Guest Post from Richard H. Madow, D.D.S.
Cash flow is king for dental offices, and finding strategic ways to increase it goes a long way. It goes beyond just looking at your books to see where you have extra costs. Here are 10 ways you can immediately increase cash flow in your dental office.
1. Raise Your Fees
This is the simplest way to increase your cash flow and give yourself a raise. Based on conversations with our coaching clients, we find that most practices have not raised their fees in the last eighteen months. It sounds simple, but when was the last time you did it across the board? Do it now.
2. “Would You Like Whiter Teeth?”
If you simply look each patient in the eye and ask “Would you like to have whiter teeth?” or “Are you happy with the color of your teeth?” – your cash flow will automatically improve. One study focusing on dental patients’ lifetime customer value suggested that your practice will increase by 10% over the course of one year simply by asking this question to EVERY patient. Plus, patients who undergo whitening are more open to other cosmetic treatments and are more prone to refer others. Don’t be afraid – they won’t bite. You will be amazed at what kind of discussions this simple question leads to.
3. Get on Your Collections
Make a list of everyone that owes you money for one reason or another and call them! Get a credit card number from them right on the telephone! For those who don’t pay, send them a #207 “Statement Of Delinquency” form!
4. Offer Fluoride and Sealants to all Children and Adults
It’s not a huge moneymaker but it sure helps with cash flow. Plus, it provides a better service.
5. Save Money on Your Credit Card Processing
There is a new game in town for credit card processing – you pay just a small monthly flat fee and no “overage percentage.” This will instantly save you money. Go to Stax to get started. They will even give you a free terminal! This is the kind of stuff your bank does not want you to know.
6. Renegotiate Your Lease
Even if your lease is not up, you can totally redo your terms if you sign on for a few more years. Dentists are dream tenants and you aren’t going anywhere. So leverage that to your advantage. This can immediately put lots of cash in your pocket and is one of the easiest ways to save money long-term.
7. Negotiate Your PPO Fees
Don’t be intimidated by the PPOs. They need you more than you need them and are often willing to bump your reimbursements up a bit.
8. Talk with Your Accountant About the Upcoming Year
There are accountants and there are accountants. If you are not working with a CPA who has many dental clients and knows the ins and outs of our profession, you’re probably losing out. Not only can they analyze your cash flow and make suggested improvements, but they can also look for tax deductions and opportunities of which you may not be aware. This move alone can put thousands back into your cash flow and pocket!
9. Stop Watching and Start Doing
One of the most dangerous phrases in dentistry is “Let’s watch it.” Or sometimes we don’t even say it; we just write it in the chart or make a mental note. But the question is, “watch it” do what? Do dental problems reverse themselves? Does perio disease get better on its own? No. Don’t be afraid to tell a patient what they need. And remember, doing things now is always better for the patient and less expensive as well. Stop watching – start doing!
10. Review ALL of Your Expenses
Complacency is a cash-flow killer. Most of us have many expenses on auto-pilot, costing thousands or even tens of thousands each year. When was the last time you reviewed all of your insurance policies? They can all be negotiated. Office liability, malpractice… all of them. Not only can you ask for better pricing, but you should also find out if you’re over-insured. And while you are at it, check every expense that is automatically billed each month. We call these things “lazy expenses,” and they keep churning away at your checkbook.
BONUS: Start a Membership Plan!
Membership plans are hot. Why? Because patients want them! These plans are the best way to keep uninsured patients happy and can actually save patients who would leave your practice because of their PPO “plan.” Nothing to lose here, and an immediate cash flow boost to gain!
Dr. Richard Madow and Dr. David Madow founded The Madow Center For Dental Practice Success in 1989 with the goal of helping their fellow dentists achieve financial freedom, greater success, and more happiness in their practices. Their publications, articles, and blogs are some of the most popular in the dental profession.
Rich and Dave have traveled the world, lecturing to standing-room-only crowds in practically every major city in The United States and Canada, and beyond. Known for their hilarious, spontaneous style and content-packed programs, they have taught over twenty thousand dentists and team members how to enjoy their careers, supercharge their practices, define and create their own personal success, and have more fun than ever before. There is nothing like spending a day with The Madow Brothers!
Many practices have worked with The Madow Brothers to achieve the practice of their dreams, greater fulfillment in dentistry, and higher financial rewards through Madow Success Coaching. Visit www.madow.com or call 1-410-526-4780 for more information.