In-House Payment Plans

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Attract and Retain More New Patients

Let’s face it, it is competitive out there, and many Americans without dental insurance are looking for an affordable solution for their dental needs. How are you to compete and retain new patients? Have you thought about Membership Programs? Membership programs make it more affordable for patients without insurance to get regular check ups and cleanings, and by signing up for a yearly membership with monthly payments your building new patient retention. In addition when done right a practice can chose to add optional services that add added revenue to the practice and convenience for the patient. These options can be advised and selected on a per patient basis, items such as: An additional cleaning, Perio cleaning and whitening systems are a few of the most common. Membership plans are also being used successfully by practices targeting their inactive patient base, re-engaging them and getting them back to the office. The practice wins by enabling a patient to get regular care and by recognized recurring monthly revenue while building patient retention. Often, patents without insurance wait until they are experiencing discomfort and the idea of how to pay for a dental appointment is even more troublesome. Savvy dentists are offering annual membership programs for preventive care, and if more treatment is needed during their first visit may provide a discount for the general care the patient is in need off. The idea is “Sign up for our annual membership plan and save 10% on the additional services you need right now.” These forward thinking practices are providing an incentive for potential patients to move forward with the care they need and with membership plans are getting a year commitment for preventive care along with a [...]

By |2017-01-08T23:47:22+00:00March 21st, 2016|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on Attract and Retain More New Patients

Whose Brand are you Building?

Launching your own in-house membership program can make your practice stand out from competitors, by offering your patients regular access to affordable care. But why go through all the trouble of creating your own branded membership program, when coupon/lead services such as Etna, Groupon, and 1800-Dentist can offer the discounts to consumers for you? While these services can create a reliable source of leads by making your practice discoverable to new patients, they aren’t the best vehicle for generating loyalty. There are some exceptions, but usually someone that comes to you via a coupon service is a savvy bargain hunter. Nothing wrong with that, who doesn’t like saving a few bucks here and there? But six months (or a year) after that customer visits your practice for a teeth cleaning, what’s keeping them from going right back to the coupon site for their next appointment? Sure, if you make a great first impression, you’ll retain a few of them, but bargain hunters like hunting for bargains, and they’re just as likely to hunt for another bargain later down the line. If most of your leads are coming in through coupon services, you’re not really building your own brand. You’re building the coupon’s brand, since that’s where the patients will return when it’s time for their next cleaning. But if you have a way of capturing the bargain hunter’s loyalty while you have their attention, you can break the chain. Offer them a membership with prices that are competitive to the coupon sites, and lock in their loyalty. Once your membership program is in place, you can stop dealing in coupons altogether, or continue using them to feed your booking sheets. When you offer your own membership [...]

By |2017-01-18T16:49:27+00:00January 8th, 2016|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on Whose Brand are you Building?

The Membership Disruption

Dollar Shave Club is oft cited as an example of a start-up disrupting an established industry with an innovative approach. Founded by Michael Dubin and Mark Levine, Dollar Shave Club sells high-quality razor cartridges for a fraction of similar products from Gillette and other behemoths of the shaving world. But the price point and necessity of their product isn’t the only factor in their success. Rather than stocking their product at pharmacies and hoping consumers reach for them over the flashier brands, Dubin and Levine based their company around a membership retail model. Patrons sign up for a plan, and receive a certain number of blades a month. The success of Dollar Shave Club and similar services demonstrates the win-win value of the membership model. Customers don’t just save money; they get the benefit of checking an essential item off their to-do list. They never worry about running out of blades, knowing new ones will be there in the mailbox each month. Meanwhile, Dollar Shave Club can count on that customer’s loyalty, with little worry that they’ll jump ship to a competitor once they’ve started a membership. The American public understands the value of membership, especially when it grants easy access to an essential need. In the dental world, many practices are reaping the benefits of a similar model, by offering membership programs that grant access to care in exchange for a monthly fee. The patients get the benefit of regular check-ups, as well as discounts on larger procedures. Meanwhile, the dentist has an extended opportunity to make a strong impression, rather than offering a one-off discount or coupon, and letting the patient slip away six months later. Dental care is an essential human need, [...]

Evolving your Practice in a Changing Industry Part 2

As we discussed in our last post, the dental industry is undergoing a lot of change, with corporate chains popping up all over the country, and bringing an unprecedented level of both competition and financial creativity to the marketplace. Young dentists entering the industry often face overwhelming challenges right out of the gate. Student loans are high, and the market is crowded. It’s no wonder why many give in to the offers of steady work at a corporate practice, but there are still many that cling to the dream of owning their own dental office. Unfortunately, without existing customer loyalty or ties to the community, young dentists are going to have a rough time building a practice from the ground up. And without finding a way to keep patients coming back, many young dentists are struggling to keep their business healthy. Dentists in these situations are finding some success through outside lead generation sources — such as 1-800-Dentist, Groupon etc. They may also be savvy with social media and Yelp as well, but is that enough? With a plethora of options out there, many patients are "coupon-hoppers," favoring the latest deal over loyalty to one practitioner. Your average Groupon customer probably fancies themselves a bit of a bargain-hunter and will likely go back to find another deal next time they need dental work. Sure, your professional office staff and high quality of dental knowledge will make a great first impression, but there are just too many other options out there. This is why membership models are becoming increasingly popular for young dentists looking for a foothold in the industry. By signing patients up for a monthly payment plan that provides access to regular care, you [...]

