How and When to Raise Your Dental Practice Fees

Every dental practice needs to make money to stay in business and that means assigning fees to services and collecting those fees.  Though no patient wants to see fees rising, by raising them small amount over extended periods of time, the change is often imperceptible.  Small fee changes can result in a big impact on the bottom line.  By raising fees just 3 – 5% you can significantly enhance your dental practice’s profitability.

It is often better to raise fees across the board rather than trying to raise only a few at a time.  It can be confusing for everyone involved and not worth the frustration since small fee increases are often not noticed by patients anyway.  If you raise your fees once or twice per year on a set schedule it will make it easy to remember and implement.  It is important that all staff and billing personnel be well informed about the increase so that they do not mistakenly provide inaccurate estimates of fees.  Raising fees is not a greedy practice, it is a way to help your practice keep pace with inflation and if your dental practice is providing quality service then the fee increase is warranted.  Fee increases help offset the cost of additional staff members, new technology, operating costs, etc.  DentistryIQ elaborates on why small, incremental and consistent fee increases are superior to large but less frequent increases and how it can benefit your dental practice, “Dentists think that if they increase their fees patients will become upset, but this is not the case if the fees are increased responsibly. Many years ago before I started consulting I went to several lectures where the speaker said to the audience, “You need to go back to your practice on Monday and increase your fees by 25%.” I went back to my practice on Monday and I did the math: if I raised my prophy fee by 25%, that was an increase of $18; if I raised my crown fee by 25%, that was over $200. My patients would have been upset, and rightfully so. So what I did was raise my fees 1.5% to 3% every 12 to 18 months. What this allowed the office to do was responsibly raise our fees, and patients didn’t get upset (heck they didn’t even notice) and it kept our practice growing steadily.”

Your dental practice provides a valuable service to patients and when you run a high quality dental practice you should not underestimate your own worth and the value of your efforts.  Even if patients do notice a small fee increase they will likely understand that it is to enhance office technology and provide better patient care.  If you do not know when you last increased your dental practice fees, now is the time to examine and reevaluate your fees.

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