Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Be Proactive . . . not reactive


The New Year is in full swing, so what better time than now to take a good look at your office fees? When was the last time you raised your fees and by how much? Many doctors won’t even touch their fees because they’re afraid that it will upset their patients. However, if done responsibly, most of your patients will not even notice the raise.

Many years ago, before I started consulting, I went to a course and the speaker told the audience, “On Monday morning, you need to go back and raise your fees by 25%,” but this speaker didn’t give us any real system or method of how we should go about raising fees in the future. When I went back to my office on Monday and started doing the math, I said to myself, “Yep, our patients will get upset.” So I took a different approach about raising our office fees that most dentists are afraid to do. I started raising our fees about every 12-18 months … no matter what. You know what? Most of our patients didn’t even notice. They didn’t notice because I was only raising our hygiene fees about 1.5% - 2% and our operative fees 2% - 3%. We kept it consistent, we kept it small, and we did it regularly. When our patients asked, I gave them the same answer every time … and it wasn’t “because our consultant said so.”

Most offices I work with have either never raised their fees or they raise them in response to something. I firmly believe that dental practices should be proactive about raising fees, not reactive, so when something like a 2.5% lab fee increase happens, the practice is already partly there. Once your office gets on a routine of increasing fees, it is just like changing the oil in your car. And, just like the changing your car’s oil, this is an important part of the regular maintenance of your dental practice.

So what is the easiest way to do it in Dentrix? Go to the Office Manager > Maintenance > Auto Fee Schedule Changes > then at the top select your office fee schedule, now you have some choices -- you can just up it by a certain % or you can click copy to Fee Schedule and select your office fee schedule again and manually change them (this is how I always do it to keep it all at whole dollars). When you are satisfied with your updated fee schedule, click Accept and you are finished. Now make yourself a note to do this again on a regular schedule.

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