miniature in size. So keep your eye on the patient. Keep your eye on costs. Mason, thank you so much for helping my homies drive down their overhead.
Mason: You bet. Thank you, Howard. It's been a great talk.
Speaker 1: Remember that old piece of equipment you could still think back to the day it was shiny and new? You picked out the model, selected the accessories, and brought it home to your office. It helped you work and do your job for quite a few years. Then one day, you didn’t need it anymore. Maybe you got an upgraded unit, or maybe the equipment no longer fit your business. So do you remember what you did with it? Did you put it in your basement? Maybe you put it into a warehouse or storage shed. Maybe a technician moved it for you. You talked about selling it, but never got around to it. Actually, you never did have a good way to handle your own equipment. The quick and easy solution was to put it out of sight. It is problematic when valuable healthcare equipment goes unused and cannot be resold efficiently. This equipment takes up space, it’s hard to move, and it’s difficult to ship to worldwide buyers. You never did get around to dealing with the old equipment because it’s hard to sell for many reasons. If you sell it, how much should you charge? You don’t want to charge too much, but then you want to earn as much as you can. If you sell it to someone out of town, how are you going to package and ship it? Selling online is full of complications and selling locally limits your options. You might be spending money on storage while all of this is going on. Most importantly, you just don’t have time for this. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone to take care of the problem? Well, Atlas Frontiers can. Atlas Frontiers Resell Management is your full service solution. Our team handles the used equipment problem for you completely. Atlas Frontiers will appraise value using our extensive pricing database so you are certain to get a fair return. We package and ship to a worldwide audience of buyers. Our team will deinstall, pickup and store your equipment in one of our warehouses across the country. Best of all, Atlas Frontiers works quickly and efficiently so you can get your money out of the equipment fast. Oh yeah, did we mention that you get paid in the process? Yes, we are compensated on commissions after the sale, so there’s no cost to you upfront. Atlas Frontiers is unique in that we do more than simply provide a marketplace for buying and selling. We collaborate with you every step of the way, assisting our customers from pickup, all the way until you receive your check. So don’t carry all that weight by yourself. There’s no need for stress when you can have friendly guidance and collaboration with professionals willing to help. Don’t take our word for it. We have thousands of happy customers who love to say good things about us.
Speaker 2: Atlas Frontiers has been wonderful to work with. They removed and resold our old dental equipment, and I feel they are fair and honest. It’s great to get a check in the mail. We highly recommend Atlas Frontiers to our fellow colleagues.
Speaker 1: We are the most convenient way to sell your equipment. People from around the country are discovering how to free up space and put some headache-free money in the company coffers — with Atlas Frontiers. We’ve given the world a viable business option to handle the used equipment problem. Don’t limit your options. Make used equipment a source of cash instead of something you pay to store. Gain more with Atlas Frontiers. Please remember we thrive off of referrals, so share this video with someone else who may benefit from our services. We’re here to help. Don’t be afraid of the question “What do I do with my used equipment?” any longer. Contact us for a free appraisal.