A recent USA Today article by Rhonda Abrams entitled “Strategies: Fixed Expenses Can Be Negotiated” reminds us of the need to examine ways to lower our dental practice overhead in the form of decreasing monthly bills. The author mentioned taking the time to “spring clean your small-business expenses” by examining each of your monthly bills and contacting those companies to see if there are better rates available.
Rhonda Abrams recommends beginning the process by gathering all of your most recent bill statements. Many bills are paid monthly, but do not forget those quarterly and annual bills as well. Common dental practice bills that may have negotiable rates or other plans available include:
- Insurance – Life, Health, Disability, Malpractice, Worker’s Compensation, Business Property,
- Credit Card Fees,
- Rent – especially if property values have decreased in your area,
- Website Hosting and
Some companies will be willing to negotiate on the first phone call with a simple statement from you that you are looking to decrease your costs. Other companies will be more likely to negotiate if you have done some homework and received quotes from their competitors. This is a good step to take anyway to compare the current services and costs with other companies providing the same service. This is especially true of the many insurances that dental practices have to maintain. Comparing insurance policies and rates is trickier due to different coverage amounts and stipulations so you will need to take some time to read the fine print before making any major insurance changes.
While you are examining ways to lower your overhead, think about the other services you use regularly like shipping, printing and office supplies. There may be other businesses that can provide lower costs in those areas as well. Your front office manager can do most of the work for you during office down-times when a patient has no-showed or there is a lull in the schedule. Wouldn’t it be great to recover some of that lost income by spending the time wisely reducing overhead costs? Years ago, I was surprised by how much of a monthly savings I was able to secure from one simple phone call to my dental practice’s phone and internet provider. My business manager who was fed up with poor service from our payroll company, sought quotes from other payroll companies and greatly decreased our payroll costs and complications.
Please comment if your dental practice has found ways to reduce your overhead expenses. Let us know if you have had luck negotiating monthly bills and what companies are providing valuable services at reasonable prices.