In any dental practice, the doctor incurs expenses in order to run the practice. The biggest expense doctors incur in any practice is their staff but dentists typically no not invest in training the staff. The doctor’s goals most often fall short and usually, the practice will plateau as a direct result. Your staff is the most important asset in your practice. Constant training will give a higher ROI than getting the new shiny object that the doctor thinks will bring in more revenue.

I have seen practices where the staff takes up more than 30% of collections to almost 35%. I advise my clients that this number needs to be in the neighborhood of 20-24% of collections. If a doctor has staff overhead of over 30%, there won’t be room for the doctor to take out money. This would include the doctor’s wages and draws they take out of the practice. The doctor will feel that he is working so hard with very little to show for it.

One metric to track to look at if the staff is being overpaid is in your hygiene department. The ideal number is that hygienists should be producing at least 3X their wages. I find that most hygienists are being not producing at this rate if staff overhead is over 30% of collections.

So why do we look at this metric? For starters, if your hygienist(s) asks for a raise you have data to back up your decision as to why they don’t deserve a raise at that given time. A better way to look at raises is to incorporate a bonus system for the staff. The bonus system should be a win-win for both you and the team.

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