Nobody likes to give away money.
In business, it’s not a good practice.
But as Dentists we do it day in day out without really blinking an eyelid.
Do we not?
Just look at your fees, for example.
Do you charge the same fee for an occlusal pit filling on a lower first premolar as you would also charge for a deep occlusal bomb filling on an upper left second molar?
How about a crown?
Is your fee the same for a crown, whether it’s an anterior crown with full aesthetics, an upper premolar crown or a lower second molar crown with fully subgingival margins?
In most Dental Offices it’s one fee for one procedure, despite the difficulty and despite the variances in times taken.
How about a hygiene visit?
Do you charge the same fee for an eighteen-year-old non-smoker as you would to clean the teeth of an older sixty-a-day smoker?
Sure, in some industries this one price for all is a common practice….
Why should the price of an M sized shirt be the same as the price for an XXL shirt?
Or denim jeans? There’s more fabric used in a forty-six inch pair of Levis than there is in a thirty-two inch pair?
And anyone who’s ever built a house will know that builders charge by the inch.
Or by the millimeter!!
Want that shower head four inches higher? That’ll cost!!
Plus there’s a variance fee for changes to the plan.
The automotive industry is great at it too…
Add some more.
So how’s your Dental Practice then?
Why should the patients with the easy fillings and easy to do crowns be subsidizing those patients with the more challenging restorations?
Why shouldn’t those with the extra level of difficulty incur a surcharge above normal and customary?
It’s the same with administration costs in your dental office.
It’s amazing to me how on the whole, we as Dental Office owners are happily going about our way absorbing costs that should be passed on.
Or more importantly, as owners, we’re often not factoring in and allowing for a lot of subtle expenses that eat away at our fiscal, and emotional bottom lines.
Let’s look at merchant fees.
Do you charge extra to those clients who pay with a card?
Or does every patient pay the same, regardless of whether they use folding, or Debit, or Charge, or Credit?
Because the cost to your business for each of these transactions is different.
So why shouldn’t the user pay? Depending?
A lot of dentists don’t even set their fees and then add on a merchant factor.
A lot of Dental Offices set their fees based purely on what their neighbours’ fees are….
How about a factor in your fees for theft, refunds, and the like?
I once asked a friend who owned a café how he dealt with the thought of theft, working in a cash business like that. His answer to me was summed up simply:
“We just factor it in”
He factors in a percentage that he believes fair that pays him for the anguish, and loss, of cash and goods stolen.
And he’s right.
It’s not a perfect world out there.
There will always be theft, and exploitation.
So he passes the cost of it on to the consumer…
In Dentistry, allowing for this theft and exploitation, when price and fee setting, allows you a lot more wiggle room when put in a sticky situation.
The other thing that wiggle room allows you is that it allows you to be far more benevolent whenever you want to be, without begrudging your favours.
And that’s nice.
This week on a chat forum there was a long discussion about a denture repair where the spouse of the patient returned to the office [a week after the repair was done] complaining that the fees of the office were too high.
Yes, a week after!
Anyway, the forum discussion waxed and waned as to what to do.
My thoughts, which were way different from most, was to just give the couple all, yes *ALL* their money back.
Because there’s a power in being able to just drop the rope in a tug of war…
The anguish created in winning a battle on principle sometimes is a greater cost than the money outlaid in a refund…
And you can do those sorts of refunds if you build in some wiggle room in your fees.
Finally, and I’ve covered this before, the last thing that Dentist owners rarely do is pay themselves first, and pay themselves for all of their roles in their office.
And that’s a crime.
As owners, we pay our associate dentists a percentage of collections, just for drilling teeth, and the associate dentist gets to hang up his drill at the end of the day and go home.
Yet as owner-dentists, we rarely pay ourselves upfront the same percentage, just for drilling teeth.
And most owner-dentists rarely pay themselves for the H.R., for the payroll, for the admin, and for the marketing roles they perform.
So they’re short-changing themselves…
And they’re also probably not paying a dividend to the business owners either, for the money invested in the business?
Because if it was invested in property or in the bank, it would be paying some return…
So make sure you’re not being over-charitable in your business.
Because, when the sun sets on your career, and it comes time for you to hang that high-speed back in its holster, you want to make sure that you can afford to put your feet up, and be well rewarded for all your toils and efforts that you’ve endured along the way…
The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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