I worry about dental students, new graduates, and those in their early years of practice. Are they as naïve nowadays as was I a few decades ago? I hope not, but chances are that many will have difficulty finding their way in the first few years (perhaps much longer) for lack of business knowhow. I wonder how other dentists with extensive practice experience, looking back, would rate their preparedness for the real world of dentistry upon graduation.
Right now most practices are taking a look at modifying their fees for 2012. Here are some thoughts about circumstances that should cause you to think twice about raising fees at all, then about some factors to consider that might affect the amount of the increase, and finally the number one factor to consider in the fee increase equation.
Clearly, one needs to take a serious look at the state of the local and regional economy. If factories and businesses are continuing to suffer or fail in your area and/or your practice is shrinking, any kind of the fee increase would most likely be noticed, and considered by your patient base to be unfair. If you have recently purchased a practice it might be a good idea to wait until the dust settles before instituting any change in fee structure, regardless of the fact that a new year is about to begin. Finally, if you have recently set up practice from scratch, let’s say within the past six months, you might want to wait until you have some perception that the practice has stabilized before instituting any further fee changes.