In this guest post, the founder of BoomCloud App, Jordon Comstock, explains why membership programs are a practice growth service every dental office should consider.
Earlier this month I attended the Voices of Dentistry Conference, which was put together by all of the dental podcasters in the industry. My good friend Gary Takacs spoke over the weekend, and started his presentation off with a skit about the dental industry needing to break free from the shackles of dental insurance.
Insurance companies are taking control of the industry, and Gary advised practices to consider reducing dependence on dental insurance. Gary spoke about the importance of negotiating fees from PPOs, and spent a good amount of time sharing how his practice went from working with a lot of PPOs to not working with any because of his in-house membership program.
An in-house membership program is basically like Amazon Prime but for your dental practice. Patients pay a monthly or yearly fee, and in return receive special benefits and discounts to your practice and your practice alone.
This allows your practice to focus specifically on quality dental care. It cuts out any middle man that interferes with your practice, and eliminates claim denials and delays. This helps your cash flow in two obvious ways: generating predictable, recurring revenue, and delaying payments from insurance companies.
In this article we will discuss seven reasons why every dental practice interested in growing revenue should consider creating an in-house membership program.
I briefly mentioned this in the beginning of the article, but it's well worth mentioning again: One of the biggest problems in dentistry is dental insurance.
The model inflates costs in the industry, impacts the care you give to your patients, and complicates the way you run your practice.
By reducing dependence on dental insurance your practice can be free to provide quality care for your patients while improving cash flow.
In the traditional model, the only people that win are the insurance companies. A membership program provides a win-win solution to what was before a win-lose-lose problem.
As a business owner, “feast and famine” cash cycles can make running your practice a nightmare. One month you may be crazy busy and generating a lot of cash, but the next month may be a different story.
An in-house membership program can help your practice generate a predictable recurring revenue stream.
For example, the typical membership program costs a patient around $35 per month. If you sign up 1,000 patients you'll generate $35,000 per month in recurring revenue.
I have seen practices across the nation benefit from recurring revenue generated by an in-house membership program. Stabilize your practice, and make it less stressful to manage.
Membership programs increase your dental practice's value because of their predicable cash flow model.
According to The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow, recurring revenue can increase your practice’s value by two-to-six times the annual recurring revenue. Instead of receiving a discounted valuation for your practice, the revenue stream can be multiplied.
I highly recommend reading John’s book, as he does an excellent job illustrating why this business model is so attractive to business/practice owners.
Demand can be high one month and demand can be low the next month. I managed a dental lab early in my dentistry career, and one thing I learned is that the industry has a lot of ups and downs.
A membership program will help your practice become more stable and less stressful to run during those slow times.
If you generated $35,000 per month in predictable automatic revenue (based of our our previous example), could you support your staff? Would it help with your fixed expenses?
I believe so.
The key ingredient to having a successful membership program is managing it correctly.
Utilizing software, systems, and process will dramatically help you scale and grow your program.
It is critical to utilize automatic payments with your membership program. If you cannot automatically collect membership fees from your patients each year (or each month), you'll miss out on the aforementioned benefits for your practice.
Getting paid automatically is the greatest feeling in the world. And as your tasks increase due to volume, automatic payments will ensure the successful growth of your membership program.
It has been proven by both small and larger companies that members (be they customers, patients, or clients) buy more than traditional non-members.
Amazon Prime, a membership program for Amazon, has grown a billion dollar membership program. Data from consumer intelligence research shows that customers who spend $99 per year on Amazon Prime go on to spend $1,300 per year with the retailer.
That's nearly double the amount spent by a non-member customer!
This is a great example of why you should consider creating and growing an in-house membership program for your practice.
Recessions come and go in our economy, and the best way to protect your practice is by generating recurring revenue through an in-house membership program.
A practice that solely focuses on high-margin treatment plans will ultimately create a feast and famine model. This model is normally the first to feel the pressure of a bad recession.
It is so important for a practice to focus on recurring revenue and auto renewals in a membership program. They create stability no matter what the economic climate is.
Not only will you reduce dependency on dental insurance, generate recurring revenue for you practice, and enjoy patients buying more form your practice, but with an in-house membership program you'll also turn your practice into a recession proof business!
I hope that this article was beneficial and motivational for you. Membership programs are one of the oldest business models for a good reason.
Do you ever wonder why insurance companies have the biggest buildings in the community?
Do you ever wonder why there are businesses out there that get sold for multi millions of dollars?
If you are interested in recurring revenue and creating an in-house membership program for your practice, I would be happy to help guide you in the right direction.
Jordon Comstock is the founder of BoomCloud Apps, a software company that allows dental offices to easily create, organize, track, and automate an in-house membership program. Contact his team at (800) 260-9285 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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