Are You Stepping Over The Dollars While Trying To Save Yourself Pennies?

This quote from Bradley Sugars came across my desk last week.

It certainly is one of the great truths of business.

“The more energy and effort you put into recruiting great people, the less you will have to put into leadership and management.”

So many times I see dental practices scrimping on staff expenses.

And when they do, they end up BURNING opportunity.

And in burning that opportunity, they end up burning money.

Their efforts to save themselves a few pennies ends up costing them HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars.

Sometimes on an annually recurring basis….

Example #1

I recently came across a dental practice that shared rooms, and subsequently, its inbound phone line, with an allied health professional.

Yes. Really.

The confusion created on the phone line for first time callers was dramatic.

“Did you want the dentist or the physiotherapist?”

“Oh, you’re calling for an appointment with the physiotherapist? I’m with the dentist…let me see where the physio girl is…. Can I get her to ring you back?”

It can be very frustrating for all involved.

You’d have to ask yourself this question:

How many new patient callers would find this arrangement annoying and frustrating when they phoned? And confusing?

I’d say a significant number….

And how many callers might say that calling this office was just “a little bit too difficult and confusing”, and might decide to use another dental practice where the phones are answered without any added confusion being created?

Surely the cost of having two separate incoming phone lines for two businesses sharing the same location can’t be all that prohibitive?

And of course there’s the subliminal thought created in the minds of the caller as to how “cheap” the dentist and the physiotherapist are actually being by trying to cut costs on incoming phone lines?

Example 2

So many dental practices DO NOT have enough people employed in places where they are needed.

Have you ever phoned a dental office during regular business hours, where the call goes unanswered and goes through to a recorded message:

“Thank you for calling ABC Dental. We value your call. All our staff are busy with other patients at the moment. Please leave your name and number and we will call you back as soon as we are able to. Have a nice day!”

Or this one:

“Thank you for calling ABC Dental. We value your call. Our practice hours are from 9:00am to 1:00pm and from 2:00pm to 5:00pm. We are closed for lunch between 1:00pm and 2:00pm. Please call back during these hours, or leave your name and number and we will call you back as. Have a nice day!”

Guess what happens in both of these situations?

New patients calling a dental practice for the first time that receive recorded messages like these will simply hang up without leaving a message, and phone ANOTHER dental practice.

Yes indeed.

Let’s do the math on these:

Firstly, let’s employ an additional front office team member who can answer the phone so that recorded messages do not need to be used. And she is able to schedule one extra New Patient each day.

One additional New Patient booked in for an appointment each day means five new patients per week, or 250 new patients per year.

The average value of a new patient in 2011 in my practice was $2430.00 [This is what a new patient spent in my practice in their first 24 months in my practice].

So, in the examples above, in her first year of her employment, the new front office team member will schedule 250 extra patients who will spend $1215.00 that year, or $303750.00. [$1215.00 x 2 = $2430.00]

In the second year of her employment, and subsequent years, the 250 new patients from the previous year will spend $303750.00 [the second half of their $2430.00] and the 250 new patients of the new year will spend their first $1215.00 each. That’s a total of $607500.00 for this second year and each and every subsequent year.

With salaries meant to be 20% of collections, this gives the practice the opportunity of adding $121500.00 to the practice’s payroll budget.

So many times I hear dentists telling me that they can’t afford to put on extra team members.

When you look at these numbers you realise that a dental practice operating on minimal staff numbers is really choking itself.

It’s kind of like trying to push the accelerator pedal on your car to the floor while you still have the handbrake on and the other foot firmly placed on the brake pedal.

In Example #2 above, imagine the results the practice could expect with the new staff member being able to schedule TWO ADDITIONAL new patients each day?

The numbers are palpably staggering!

And yet so many dentists do not see this?

Whenever I looked at opportunities and situations, I always looked from a GLASS HALF FULL perspective rather than from the pessimistic “What if this went wrong?” point of view.

And I guess having that perspective helped me to grow my dental practice from a turnover of $400K p.a. to $3.3M p.a. in a fifteen-year period…

Email me if you’d like to know more.


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Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

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