It’s All in the Numbers
As you close out this past year and reflect on the first full year without any shutdowns as 2020 brought us, it makes sense to step back and take a look at your numbers. This is the case whether you are in your first year of practice ownership, have owned your practice for ten years, or you are getting closer and closer to retirement. You should always be managing your practice to your numbers while keeping the number one goal of taking care of your patients to the best of your ability.
So that all sounds great, but how do you manage to your numbers? The first step is grabbing your Profit and Loss statement and a Production by Provider or Production by Procedure report for 2020. If you know Microsoft Excel, you can input the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. If you don’t know Excel, you can grab your handy-dandy calculator.
Most numbers you manage to are calculated based on a percentage of your gross collections. That’s the top number on your profit and loss statement. You should take the number after returns or other credits to gross revenue. Some Profit and Loss statements may call this number Profit and others will call it Revenue.
The first number to look at is your staff expense as a percentage of revenue. Add your staff salaries, payroll tax for staff, and staff benefits. Divide that total by revenue. Your target should be about 25% of revenue. If you’re slightly above 25%, don’t worry, increasing collections while keeping staff salaries flat will help you improve this number. If you’re over 35% and you really don’t think you can improve collections, you should analyze your staff. Maybe you have too many, or maybe your staff that is overpaid. These days, it’s easy to overpay staff since they’re hard to come by. Time and time again, when we look at practice numbers, this is one of the biggest profitability killers.
The next number to look at is facilities expense as a percentage of collections. This includes your base rent plus any of the common areas that you pay for and other facilities expense – garbage, parking lot maintenance, etc. This expense should not be more than 7% to 9% of revenue. If you are significantly higher than this number, you are not maximizing your facility, overpaying on rent, or you have too big of space for what you need. You can either increase collections or decide to downsize your space, sublease space, or do something else that will help get your numbers down in the 7% to 9% range.
Dental Supplies expense is something else to look at. Divide Dental Supplies expense by revenue. The target is 6% of revenue. If you’re a few percentage points off, don’t worry about it. If you’re at 12% to 15% or higher, you may have supplies walking out the door, overstocking your supply cabinet, or you’re buying top-end products. This should be a quick fix if you have a meeting with your person that orders supplies and give them a budget.
Lab expense is similar to dental supplies. If you’re a basic crown and bridge practice, you should be at 7% to 9% of revenues if you don’t use a milling machine in-house or you don’t place a lot of implants. The latter two will skew the numbers. Negotiate with your lab if you are higher than 7% to 9%. If you’re with a high-end lab, you’re at 12% and love their work, don’t change labs. You’re only a few points off. You can make up the difference elsewhere.
The other quick measure is hygiene as a percentage of total collections. Take your Production by Provider report or Production by Procedure report and figure out how much of collections are coming out of hygiene as a percentage of total revenue. The target is to be above 30% of revenue coming from your hygiene program. If you’re in the low 20% or less and you have a general dental practice, you should take a look at your hygiene schedule and see how many patients they’re seeing per day. Maybe their schedule isn’t full, or maybe hygiene is booked out for several months and the hygienist can’t keep up. You will need to analyze this for yourself.
Looking at your numbers is something all business owners do to help them manage their practice. These are a few simple numbers that you can quickly measure a few times per year, make a few changes and you can get your overhead down below the national average of 65%. Best wishes on the New Year and may your overhead be under control.