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We’ve talked a lot about Dental Post’s Salary Survey this past month, and the staffing issues that surfaced from dental professionals’ feedback. A whopping 30% of the dental workforce is considering a move this year. While that’s one of the major highlights of the survey, another item brought to light is the pay cut practice owners took to retain their team. Turns out 2.25% of owners slashed their take home pay to ensure their team received raises. 

Yes,  it’s less expensive to take a slight pay cut in order to keep team members together, and as an owner, you make sacrifices to keep things going. It’s a noble gesture, but is it sustainable? Do you want to keep cutting your pay year in and year out?

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can fortify your practice, keep more of what you earn, and offer attractive salaries and benefits to your team so they stay. Despite a moody economy, you can overcome economic adversities, staffing challenges, and the profit-squeezing reimbursements from insurance. 

1. Consider offering memberships (Always check your state laws pertaining to this type of care approach)

Memberships provide an affordable option to patients who don’t carry insurance or don’t want the hassle of dealing with a PPO. Belonging to a “club” of sorts also makes patients feel special and part of an exclusive group. As a practice owner, you’re keeping more of what you earn via memberships while cutting out the insurance middleman. More take home pay and less pay cuts sound pretty good. 

If memberships are something you’d like to explore, but you’re not sure where to begin, we can help. Automating your dental membership club with the right solution is just a call away. The best part? The club is owned by you, and you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions for it and your members.  

2. Fire insurance companies

Insurance is out to make a profit by taking it from you. And we’re sure you’ve noticed reimbursements getting smaller as they take larger chunks of your wealth. They don’t care how much time it takes to perform a procedure, or how valuable that procedure is, or the expertise and training it took to conduct it. 

Getting rid of insurance frees you from their constraints, so you can focus on your patients and the care they need. We know it can be stressful taking the path less traveled, but we also know the rewards of firing insurance are very lucrative. Building an insurance-free practice starts with either upgrading your patients, or offering membership to your exclusive practice and the services it offers. 

Attracting patients who don’t ask about insurance is accomplished through strategic marketing. Positioning your practice as premium, exclusive, and sought after attracts clients who don’t worry about the cost. They want the best care, and they’ll find it with you. This makes all the difference when it comes to keeping more of what you earn. 

3. Attract A-Players

The third option to ensure pay cuts are a thing of the past is to attract and retain A-Players to your team. In the age of the “Great Resignation,” it’s imperative you create and maintain a practice culture that keeps your team happy and paid well (without you sacrificing), and that’s focused on making patients happy. Happy patients come back, pay well, and refer you to everyone they know. 

While A-Players keep your patients happy, they also want to be appreciated for their work. This includes having supportive and equally invested teammates, having both structure and flexibility in their day, and of course being fairly compensated for their work. 

You can build and retain an all-star team with a thoughtfully curated office culture that gives everyone a stake in the success of the business. A respectful and smooth-running practice attracts more patients and more profit – resulting in more pay for you.

Employing these strategies can help put you back in the green when it comes to your salary. Shall we try and make next year’s Salary Survey sing a different, more profitable, tune when it comes to practice owners’ income? Let’s do it together.     

Like this blog? Here are other recommended readings:

How Dentists Can Attract New Dental Patients That Are Better

Suffering from Slim Pickings In the Staffing Patch? You’re Not Alone.


Written by Smartbox

SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.

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