Setting fees for dentistry services is often one of the most challenging parts of running a practice. It can be hard to strike the right balance between fair pricing and the best outcome for all patients. Hitting the sweet spot, especially initially, is tricky to achieve and could well take a period of trial and error testing.
On the one hand, you want to remain competitive and attract new patients to your practice, but if you price your services too cheaply, you could be relying on a higher quantity of appointments per day. While being busy is a sign of a healthy practice, it can have a negative impact on both your staff, quality of work and bottom line if you need to cram in a large volume of patients to actually turn a profit.
However, if you aim for the upper end of the market, you could be pricing some of your current patients out of the market for services such as orthodontics and oral surgery and leave them with no other choice than to look elsewhere for their dental needs.
Luckily, we’re here to help and have pulled together a few do’s and don’ts that every practice manager should read before they revisit their fees in order to get their pricing just right.
DO consider your target market
If your practice is situated in a low-income area, it’s highly unlikely that your patients will have a lot of money to spend on aesthetic treatments such as dental implants or veneers, so take this into consideration when setting your fees.
If you’re lucky enough to be located in a more affluent area, then don’t price your services too cheaply as you will likely find that your customers are willing to pay more for excellent results.
In both cases, you could tier your services for standard, advanced or premium to give your patients greater choice when using your practice.
DON’T charge for time
If you’re looking to attract or retain more patients, then charging for consultation time is a big no-no. The consultation is the first step to building a relationship and winning new business, so charging for your time before you’ve even advised on a treatment plan is a sure-fire way of putting people off coming to you for their dentistry needs.
DO have different hourly rates
If you want to encourage your patients to take better care of their teeth and make sure that you’re not making a loss on any of your services, experiment with two set hourly rates.
For example, you could charge a little more for one-off hygiene appointments and less for annual maintenance and also one fee for general dentistry and a higher hourly rate for more complex treatments such as dental implants or orthodontics.
DON’T have pennies on your fee scale
Not only does having a few extra digits on your price list look unprofessional and messy, but in the minds of your clients it can make your services seem more expensive than they actually are – as well as being much harder to remember!
Instead, round your prices up to the nearest pound as it makes your fees much neater and easier to recall for staff and patients alike.