Seven to Three

There are thousands of practices nationwide that work from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., without a lunch, for four days a week.

If you do this already – would you ever practice any other way? Did your practice die when you changed your hours? No, it got busier. You have no problem booking the 7 a.m. appointments.

We have young dentists who are booked out six weeks for a crown. Six weeks! There hasn’t been one practice in the history of dentistry in the United States that I know of that went to a straight eighth week and saw their practice go flat or decline. It goes up every time.

Of course, there are downsides to the 7 to 3 schedule. You can’t screw up.

You can screw up all day long working 8 to 5 with a lunch. Where do you put your screw ups? That lunch hour is the first thing to go. Then, you’re squeezing in appointments at the end of the day, or sometime before the practice even opens later that week. We see practices who claim to work 8 to 5, but they really arrive at 7:15 a.m. and leave after 6:30 p.m.

With the tight 7 to 3 schedule you’re not screwing up. You cannot stay until 3:30 or 4. You’re booked solid. You have a system in place that ensures everything goes smoothly. Patients have to show up, you have to hit your cues and patients have to pay. Things have to pop.

When you have hygiene appointments at 1 or 2 p.m., you’re greeting the patient with her fee and having her pay before she goes back. Why? Because when that appointment is over at 3 p.m., you’re walking to the parking lot together.

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What are your lunch plans? Are you hitting your favorite spot once you leave at 3–or did you squeeze in a patient once again? If your lunch hour is getting away from you, check out our latest video on taking control of your hours.

From The Best Practices
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Episode #301: Build Your Practice With a Wellness Approach with Dr. Doug Thompson

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