Dentists spend a lot of time thinking about their fees. Should I be charging more? Am I not charging enough? How much is too much? What if I price myself out of the market?
To understand how to approach these questions, letâs take a look at the basic principles behind pricing in general. In our free-market economy there are really three forms of pricing:
- Commodity pricing is what you see at the gas pumps or the orange juice aisle, where the quality of the product is regulated and essentially the same whatever you choose, so the lowest price tends to win. And because many patients tend to view dentistry in this wayâthinking that all practitioners have to meet the same licensing requirements, and perform the same basic services, so why not go with the cheapest? âitâs easy to get trapped in this model of competitive commodity pricing.
- Category pricing is set depending on a range of quality and options. Whether itâs TVs or coffeemakers or mobile phone plansâquality, value and prices can vary greatly. Itâs this âyou get what you pay forâ model that drives consumer websites. Many dentists compete in this field by striving to show how the experience they provide sets them apart, or by highlighting a specific focus such as implants or esthetic services.
- Brand pricing is where every business wants to be. Take Tiffanyâs for example. Everyone understands the value of the brand. Anyone who receives a gift box with that name on it is excited before they open it and anyone who shops there is not looking for discounts. Itâs the same with Apple, or Porsche, or the Mayo Clinic. Itâs not about commodity or comparison shopping anymoreâbecause the buyer isnât really choosing a product or service, theyâre choosing a name people know and trust, a name that stands for something. Dentists who have achieved this level of reputation find that their patients are much more flexible about dental care fees. Itâs not about charging a âpremium.â It just means theyâre confident in their value and theyâre not afraid to let their fees reflect that. Theyâve earned the right to set brand-level prices.
Finally, hereâs a little secret about dental fees: the dentist in your community who charges rock-bottom fees hears âthatâs expensiveâ just as often as you do. For most people, dentistry is always going to seem expensive. The only way past that is to give them a value experience that says you are expensive but worth it.