Creative overhead control can yield return on investment exceeding that of most high-cost marketing campaigns. The following cost cutting strategies can be employed to save thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
Investing in a programmable thermostat takes the guess work out of whether someone remembered to turn the heat down over the weekend when the office is not in use. Setting the thermostat prior to the initial daily appointment ensures patient comfort. Many programmable thermostats allow for different settings for each day of the week.
Payroll company fees vary widely as do their services. I have had the unfortunate experience of sifting through multiple payroll companies in order to uncover the one making the least number of errors. After leaving a small local payroll company which continually failed my expectations, I tried one of the largest payroll companies assuming there would fewer mistakes. While the payroll giant charged fees three times as high, there was no reduction in errors as compared to the smaller company. It became routine for me to learn of costly tax errors having been made, requiring multiple staff hours on the phone to resolve. I now utilize a smaller company that allows my business manager to input the payroll information electronically and check for errors prior to processing the payroll. It is also possible to handle payroll in house through the use of payroll software, thus reducing the cost even more. Switching payroll companies allowed me to save over $750/year.
My dental offices have employed many marketing techniques over the years, including new mover direct mailers, advertising in the phone book and local publications, radio ads and network marketing. In recent years, I have discovered that a well-optimized website can provide the greatest return on investment. Without investing a fortune in search engine optimization, I have been able to position my dental practice website quite highly in online searches for a local dentist. Maintaining and optimizing my website has yielded the best return on investment of any marketing practice I have attempted. I have also saved money by eliminating many other routine marketing strategies.
Website Hosting and Additions
Recently, I switched my dental practice websites, as well as this site, over to a new web host. After thorough research, my office decided to go with InMotion Hosting. InMotion’s low price and great customer service won my business, but I have found the most savings through the use of the easy to navigate control panel. My business manager is able to make changes and updates to my websites, including adding a blog, through the control panel. This saves considerably over the high hourly cost of a web designer.
Selecting Repair Companies Before You Need Them
The worst possible time to be looking for a repair company is in your moment of need. The old adage, “Never be a hungry shopper,” comes to mind. Turning on the office lights at the beginning of a fully scheduled day only to discover that a pipe has burst or a computer server has crashed can cause us to question our choice of profession. Unfortunately, I have experienced both of these scenarios. A dentist can save money and time by maintaining a list of possible repair companies prior to requiring their services. This list can be established by requesting recommendations from business associates, patients and friends.
Forwarding Incoming Calls to a Cell Phone
When our office is closed, our phone lines roll over to a cell phone carried by one of my staff members. This allows us to answer the calls of potential new patients while not requiring the office to be staffed at all times. This staff member is paid a monthly on call rate to answer the phones during regular business hours when we are not in the office.
Telephone Company Bundles
Recently my business manager called the telephone company to investigate a billing error. At the conclusion of the call, a customer service representative informed her of a new offer that bundled several services for a savings of $50/month. We, of course, took advantage of the new offer. When I called back several months later to inquire about any potential new offers, we were able to reduce our monthly bill even more. Be mindful that these companies are typically in fierce competition with their rivals, and are thus willing to negotiate their rates. Do not miss the opportunity to take free money off the table.
Negotiating Insurance Company Reimbursement
Some dental insurance companies allow negotiation of the fee schedule they pay to participating providers. When my dental offices were participating providers for various insurance companies, I spent time negotiating my fees prior to signing participation agreements. One major insurer allows negotiation twice per year, resulting in slight increases in certain fees each time. Our calendar contained reminders to re-negotiate fees at least once every year.