Raising your fees benefits not only your practice, but also your patients
Dentists are often apprehensive to raise their fees. There’s always the fear that if you raise fees, your patients are going to go elsewhere. And it’s a valid fear, especially in this economy.
However, if handled in the correct way, raising your fees should not cause undue anxiety. It is a delicate process. It’s a balancing act, and it’s easiest if you stay on top of your fee schedule. If your fees are far lower than they should be and you raise them dramatically, you can bet that your patients are going to notice and complain. But if your raise your fees slowly over time and in keeping with local trends, it’s unlikely that anyone will even notice, and if they do, they’ll just chalk it up to inflation rather than blaming you for the fee increase. If you find you’re low, I recommend raising your fees somewhere between 3-5% each year until you reach the 80-100th percentile for your area.
Value Doesn’t Have to Mean Cheap
Adjusting your fee schedule is beneficial to your practice, besides just the increase in revenue. It allows you to offer more value for your area. I realize that sounds counterintuitive if we’re talking about raising fees, so let me explain what I mean.
Setting your fees at an appropriate level for your community ensures that you can operate more efficiently. When you have a healthy business, your patients reap the benefits. You can provide more services by reinvesting that extra income and buying better equipment, hiring new team members, training your staff so that they can serve your patients better, and of course, add programs like QDP that directly benefit your patients.
The reality is that most people aren’t actually looking for the cheapest dentistry available. The majority of patients want quality dentistry provided by a dentist that they trust and offered at a price that’s reasonable. They want value, not just the lowest possible price. As long as patients know that what you’re charging isn’t outrageous and that your fees are within the range norm for the area, then it really becomes more about quality of the relationship between your practice and your patients that determines whether they keep coming back.