Costs are tight from COVID-19. What should dental practices do to budget accordingly?
Dear Dr. Gina,
Costs are tight at the end of this quarantine. Dr. Gina, how do I budget accordingly? Do I need to fire or lay off some of my employees? Please advise!
Dear Saver Sam,
First, before you fire or lay anyone off, set time aside to look over all your supplies in the practice. I would suggest identifying any supplies that you don’t need and seeing if there would be a reduction in cost by switching to another vendor or supplier.
I know from my own experience the stress of managing a lot of supplies. My poor team spent years flipping and ordering through catalogues. Later, I began to work with a company I have come to really love, Zen Supplies. They automate the process of ordering supplies and help you to find the best price for what you are buying. They also make sure that you only buy what you need. This automation has been a lifesaver and has saved my practice a lot with costs.
Many times we think it’s time to stock up on inventory when we see ads for “Buy 5, Get 2 Free!” but oftentimes we end up stockpiling in inventory that we really didn’t even need. If there is one thing I have come to loathe as a dentist, it’s wasted inventory and wasted time. It’s a shame and I would not want this to be the case for you and your team. My motto and number one rule is this: Focus on being efficient instead of being cheap.
For most dental practices, your team is anywhere from 23-36% of your total expenses. If you utilize time efficiently, you can do more dentistry with less stress, so my first word of advice is not to buy in bulk and to consolidate your expenses in supplies.
Secondly, time is money. If something is not getting done, you are doing something that isn’t needed. A lot of times we lose track of what’s most important as we are hustling daily to get as much done as possible. If you come across things you are doing in your practice that are wasting time, eliminate them from your practice. I may be biased here, but that’s why I created an entire software system that revolves around reducing busywork. 😉
Speaking of time, there’s little of it, so stop doing procedures you aren’t good at and don’t enjoy. In the past fellow dentists have said to me, “I don’t like doing root canals, but I can charge a lot of money if I do them.” Don’t have this mentality. You’re not helping your patients and those hours you spent doing a procedure you’re not the best at could have gone into other treatment cases you enjoy and excel at. Follow the advice of popular celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay. Drop the things you don’t need.
My last piece of advice is to lead with a solid plan. Delegate and provide the right training to employees. For example, your hygienist. She’s a highly paid employee and maybe only doing sealants. You can train her to get licensed for other procedures. That way your labor will take less time and cut down costs. And, for your front office that’s busy and doesn’t have time to reach out to patients and schedule them for cleanings, hire someone new who excels on the phone and train them well. Afterall, your front office makes a big impression and sets the tone for the practice. If trained properly, they can bring more patients in, and in return, bring your practice more revenue. I know this may contradict your concerns of letting a few employees go, but my point here is that with the right training and a bit of delegation, they won’t be the ones hurting your budget.
So, Saver Sam, don’t be nervous. Cut down on supplies, eliminate things that are wasting time, and keep up on training your team. In the long run, you don’t want to cut down on things that are helping the office to be more productive. I hope my advice helps.
Dr. Gina Dorfman
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