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Overhead 101

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1. That you are established in business.
2. That you are marketing your practice regularly and continue to attract not only new, but long term patients.
3. You must run an efficient periodontal program. This is vital to keeping overhead in line!! Right off the bat, your hygiene should produce about 1/3 of your overall gross. If it doesn't, the first thing to take a look at is how to get this in line. This is a whole other blog, but think of every patient visit as opportunity. Opportunity to educate your patient on overall oral health WILL and DOES lead to my criteria... #1 = Good for the patient, #2 = Good for the bottom line.

If all this is right on then let's get to the 'Overhead 101' that I have learned after consulting for almost 30 years...

1. You aren't billing enough. Have you ever taken the time to understand your fee guide? Do you really know what you can and can't bill for and exactly what the procedures are? Here are some resources to understand dental insurance: Coding with Confidence by Dr. Charles Blair. Also Google Dr. Charles Blair as he has some great tips on this subject including YouTube videos.

2. You are not booking efficiently. Time is everything in an office. Using multiple chairs to eliminate down time is very important, and having your team work efficiently. Make sure you are booking to maximize your production. Try using services like our Canadian team Transitions Group to mentor your team on profitable and efficient booking as well as about 20 other services they provide to help you be more efficient and profitable. I will also soon have a very experienced local office manager offering her services to help you and your staff run a much tighter ship. A proven record with helping manage a large local office!

3. You are cheap. If you spend a dollar to save a dime. Your time is valuable. Make sure you are using your time to produce product - not over manage! Fix those broken pieces of equipment - they make you money! Invest your money in learning new techniques. Invest in equipment that has shown a good return on the investment (especially well proven technologies) Invest in high producing team members! Remember every hygiene chair can produce 33% of your revenue. A good perio program is opportunity!

4. Your staff are not happy. Team work is everything! If a wheel is clogged in the big machine it slows everyone down. A little lube and maintenance is always necessary to keep the team happy and functioning. Do you invest in team productivity? Educate your staff and bring them to the same CE courses you attend? Do you invest anything in marketing and team harmony? An unhappy staff member does not watch expenses or care about production. An unhappy team member only cares about how much more they need to make in order to stay; get rid of them and get your expenses fixed.

5. You waste too much and have expensive taste, you take your time and you are very happy with that. This may describe your associate. Making sure to consult with your dental supply rep as they not only understand overhead of supplies, but can almost always recommend equivalent products that are much more efficient and less expensive. If you work slow at your chair side, your cost of product is much higher than that of a colleague. Work hard to be efficient, and proficient. It's important to work quickly, but you MUST make sure your quality of work is still there as well. If you want to increase your billings, don't take short cuts!

There are a dozen other little reasons we can all think of; like wasted product, time spent on procedures with little return on investment, lack of motivation, etc. The majority of offices I have worked with over the years are very happy with the overall expense ratio. It really doesn't just come down to numbers, it comes down to attitude?if you are loving what you are doing, and doing it for the right reasons.


This blog was re-posted with permission from

Warren Bobinski is a consultant at Henry Schein and is owner/operator of, a blog that shares ideas on dental products, techniques, practice management, and life.

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