As a general rule always analyze your expenses through the lens of ROI, or how much profit a certain expense is yielding. If you’re just starting a practice, there are many ways to delay some big expenses until you have built up a client base and income is coming in regularly. Here are 15 ways that will help you lower your expenses.
1. Be Smart
The key to reducing office expenses is not to do it in a haphazard manner. Each cut needs to be thought out and planned. If there is any doubt about whether to eliminate an expense, go ahead and do it to see what the results are one month later. In many cases, owners will be surprised how much money they have saved with no loss of revenue to the company.
2. Get an Automated Electronic Health Record System
As with any business, employees are, by far, the biggest expense. With new technology, employee expenses can be drastically lowered. With a fully automated electronic health record system (EHR), there is no need for added employees. Not only are they fully automated and customizable, but they are extremely easy to use, and they even cut down your paper use by a significant amount, which not only saves the pennies, but also helps the environment. They can even be used on a free trial, to see how you feel working with it.
Here’s how it works- First, you buy two or three computers and install one at the entrance of the waiting room (big expense at first, but it will save you a lot in the long run). Since you may have planned a desk for your future front desk assistant, you may install a computer at this desk also. Then, you install the last computer in your treatment room. You give every new patient a chiropractic health card; enter their chiropractic exams in the EHR system, and set up their treatment and billing. It’s as easy as pie!
3. Know how to use the EHR
Each morning, start the waiting room management software. Throughout the day, while you’re in your treatment room, patients will arrive and swipe their chiropractic card at the waiting room computer, which will notify you in your treatment room. This will enable you to see how many patients are waiting for treatment and who they are. From your computer, you can show that you are ready to receive your first patient. Speakers attached to the computers can automatically notify the patient that you are ready for them. Then, while you treat the patient, you enter the SOAP notes on the touchpad. After you have examined or treated the patient, you can close the patient file, and they will be billed automatically according to what treatment they received and relative to his or her insurance. With just the click of a mouse, you can arrange future appointment. Once a week, you click one button to send all the claims to a clearinghouse. Once a week, you click another button and all the insurance payments get automatically posted in each patient file.
If you really enjoy having people at the office, or if you feel you don’t want to entirely part with your staff, you can determine which ones actually contribute to growing revenue and which ones are administrative overhead. EHRs are not your only alternative option- employees can also be replaced with freelancers that only bill when there is work to be done. Matching revenue to variable people expenses in this way will cut overall costs and immediately boost profitability.
5. Reduce the Electric Bill
The quickest way to reduce your office energy bill and your carbon footprint is to change your existing lighting to more energy-efficient lighting. For most businesses, the cost of turning on the lights is the bulk of their electricity costs. All modern light fixtures such as desk lamps, office lights etc, can benefit from more energy-efficient bulbs.
For example, by using an LED 11-watt A19 bulb in place of a conventional 60-watt incandescent bulb, you will instantly save 49 watts per socket. These simple changes can pay for themselves within a year. Unplug devices nightly, since most draw a small amount of energy so they can be turned on quickly. You can also purchase special power strips that can block energy from being used.
The purpose of insurance is to protect what an owner can’t afford to lose. If your practice is small, does the owner need to protect against a loss? This may not make sense if there is very little to lose financially, inside the business. Alternately, raise insurance deductibles. Finally, don’t have employees pay for rental car insurance or airfare, since most charge cards cover this. It is, however, your responsibility to see which types of insurance your chosen card affords.
7. Buy Inventory in Bulk
Rather than ordering the products you sell each month, consider ordering in bulk, once a quarter. Then ask your supplier to negotiate a lower bulk rate for the bigger order. If they're not willing to do that, shop around for better pricing elsewhere.