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Practical ways to save money in your dental practice

Running your own dental practice can be very rewarding and fruitful on a personal level. But there are many hidden costs and overheads that can often detract from the value of the work. Because of this, one thing almost all dental practices have in common is the desire to reduce expenses.

From investing in your staff and analyzing your equipment to going directly to your supplier and embracing modern technology, there are plenty of ways you can reduce the overall cost of running a dental practice and boost your profits. 

Stop hiring staff from regular temp agencies

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The next time you need to hire a temporary member of staff, don’t use regular temp agencies or job boards. Instead, move with the times and use a modern cloud-based matching platform like Cloud Dentistry. Unlike traditional job boards which earn money by charging dental practices high fees and taking a percentage of workers’ income, Cloud Dentistry charges dental offices a small monthly fee for unlimited access to thousands of dental professionals across the country.

Traditional dental temp agencies often charge extortionate fees if you want to hire someone listed on their site on a permanent basis. This is a terrible system for everyone involved because it results in lesser quality workers for dental practices and lower hire rates for dental professionals. When you hire staff from Cloud Dentistry, there are zero temp-to-perm fees — everyone wins.

Hire more staff

Hiring additional staff will definitely cost you more money to begin with, but this move will reduce your overall expenses, especially if you’re currently working with a very small group. If everyone in your team is forced to juggle multiple roles, they’re unable to focus on their primary responsibility, resulting in a poor experience for patients. But if you’ve got a diverse team and each member of staff sticks to their tasks, everyone does a better job and patient satisfaction is high.

Ideally, your team should be made up of dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants. When you have the perfect balance, the dentists can focus on complex treatments, dental hygienists can focus on cleanings and x-rays, and dental assistants can focus on helping out and keeping the practice running smoothly. This way each member of staff is working to their full value and keeping your patients happy, resulting in a greater patient retention rate.

Consider renewing your equipment

Just like people don’t drive the same car for 15 years or use the same cell phone for 3 years unless they’re forced to, you shouldn’t be using old dentistry equipment. There will be some pieces of equipment in your office that last 20+ years. But others, in particular those with electronics that need updating, moving parts which break or seals which split, have a limited lifespan for a reason.

Try and use the equipment significantly longer than the manufacturer’s recommendation and you could end up spending much more on repairs over the years than you could have paid to buy brand new equipment. 

Buy directly from the supplier

According to ADA, almost 60% of adults avoid visiting the dentist because they can’t afford it. You could interpret this as being able to increase your patient numbers and profits by 60% by reducing the cost of your treatments. To do this, you might be tempted to lower the quality of the supplies you use so you can pass the savings onto your patients. But in doing so, you could end up paying out much more.

Using low cost, low quality equipment and supplies puts your patients’ health at risk and increases the number of products you need to buy following early breakages. For example, poor quality polishers often crumble easily, rendering them useless for completing the job they were designed to do. This means you’re forced to buy more polishers, costing you more money in the long run. 

Instead of buying cheaper supplies, if you normally buy your dental products from a third-party company, you’ll often find you can cut out a lot of unnecessary costs by going directly to the supplier. Try and negotiate a good deal with new customer offers, bulk buy discounts and anything else you can persuade them to give you.

Use modern technology

The benefits of using modern technology in your dental practice are almost never-ending. No one likes filling out pages and pages of forms. Help give your patients a five-star experience by swapping paper forms for digital ones. You can display a QR code in the waiting room which patients can scan with their phone to access the forms and fill out online. Not only will this help save your receptionist time, but it will also reduce the amount of money you spend on paper, staples and printer ink, while helping the environment, too. 

Take a look at outsourcing

Some dental practices can save money by outsourcing while others can reduce costs by keeping tasks in house. Some commonly outsourced tasks include:

  • Marketing and branding
  • Patient scheduling services
  • Insurance claims
  • Billing
  • Staff
  • IT solutions
  • Accounting

Whether you can save more money by outsourcing the above aspects of your business or keeping them in house is entirely individualized to your dental practice. But it’s worth doing a cost analysis of each one to find out the truth and potentially reduce costs.

Smart marketing

It doesn’t matter if you use a dedicated marketing team or you market your business yourself, take some time to review which tactics have been tried and analyze which ones worked and which ones didn't. When you have this information, build upon the marketing strategies which gained you more patients and increased your income. Equally, immediately stop the strategies which didn’t achieve the results you were hoping for and avoid similar tactics in the future. 

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There are always ways to reduce your practice’s expenses

No matter how tightly you run your ship, there are always steps you can take to save money in your dental practice. Some of them are complex and involve a bit of work, but most of them are just common sense. Keeping costs down and saving money while running a dental practice at the same time is entirely possible. Implement the ideas above and soon you’ll see your profit margin start to grow.