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Dental Consultant Asks: What Are Your Collections?

Dental Consultant Asks: What Are Your Collections?

Is this a question you ask your Accounts Manager regularly? Dentists who are frantic about their profitability always seem to be bugging their staff about the collections. What’s worse, they try to “save” their way out of bad financial situations and that’s the wrong solution.

Now don’t get me wrong. You should save money where you can, but the fact is that most of your expenses are fixed. Instead of asking, “What are the collections today?” you should be asking, “What percent of my collections goes to staff pay?”

Why? Because the percentage of staff pay tells you what kind of manager you are and whether your staff are efficient or not. It’s hard to be profitable if you have a high staff pay percent. On the other hand, a low percent of staff pay pretty much guarantees profitability.

Percentage of staff pay is figured by taking your staff pay and dividing it by your collections. Keep in mind that staff pay includes matching payroll taxes, unemployment, 401Ks, uniforms, health insurance, etc.

A profitable dental practice is under 25% but a really profitable dental practice runs under that. A dental practice collecting $100,000.00 with a 70% overhead has the same profitability as a dental practice collecting $60,000.00 with a 50% overhead.

Except the dentist in the $100,000 a month dental practice is working a whole lot harder!

Really profitable dental offices are run by dentists who train and demand production from their staff. They keep them focused on the product they are delivering. So next time you have the urge to ask your front desk, “What are the collections today?” take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What percent of my collections go to staff pay?” If it’s more than 25% you need to train your staff better so they are more efficient and productive. When you do this, your collections will go up and your percent of staff pay will go down.

With proper training, staff can become more productive. And you don’t even need to pay them more!


Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at 

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Our 25th Year | Grow Your Practice 

There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long.  A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices. 


New Patient Phone Call

Insurance Processing

New Patient Experience and Patient Education

Financial Arrangements



Unscheduled Treatment 


Daily and Weekly Checklists

General Policy Manual 

Staff Accountability

What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.


What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply. 

Questions To Ask 

  1. Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?

  2. Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.

  3. If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.

  4. Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.

  5. The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.  


Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant

Shane Blake DDS Coudersport, PA

My name is Kevin Tighe. Consultant. Coach. Mentor.

My mission is to advise, recommend and help implement proven systems to grow your practice . 

Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually partner and now sole owner. 


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