Dental Practice Overhead: What Numbers Do I Track?

I'll admit, I'm kind of a numbers geek. Ask my business partner...He's laughs at how much I love my latest google sheets. Each month I've got a multitude of numbers I track and evaluate. My spreadsheet is a beautiful array of colors and columns that allow me to get a snapshot into the performance and trends of our practice. That's why I think that tracking your practice #'s is so important. You can make improvements in systems, collections, and efficiency...but, if you don't track the data you can't really change anything effectively.

Lesson 1 is this...You MUST track data in your practice. Or at the very least have your accountant do it for you...but I recommend that you first build an efficient system to do it yourself. Because this data (my spreadsheet), is an instant picture into the health of your practice and effectiveness of your systems. It's like the dashboard of a car...it tells me if the machine is running well, how things are improving, and in which areas we are weakest.

A business genius once told me: "If you can't (or don't) track it...you can't change it."

So, what do I care about most? 

Well, I would say that all depends on the season. There are definitely numbers that I ALWAYS highly evaluate. Several of these would be: collections, accounts receivable, new patient numbers. But, there are also seasons we'll go through where we are specifically targeting improvement in a certain area of our practice. For instance, when we first build our practice, we adopted some of my partners systems (or lack thereof). And, we noticed that we were experiencing abnormally high rate of last minute hygiene failures, resulting in unfilled hygiene slots...even though our hygiene was booked out full for 6 months! We instituted some changes and system improvements to ensure that hygiene was consistently full and producing. Allowing us to attain higher cash flow and greater efficiency.  So, while we were working on "improving" this specific area of our business...I was very interested in my unfilled hygiene slots per month, as well as the # of short cancellations.  As we made changes I tracked those specific #'s to ensure we were a) actually making changes that improved our business and b) didn't waste our time and money.

I'm also monitoring my overhead categories periodically ( quarterly - yearly). These vary month to month and take awhile longer to evaluate for trends (big picture).  There are specific values or percentages (of total overhead) that these categories are evaluated against. If one of these categories move outside/inside my desired range, I need to look at  a)why this is... and b) what changes need to be made. For instance, if you staff overhead is beyond higher than my target range, you need to look to see if your staff wages are too high, bonus's are out of whack or you have too much personnel in general. I searched through practice #s on dentaltown, as well as the ADA practice survey to find 100's of examples from which to build my models. Practices are different, and average values are good, but I'd rather match my target ranges to practices that are successful AND similar to my own practice.  

Top 7 Dental Overhead Categories

1) Payroll

2) Lab Costs

3) Rent/Occupancy

4) Dental Supplies

5) Office Supplies

6) Equiptment

7) Administrative

To answer the question...I track all of them. The Blog photo is a snapshot of part of my master sheet. If you want to learn more, shoot me an email or check out Dental CEO program

~ Cole Brenny DDS