More per hour

March 1, 2012
How to increase production and net without working longer hours continues to be a mystery to many dentists.

By Bill Blatchford, DDS

How to increase production and net without working longer hours continues to be a mystery to many dentists. In the New Economy, some dentists choose to work more days and longer hours, thinking that more time at the office is the key to larger production and more take-home pay. The real answer is a combination of clear leadership, effective case presentation conversations, and master scheduling.

Even in the current economy, there is a difference in thinking between hourly production, which is time at work (called time and effort economy), and the dentist’s work within the practice (called results economy). It is what you produce per hour as opposed to more time at the office.

Yes, you and your team can have time off when you become efficient at case presentation and effective scheduling so that you generate more production per hour. It is all about you and your team being efficient and effective so that you meet your daily goals.

Clear leadership is critical. If you prepare yourself with clinical skills and gain the confidence to produce $6K or even $10K per day consistently, how many days would you need to be at the office? The leader sets the direction and pace. Once you determine your vision and communicate it, your good team members will push you.

If you could produce $8K a day, every day, what additional skills would you need to develop? What systems would need to be in place in order for you to serve your patients superbly? If you work fewer days, how would your team be paid and motivated to step up and learn new skills? What do you need to put into place to keep this momentum going?

More per hour requires your team to be masters of right-brained sales conversations with patients. Patients need to be totally involved in the treatment planning process. Mastering sales takes continual practice. Additionally, to make more per hour, the system of block booking is absolutely necessary. You repeat the same successful and efficient pattern every day. Eighty percent of the dentist’s daily goal should be produced by lunchtime.

Here is the true story of a general dentist, who wished to remain anonymous, that shows the value of leadership. With an accountable, cross-trained team to support the doctor, the practice uses effective sales conversations every day, and rounds out the schedule with solid block booking (which is not compromised).

This dentist and his team of five practice in a small (population 50,000) farming community in the West. As a Delta provider, he does implants, CAD/CAM technology, and laser periodontal therapy. The team currently practices 120 days a year, about 80 days less than the average dentist, and refers out most endodontics, orthodontics, and oral surgery.

The daily office goal is $13K, and the practice reaches it almost every day. The dentist’s motivations are a young family, his hobbies, and volunteering. He balances his time so he can focus his energy solely on each one when appropriate.

This young doctor relies on a solid system of block booking, which the whole team supports, and effective case presentation skills. The entire team is mastering this concept. Stemming from strong leadership, the team supports the doctor’s direction and goals so that any team member can do everything in the office that he or she is legally allowed to do.

The team is no longer paid hourly; they are paid a guaranteed amount per pay period. If staff is paid hourly, what is their incentive to find ways to be more efficient with their time or to take time off? Their base pay is what they earned when the dentist was working more hours. In addition, the team is on a bonus system where the rules are clearly defined. They know at all times where they stand for the fiscal period. The bonus for each team member is about $2,000 more per month.

The doctor says one of the main reasons he can work fewer days and produce more is that his leadership has “stepped up.” He is very clear on his purpose in dentistry, his plans for the future, his goals, and how he wants his team to be rewarded.

More per hour is the goal — not more time at the office. What would you do with 80 extra days in 2013? Or how would you appropriate your 45% net out of a gross production of $1.5M? Should you just stay the way you are and continue to be discouraged about your lack of reward in dentistry? That is another choice you must make. You decide.

Dr. Bill Blatchford, America’s premier dental business coach, is speaking on March 16 in McLean, Va., with BonaDent; May 2-5 at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry meeting near Washington, DC; and at the American Dental Association meeting in San Francisco in October. His coaching program focuses on net, more time off, and more enjoyment in life. Order his book, “Blatchford BLUEPRINTS,” at or (888) 977-4600.

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