By |2017-01-08T23:39:52+00:00November 10th, 2015|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on Evolving your Practice in a Changing Industry Part 2

Evolving Your Practice in a Changing Industry – Part 1

The influence of corporate dentistry has caused big shifts in the industry, and evidence suggests that growth of competition in the marketplace isn’t slowing down any time soon. A 2014 research brief from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute [1] found an increase in market share for dental firms of 20 employees or more from 2002 to 2012 (15.7% - 20.1%), while smaller outfits with fewer than five employees showed a decrease (19.9% - 16%) in the same period. Rapid growth in the number of establishments and employees accounted for by the largest dental firms also suggests an increase in consolidation amongst the largest multi-establishment chains. Finally, a 2014 HPI research brief [2] also showed that the per capita supply of dentists in the U.S. increased from 2003 to 2013, and will continue to grow through 2033, meaning we could be seeing an expanding supply of dentists alongside a flattening demand for dental care. This data only serves to confirm what most dentists — sole proprietors and corporate alike — already know: the current level of competition is unprecedented in dentistry, and it’s only going to grow. So then how do you stand out? If you own your own small practice, how do you attract new patients and convince them to stay loyal to your office, when there are three new outfits opening on your block? If you’re part of a corporate chain, how do you fulfill your investors’ expectations? And if your eye is on retirement, how do you maximize the value of your practice before you sell? Despite the wide range of challenges faced by practices of different size, a balanced financial strategy can help nearly every dental office stand out from [...]

By |2017-01-08T23:40:25+00:00November 3rd, 2015|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on Evolving Your Practice in a Changing Industry – Part 1

Sharing What We’ve Learned – Introducing a New Blog Series

Today marks the first post in a series exploring trends in the dental industry, and how practices nationwide are using creative payment and financing solutions to empower growth. Our parent company, ExtendCredit.com, has worked for five years in the dental industry, as well as in the Veterinary space as Veterinary Credit Plans. During this time, we’ve spoken to dental professionals all over the country, and gathered data from thousands of membership plans, in all 50 states, and over 5,000 zip codes, adding over 10,000 new plans a month. Over the years, our membership and payment plan solutions have helped Dentists, Vets, and other professionals handle over $100 million in treatment, completely set up and managed using Extend Credit’s software platform. While individual data is secure and private, we do analyze aggregated data to understand trends and best practices to further support our clients. We primarily focus on key data that helps our clients understand how their practice compares to industry trends. An example is analyzing the latest 25,000 payment plans to determine the most common high performing plans created within our platform we find that the average amount financed on a payment plan is $1,774, with an average interest rate of 10.5%. For these same plans we found that the average term length is 14 months with an average monthly payment of $130. By offering membership and in-house payment plans, Dentists in our network are able to meet the financial needs of more patients enabling them to say “Yes” to needed or desired treatment. This grows their business by filling their appointment books, obtaining full case acceptance, and generating loyalty through membership plans and creating a strong profit center through interest on payment plans. Over [...]

By |2017-01-18T16:56:05+00:00October 26th, 2015|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on Sharing What We’ve Learned – Introducing a New Blog Series

The Risk and Reward of Patient Financing

In-house financing software can be a powerful tool for turning leads into loyal patients, while generating an extra revenue stream along the way. By working with patients to finance procedures they otherwise couldn’t afford, your practice has the potential to fill its appointment books and provide care to many who couldn’t afford it. But the hard truth is that extending credit in this way does involve a bit of risk for every procedure financed. For this reason, it’s important to decide what level of risk you’re comfortable with, before setting your lending criteria. We have doctors in our network who employ hard and stringent credit requirements, only providing payment plans to the safest candidates. As a result, their number of approved procedures is small, but so is their default rate. On the flip side, there are gung-ho practitioners with more relaxed requirements who approve nearly everyone who walks through the door. While their default rates are higher, the revenue and profit stream from the procedures and interest on the plans make the ends justify the means. One of the most important decisions one can make when establishing an in-house financing program is picking a comfortable place on the risk/reward spectrum. However, the great advantage of creating your own in-house program is that once that decision has been made, modern technological tools make it easy to set-up and automate your program based on the parameters you've established. The very beginning of the process — evaluating a potential customer — should begin with set parameters on a number of factors. Modern automated software can run credit, banking and fraud checks at the click of a mouse, and that mouse click may very well be the end of [...]

