How to Save Money on Dental Supplies and Avoid Hidden Costs

An Eye-Opening Interview with Dental Whale Savings Network Leader Jim Gochis   

Did you know that overpaying for dental supplies can cost your practice thousands of dollars every year? The truth is, many successful dental practices can end up failing in the long run for a variety of reasons. 

dental supplies

Some may lose credibility thanks to a marketing campaign gone wrong, while others simply don’t understand how to manage their money efficiently. And, especially during the pandemic, it’s important to think wisely about your spending habits.

One of the most important aspects of any successful dental practice is having a sufficient amount of working capital. However, if you’re overspending on dental supplies, then your practice is letting money fall through the pipeline. 

Realistically, it can be tough to cut costs at your dental practice, and dental supplies can cost around 5% of your revenue. 

Especially this year, many dentists might be looking to minimize that number as much as possible, but it’s hard to do when you don’t know where to start.

I had the opportunity to speak with Jim Gochis, leader of Dental Whale Savings Network, and pick his brain about this very topic. 

Dental Whale Savings Network is a one-stop-shop for all the high-quality, cost-effective resources, services, and supplies a dental practice needs to stay competitive. They have a network of more than 40 trusted suppliers, from everything needed for front office, back office, IT, OSHA and educational training, as well as labs.

Jim has spent his career negotiating supply costs for some of the largest healthcare companies in the nation such as HCA, Miami Jewish Health Systems, and Gentiva Health Services so I immediately knew he was the right person to speak to

Let’s delve into some of the eye-opening tips Jim shared with me to help avoid hidden costs in your monthly dental supplies invoice.

Top 5 Tips to Follow for Dental Supply Cost Savings

Choose an honest and transparent supplier

Oftentimes, dentists will establish relationships with suppliers who over promised on what they can provide and at what cost. For this reason, Jim said: “Don’t get trapped into choosing a supplier based on price alone — you have to look beyond that.”

In order to look beyond that, Jim says you should “choose a supplier that is honest, provides exceptional customer support and is transparent about all costs.” 

He said he often hears horror stories of how unreliable some suppliers are, so much so that they don’t deliver on time and worse, sell poor quality products, and never answer their phones. He also said these dentists found, “many unexpected hidden costs tacked onto the final invoice.”

Watch out for bait-and-switch tactics

This second tip Jim mentioned, the bait-and-switch tactic, really unnerved me. He said dishonest suppliers often use this tactic to reel in business. 

“For the first few orders they will offer compelling deals and discounts that sound too good to be true aimed at baiting you in with low prices, and then switch products or increase the prices in a few months.” 

His recommendation was, not to assume you’re getting a great deal, but to check your invoices methodically for price increases and other irregularities compared to your agreement and purchase order. He also said, “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

Did you ever think that you’d be charged for shipping costs again for backorders? Apparently, that happens more often than you’d think.

I was shocked when Jim told me, “Some suppliers may charge additional shipping fees for backorders.” Think about it, you’re paying double in shipping costs for products that should have been shipped the first time around. The least these suppliers could do is ship backorders at no cost to you.

To avoid this unfortunate cost, Jim suggests checking your invoices as well as your delivery receipt against what you actually received, especially in the event that certain dental supplies weren’t shipped out when you expected. 

Review costs and invoices consistently

This next tip was actually mentioned in the previous two — review costs of all dental supplies, including shipping, consistently. 

“One of the best processes to implement at your dental practice is to conduct a monthly review of all invoices,” said Jim. To add to that, if you can’t be on top of it every month, then at least conduct 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 reviewing invoices helps 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.

To add to that, don’t place all your eggs in one basket. Compare prices with those of other suppliers to make sure you’re getting competitive rates. 

When I touched on this with Jim, he said: “Many times dental practices are too busy to take on these types of daunting tasks. This is why the Dental Whale Savings Network exists! We have a comprehensive portfolio of trusted, preferred suppliers, and continually contract for aggressive, 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, and it’s not something that just requires one or two people. Oftentimes, 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 about 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, then try auditing your expenses for dental supplies. 

Plus, always 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, especially because they come from an expert who’s been procuring the best supply rates for some of the nation’s largest healthcare companies.

To learn more about how you can save on dental supplies, visit savings.dentalwhale.com.