Did you know that dental office overheads are amongst the highest across all industries? According to the American Dental Association, who analyzed figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average overhead for dental practices in the US stands at almost 75% (74.62% to be exact); much higher than the 35% that is typically agreed to be standard for well-performing organizations.
It’s no secret that running a busy and successful dental practice can be costly, but overheads of nearly 75% can — and should — be avoided to ensure a solid and stable financial future for the firm.
Here are 3 easy-to-implement ways to minimize outgoings and reduce dental overheads:
1. Switch Supplier
A major challenge that dentists are facing is that many patients are finding it difficult to access the necessary care they need due to rising healthcare costs. A Health Policy Institute Report by the ADA confirms that 40% of American adults do not attend dental appointments because they cannot afford to do so. As a dentist, it is tempting to purchase cheaper, lower quality supplies to reduce the cost of dental work for our patients, but in doing so practices could find that they’re actually paying out much more.
Low cost, low quality tools and equipment not only put our patients’ health at risk, but in many cases also increase the number of products we need to buy. Many low quality polishers, for example, can crumble easily, meaning that they’re unable to fully complete the job they were designed to do. Similarly, the industry is seeing a rise in ‘absorbent’ pads which aren’t absorbent, and burs with very short life spans. Higher quality burs like NeoBurr, are up to 70% stronger than other brands.
2. Automate Processes
Automation is a hot topic right now, and it’s working its way into practically every industry. One industry that appears reluctant to implement new technology, however, is dentistry. While advanced technologies such as robotics are certainly a long way from being introduced into the average practice in the US, there are many other forms of automation that do have a place. Predictable tasks, such as appointment setting, repeat ordering, and staff rotation, for example, can all be managed by dedicated software.
In automating many front-of-house and management processes, practices could find that they’re able to free up their valuable internal resources for other, more productive, profit-making tasks such as marketing. More pressingly, automation not only removes the need for skilled employees to spend their time completing mundane tasks, but could actually help to improve attendance rates, too. One study found that no-shows (which can be costly) can be reduced by 23% with automated reminders.
3. Know Your Audience
Marketing plays a significant role in the overall success of dental practices, helping to raise awareness of the unique skills and experience of the team and getting local patients through the doors. Marketing is certainly an area that’s worth creating a budget for, but one of the primary concerns right now is that dental practices are wasting this budget by failing to tailor their marketing campaign to their niche audience, and are instead attempting to appeal to a very widespread and broad demographic.
As dentists, we all have a commitment to both promoting and encouraging good oral care for everyone, so it’s natural to want to market the dental practice to all demographics. However, in terms of financial responsibility, it is perhaps more effective for practices to customize their campaigns specifically to attract and engage those most likely to visit a dentist. Colgate reports that women are twice as likely to visit a dentist as men, for example, so campaigns tailored to men could end up being money down the drain.