A.J. Peak, CEO of Peak Dental Services, had a vision for his company before it began — but he needed help. That’s when his father entered the picture.

“I wanted to do something entrepreneurial and I developed a business plan,” Peak said. “I talked my dad into being the guinea pig.”

His father, Dr. Douglas Peak, was a longtime dentist in Minnesota before moving with his wife to Colorado Springs, where he bought a small dental practice in 2003.

“I encouraged him to take the leap and be our test case,” A.J. said. “We’ve had a blast doing this together.”

The duo started Peak Dental Services in Colorado Springs in 2008. They now have 17 offices along the Front Range.

“We’ll have 18 by the end of the year,” Peak said. “We’ve worked at being scalable.”

Peak Dental Services operates somewhat like a law firm, Peak said.

“We have some owner dentists who are like a partner in the law firm,” he said. “We have other dentists who prefer to be an associate.”

Either way, Peak Dental Services’ business model provides support and proven management systems that cover all aspects of the dental industry, including recruiting, marketing, finance, customer service and training. The training includes 125 hours in eight categories, led by dentists and focused on patient care and experience.

“The training is a journey of professional development that provides a compass to success and patient satisfaction,” Peak said.

At the end of 2014, Peak Dental Services had 80 employees; that jumped to 135 the next year and 179 in 2016. It’ll be 230 by the end of this year, said Peak, who noted that financial growth has also tripled in that time.

In 2014, there were eight locations — they’re kind of like franchises, but all have different names — with another added in 2015 and four more last year.

“About half of our locations we’ve built and recruited the dentist for that practice,” Peak said. “Others have been acquisitions when a dentist wants to sell their practice. I like to say we have three flavors: A dentist wants to sell and retire, they want to sell and stay on board full-time or part-time, or they want to take some money off the table by selling maybe half of the practice and come along for the ride.

“No matter what, we’re location-driven with analytics like Starbucks or McDonald’s.”

— Bob Stephens