Raising fees is necessary for practice health

June 8, 2017|Kendall Butler

Increasing dental fees is an essential part of successful practice management. Evaluating your fees and comparing them to similar practices in the region can help you determine where you might need to make adjustments.

Raising fees is a necessary part of a healthy business. Dental overhead increases approximately 4% each year. Whether it is the rising costs of your dental supplies, investing in new technology or software upgrades, or your increased payroll expenses, the cost of providing services goes up yearly.

If you don’t raise your fees yearly you must grant each patient less chair time per service to remain profitable. In turn, this increases your stress level and decreases your patient satisfaction. By increasing your fees, you can spend the time necessary with patients to ensure a quality final product. If you are not raising your fees at least yearly, you are seriously impacting your practice’s bottom line.

Most dentists actually dread the time when they raise their fees and evaluate each fee separately. Their forehead beads with sweat as they worry, “What will my patients say?”

Years of experience has shown me that very few patients even notice! There is always the one patient who may make a comment, but the fear of a “mass exodus” is simply unfounded. If the increase is 4% across the board, you have now only covered the increase of your overhead with no additional profit.

Consider the fees for services dentists generally refer out

It may be molar endo or partial boney impactions. These are procedures which the dentist prefers to refer out but the patient simply will not go for the referral, so the dentist agrees to attempt the procedure “in-house.” These fees should be raised at a greater percentage.

If the patient was to see a specialist, that office fee is generally significantly greater than that of the referring doctor’s. Consider the additional time you must invest to provide the service when you determine the fee. Review all endo, perio and surgical fees to ensure the time invested by the dentist is covered. 

Generally, the patient is thrilled that their general dentist will do the procedure. This saves them driving to another office and alleviates the fear that accompanies walking into a new office and meeting strangers for a procedure for which they are already fearful. In their mind it is so awful that even you are not interested in attempting it.

In conclusion, raise your fees to allow yourself the time necessary to deliver premium care and service to your patients. This places less stress on you and your staff, and covers the increase in the cost of doing business while allowing you to remain profitable.

Custom fee analysis can help direct your profitability strategies

Schenck’s Dental Fee Survey is a compilation of practice fees in the region. Custom fee analysis reports can show you where your practice falls in relation to others. It identifies the procedures for which you might be high or low, presenting an opportunity to explore possible fee increases or just ensure you are staying within the market. 

For ideas on how to evaluate your fees or for a customized fee analysis, contact Kendall Butler or any member of the Dental Advisory Group at Schenck at 800-236-2246.

Kendall Butler is a dental practice efficiency specialist with more than 25 years of experience in health care. She works with doctors, practice managers, hygiene teams and support staff to identify ways to enhance practice efficiency and profitability.