Talking about your fees is difficult enough, so we can imagine it is very difficult to consider raising them and explaining that increase to your team and your patients. When is the right time to analyze your fees for an increase? If you are like most dentists, you don’t routinely increase your fees and it can be a tricky subject. There are many challenges in raising your fee’s however the main roadblock we hear from teams is our patients don’t like to pay more, especially if they’ve been long-term patients and they’re used to the fees now. We understand this concern, that is why we believe those conversations can be easier when had with honesty and great verbal skills.
Why increase fees?
Don’t let these roadblocks stop you from making this an annual analysis and routine in the business health of your dental practice. You will need to increase your fees because the cost of living increases each year. Keeping your fees at the same level always ends with an increased overhead ratio that diminishes your profits. When your profit declines, it makes it challenging to reinvest in your practice, increase your team’s benefits and plan for your future. If you partner with insurance plans, you will want to increase your fees each year as it will help to increase your in-network fee schedule as well.
Managing the increase
There are a few steps when managing the increase. The first step is to conduct a fee analysis and discover where your fees currently lie. We recommend a healthy business will have fees in the 70-80th percentile. It is best to increase fees across the board rather than only certain fees. You want to maintain consistency and predictability. If it has been years since you last increased your fees and you are much lower than the recommended 80th percentile, consider raising your fees in increments to get to the desired level. In addition, you want to avoid playing catch up with your fee increases to avoid large jumps in costs.
Make the Team part of the process
Since your team will be the ones explaining the new increase to your patients, it is best to include them in this process. Have a team meeting, discuss where your fees are now and where they should be in order to run a successful business. Work with your team on their explanation and verbal skills to the patients. And of course, ask for feedback, questions, and concerns from the team before rolling out the new changes.