As practicing dentists and small-business owners, we are constantly looking for new opportunities to increase revenue without increasing our workload. With the recent economic downturn, my practice revenue dropped, so I began to look for simple solutions to increase revenue.
After reaching out to friends and colleagues for ideas that I could easily implement into my practice, I started to put a few into use. These are the ideas that had an immediate effect, raising revenue by thousands of dollars a month ...
1. Materials and supplies: The quickest way to increase revenue is to lower expenses. Start by changing the way you purchase materials and supplies. Many companies that sell direct to dentists offer nearly identical products to the brands distributors carry — at a fraction of the cost. SourceOne Dental is a new online dental marketplace. This is the first time a group of direct-selling manufacturers have come together to make buying direct easy. You can now go to one location and purchase products from multiple companies in a single order. SourceOne shows you the catalog prices of similar products carried by distributors so you can instantly see your savings. For example: I recently purchased a surgical handpiece for $349 compared to a nearly identical model I would have normally purchased from my distributor for $815. Ordering the bulk of your supplies from direct companies through SourceOne before placing your regular supply order with your distributor can easily add $2,500 or more to your bottom line each month.
2. Generate passive income: Dr. Tony Stefanou (a dentist for 20 years and a former vice president of sales and marketing for a number of dental companies) says that every dental practice should be retailing professional-grade products,as it not only supports the quality dentistry we provide (especially after cosmetic procedures), but it also embraces a couple of the “cardinal” rules of business — leveraging and passive income. By customizing a home-care system that specifically assists in maintaining your patient’s investment, you are helping to ensure that your dentistry will look great longer and your patients will be walking billboards for your practice for years. If patients were to go to the pharmacy or supermarket instead, they would often end up buying products that don’t support their needs — high-alcohol-content rinses, abrasive pastes, etc. It’s not just veneer cases; it’s the same for your perio, ortho, and crown-and-bridge patients as well. Simply put, there are some excellent professional-grade products that should be dispensed from the office. As with medicine, patients now expect you to guide them on the best home-care regimen. Everyone wins, and it creates solid additional income without having to do more dentistry (or spending more time chairside) — the definition of “passive income.” If just a few patients each day go home with their home-care “kits,” you can add anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more to your bottom line each month.
3. Patient reactivation: Filling empty chair time with your current patient base is far easier than finding new patients. Most practices recall only 40% to 50% of their patient base, according to Linda Miles, an internationally recognized consultant, speaker, and author on dental practice and staff development. Having an active reactivation program brings those patients in who need the most care. The top third of the patient base are the healthy adults who rarely miss their preventive appointments. If they needed dental care beyond their hygiene visit, it has already been done. In order to have a strong hygiene return rate, the practice must work the other two-thirds of the patients. A patient messaging system saves the administrative team a minimum of two hours per day "mining the file of gold.” Work on the current year’s “past dues” and keep going back to the previous year’s patients until you begin to see results. Some patients are four to five years past due. They also need the most clinical care.
These are just a few of many revenue-building opportunities available in dentistry. Sometimes increasing revenue requires rolling up your sleeves and simply working harder. Take on a few extra emergencies. Add a Friday with limited staff to the schedule to accommodate more patients. In other cases, it’s simply a matter of taking the time to look closely at the opportunities that already exist in your business. With 23 years in dentistry and two busy practices, I still find new ways to generate more revenue — without working weekends!
Joseph Eiswert, DMD, earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Temple University Dental School in 1989. After spending five years in the USAF, serving as Captain Dental Officer at George Air Force Base, he opened his first private practice in Apple Valley, Calif. Dr. Eiswert now owns a second successful practice in Silver Lakes, Calif.
Dr. Tony Stefanou is a 1987 graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Starting in the early 1990s, he also became heavily involved in the business side of the dental industry and did everything from being the vice president of sales for three dental companies to product development to academic CE director to professional relations. He is the developer of the Power Productivity System, which assists practices in being more profitable by implementing profit centers. He is a full member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC) and the founder of the Dental Sales Academy, which provides training workshops and consulting services to dental companies and their reps to help them develop better relationships with dental practices and learn how to sell and market their products more effectively. He is an experienced transitions consultant and has developed the Objective Practice Appraisal (OPA) system. Dr. Stefanou resides in New York City and can be reached at [email protected] or (646) 375-2067.
Linda Miles, CSP, CMC, is an internationally recognized consultant, speaker, and author on dental practice and staff development in Virginia Beach, Va. She is a successful businesswoman who not only founded LLM&A, a leading INC 500 dental management consulting firm in 1978 (now Miles Global), but she also founded the Speaking Consulting Network in 1997. Her new project is www.AskLindaMiles.com. Linda can be reached by email at [email protected].