By |2017-01-08T23:41:35+00:00August 23rd, 2015|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on The Risk and Reward of Patient Financing

Generating Loyalty Through Membership Plans

Turning new leads into loyal patients is a huge concern in the dental industry. As we discussed last week, outbound marketing can direct leads toward your office, but when 135 millions Americans lack dental insurance, dentists are often forced to say no to patients that need care. Many dentists are turning these patients into loyal customers by using non-traditional financing solutions, and among these, membership programs are becoming increasingly popular. Membership programs provide an easy mechanism to bundle a suite of products and services together that meet the basic, and in some cases, advanced, needs of customers. They typically have a modest monthly price that is paid over the course of the year in which the customer consumes the services. The strength of the membership model is a concept tried and true in multiple industries. For a key example, we can look no further than the juggernaut of members-only-savings, Costco. In its nearly three decades in business, the success of the plus-sized wholesale chain is dwarfed only by the pallets of foodstuffs, appliances, and household items that line its aisles. By paying a small annual membership fee, consumers gain access to savings and benefits they wouldn’t find at any other retailer. Once they’ve committed to a membership (as 1 in 5 Americans have), consumers are consistently more likely to patronize Costco over competitors, and spend more freely due to the perceived savings afforded by the program. A 2007 Harvard Business School study referred to this phenomenon as the “fee-to-savings” link. Through field data research and a series of customized studies, they showed that fees could serve as a signal of price discounts. Stores that charge fees are perceived as offering better deals for identical [...]

By |2017-01-08T23:42:27+00:00July 14th, 2014|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on Generating Loyalty Through Membership Plans

Saying Yes to More Patients

Getting open mouths into the office is key factor in the success of any dental practice. According to data compiled by Quality Dental Plans, a new patient is worth an average of $1,502 to the practice in their first year, so it’s no wonder the dental industry spends millions annually on marketing and advertising to generate new patient leads. Word of mouth from loyal customers is of course free, but online and print advertising is not. Sites such as “1-800-Dentist” can provide a steady source of leads, but often at a cost of $200 - $300 per potential new patient. But no matter much money a practice throws at outbound marketing, the consumer’s ability to afford care is often the final determining factor in whether or not the lead turns into a procedure. In other words, an effective marketing plan is important, but less so if the customer you’re reaching doesn’t have the ability to consume your services. An estimated 135 million people in the United States don’t have dental insurance. And 50% of those without insurance have reported putting off dental procedures because of budget concerns. As we all know, postponing important dental work just means bigger problems and more expensive procedures down the line. The overall effectiveness of a marketing plan shouldn’t be measured in how many leads enter your office, but how many of those leads are turned into procedures. It’s no wonder thousands of dentists throughout the country are maximizing their advertising dollar by integrating bold, comprehensive financing solutions, allowing them to say yes to more patients, turning more leads into procedures, and ensuring better dental health in their community. In the coming weeks, we’ll look at different forms of [...]

By |2017-01-08T23:43:16+00:00July 11th, 2014|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on Saying Yes to More Patients

Creating a Well-Rounded Financing Strategy

Dental practices and industry professionals need new tools and solutions that work together to attract and retain patients, grow revenue, especially predictable recurring revenue, and enable more patients with and without dental insurance the financial options that enable them to say yes to the care they need and the procedures they want. Dental CreditPlans (DCP), a division of ExtendCredit.com utilizes industry-leading software in a SaaS platform providing dental practices of all sizes a comprehensive, end-to-end solution for patient financial services. Providing patient financial solutions allows dental practices to enable more patients to say yes building revenue, but also working as a key marketing tool and differentiator helping attract patients and lower overall new patient lead generation costs. DCP single focus is the dental community and providing the solutions that enable dental practices to build a well-rounded patient financial strategy. Membership Plans Tightening credit, changes in insurance, uncertainty in the economy and numerous other concerns are making it harder for individuals to afford the general care, corrective and cosmetic dental care the seek. Membership plans allow the practice to answer specific needs for individuals and families, create employer and university programs as well as concierge. While membership plans are widely popular in other industries, the dental community is just now realizing how these plans can be used to attract new clients, enhance current relationships and enable more patients to obtain the services they want. The economic advantage is that they often lower lead costs and through monthly membership fees build predictable recurring revenue for the practice. For all these reasons Membership plans are an important part of a complete financial services program, but membership plans are just one key part of a sound dental patient financial [...]

By |2017-01-18T16:58:56+00:00June 20th, 2014|In-House Payment Plans, Membership and Payment Solutions, Patient Financing Solutions|Comments Off on Creating a Well-Rounded Financing Strategy