5 Tips to Save Money and Avoid Hidden Costs On Dental Supplies
 - December 22nd, 2022

Every year, many otherwise successful dental practices overspend on supplies for one reason or another (seeing thousands of dollars fall through the cracks as a result). 

Dental supplies typically cost the average practice anywhere from 6% to 6.5% of its total expense budget. At first glance it may not seem like much, but without healthy strategies in place, that number can balloon.

To minimize that number as much as possible, you want to avoid hidden costs in your monthly dental supplies invoice, have sufficient working capital, and learn to source the most cost-effective and competitively-priced supplies on the market. 

Here are our 5 best tips to save money and avoid hidden costs on dental supplies.  

Choose An Honest and Transparent Supplier

Horror stories of unreliable suppliers that don’t deliver on time, never answer their phones, and worse abound in the dental industry. Dentists who have found themselves dealing with someone unreliable will often find unexpected hidden costs tacked onto the final invoice – a surefire sign that your supplier is untrustworthy. 

Stay clear of these scenarios by avoiding suppliers who over promise on what they can provide and never choose a supplier based on price alone. What you want is a supplier that is honest about what they can provide, offers exceptional customer support, and is transparent about all costs.  

Watch Out for Bait-and-Switch Tactics

The second thing you need to watch out for is what’s known as the “bait-and-switch tactic”. 

A dishonest supplier will often use this tactic to reel in business, offering compeling deals for the first few orders (hence, baiting you with low prices) before switching products or increasing their prices a few months later. 

To steer clear of these antics it’s best to employ that age-old advice, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” 

Never assume you’re getting a great deal. Instead, check your invoices regularly for price increases and other irregularities compared to your agreement and purchase order. Also, remember to read the fine print by checking the terms and conditions of any sales or promotions before finalizing a purchase or entering into a lengthy contract for dental supplies.

Beware of Double Shipping Fees on Backorders

Have you ever been charged for shipping costs (again) on a backorder? It happens more often than you’d think.

It may come as a shock, but some suppliers actually charge additional shipping fees for backorders. What does that mean? You’re paying double on shipping costs for products that should have already been shipped to you. The least these suppliers could do is ship backorders at no cost to you.

To avoid this unfortunate cost, remember to check your invoices and delivery receipt against what you received, particularly in the event that certain dental supplies weren’t shipped out when you expected. 

Regularly Review Costs and Invoices 

We mentioned this next tip already, but consider this our way of underlining its importance. That is to regularly review the costs of all dental supplies, including shipping. 

One of the best practices to implement is to conduct a monthly review of all invoices. And if you can’t be on top of it every month, then at least do a quarterly review to ensure your dental supply costs are under control.

In fact, some dental practices take advantage of daily staff meetings to ensure that finances are being managed correctly. You may even find that while reviewing invoices you discover where some major supply-related reductions can be made.

Renegotiate Supply Costs Annually, or Partner With a Program That Handles It On Your Behalf

In order to know how much you can save, it’s best to have numbers to gauge year over year. The best way to do this is to keep meticulous records of all the supplies you’ve ordered over the last year to gain a better understanding of how much you can save.

Once you have this number, which encompasses the total spend over the course of a year and the total cost per volume of each supply, you can negotiate price and terms with your current distributors.

And don’t place all your eggs in one basket. Compare prices with other suppliers to ensure you’re getting competitive rates. 

Dental practices are often too busy to take on these types of daunting tasksThis is why Dental Whale has a comprehensive portfolio of trusted, preferred suppliers that offer our members low industry rates for dental supplies. 

You Can Do It Yourself Or Work With the Experts

There are many moving parts to a dental practice. Oftentime, it requires a whole team to figure out what needs to be done. 

The same goes for sourcing and saving on dental supplies. 

It takes an organized team, properly scheduled orders from the front office, proper accounting of supplies from the back office, and meticulously paying attention to finances. 

The entire dental team should be aware of keeping costs down in the most innovative ways possible. To do this, it’s always helpful when your employees are incentivized to find solutions, whether it’s a bonus, a gift certificate, or other goal-based reward (get creative here).

While times are tough, if your dental practice cannot reduce expenses and build its working capital back up, try auditing your expenses for dental supplies. 

Plus, consider upfront costs, repair costs, and warranties before making a final decision regarding dental supplies and equipment.

Most importantly, be extremely mindful of the tips shared in this article. They come from experts who have been procuring the best supply rates from many of the nation’s largest healthcare supply companies


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