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6 ways dental practice owners can maximize cash flow

Aug. 29, 2023
As interest rates continue to climb, dental practice owners are feeling the squeeze. Now is the time to look for ways to maximize your cash so you can continue to successfully run and grow your practice. Try these tips.

In the second quarter of 2023, the Federal Reserve instituted its 10th consecutive rate hike in just over a year, making interest rates the highest they’ve been since 2007. Small-business owners—particularly dental practice owners—are feeling the squeeze and looking for ways to maximize their cash on hand while continuing to maintain their practices with the latest and greatest equipment, services, and staff.

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In this environment, it’s more important than ever for independent practice owners to maximize their cash flow to continue to successfully run and grow their practices. Here are six tips you can use today.

No. 1: Examine merchant fees to uncover hidden costs

Review smaller fees that may be draining income from your practice each month. For example, merchant fees for many institutions rise annually without notice. Ask questions about your expenses to make sure you are still within acceptable ranges.

No. 2: Update your fee schedule regularly

Providers often maintain static fee schedules for too long, leading to misalignment with changing costs. Consistently assess your fee schedule and adjust accordingly to reflect increasing overhead costs. A good starting point is to seek advice from consultants who specialize in fee schedule reviews. They can evaluate your existing fee schedule and identify opportunities to negotiate higher fees and insurance reimbursements, helping optimize your finances and improve your bottom line.

No. 3: Make a plan for collecting payments

One of the quickest ways to increase cash flow for your practice is to collect payments from customers. As a practice owner, you can structure your payment collection process several different ways. Often, in practices that accept insurance, customers may need to cover costs beyond what’s provided by their plan. In this case, it can be helpful to offer patient financing options for your customers. This win-win allows your customers to receive the dental care they need while allowing you to cover costs more quickly and effectively.

No. 4: Use a credit card for practice purchases

Utilizing a customized credit card built specifically for your industry can be a game changer. You will want to look for a credit card with a reward system tailored to the purchases you make most often for your practice. This way you can maximize cash-back rewards, which you can reinvest into your business (or your personal life).

No. 5: Understand that higher interest rates offer opportunities

Remember, higher interest rates affect cash flow both ways. Now may be a good time to evaluate institutions that can provide higher rates of return on your savings balances to help offset higher interest rates on your debt.

No. 6: Consider financing

When you need an infusion of cash to expand your business, purchase new equipment, or invest in technology, financing should still be a consideration. Securing a loan is one of the best ways to access the capital needed for larger purchases, and despite rising interest rates, this is still the right option for most practices. If you have the opportunity to grow and expand, securing the appropriate financing will allow you to confidently enter the next phase of your independent practice.

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Consult a professional

Maintaining cash flow is an important aspect of running a dental practice. As the economy shifts and customers’ needs evolve, maximizing your cash flow becomes even more important. No matter where you are in your practice ownership journey—whether embarking on a new project or acquiring another practice—it’s important to find a team of trusted advisors to support you. By building a support team (think: CPA, attorney, insurance agent, lender, etc.), you can focus on what you do best: providing excellent patient care. 

Author’s note: While we hope this information is helpful, you shouldn’t consider it financial advice. Consult an appropriate professional related to your individual circumstances. Learn more about the Provide card at 

Editor's note: This article appeared in the August 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.