I went through the phone book and chose an office that touted itself as an “affordable dentist,” but now I’m starting to wonder if I made a mistake. The office was really nice inside. The guy had TVs in every room, nice furniture, and a bunch of other amenities. I kind of feel like I got duped. He is offering a fair price for my work, but if he is really an affordable dentist, how is it that he can install all these expensive things? And if he can do all this while undercutting the other guys, is he skimping somewhere else or is every other office ripping people off?
-Darcy P. – Little Rock, AR
This is probably one of the oldest arguments in any kind of medicine. Where’s the right balance between finding an affordable dentist and only paying for what you need, versus getting all the bells and whistles? Each dentist has his own budget and allots finances for different things. Some things are truly an investment, because when you take good care of your patients, they tend to stay. Every office has some kind of marketing budget, so it’s possible the affordable dentist you saw has taken that marketing budget and funneled it into things that will help him with patent retention instead. As the old saying goes, it’s a lot less expensive to keep a customer happy than it is to find a new one.
If you’re receiving good care at a rate you can afford, then kudos to the office. It sounds like they’ve found the perfect balance. In the dental industry, you’ll often find professionals who are fantastic at repairing teeth, but they may not be business savvy. Unlike doctors, who often group together in one place of businesses, and can therefore afford an experienced business manager to handle budgets, marketing, purchases, and strategy, dentists often go it alone, and are totally responsible for every aspect of their business. So, you will find some that funnel their budgets into things that patients enjoy, simply because they know that it will help them retain their existing patients.
The bottom line is whether you’re paying too much or not. Again, this comes down to whether you’re receiving good care or not. If the doctor had put that money into mailing postcards to people who aren’t his patients, you probably never would have known. Instead, he provided a better atmosphere, and you can see it. Ultimately, if his rates are fair and he treats you well, you have found the equivalent of dental gold.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.