How Does A Dental Office Put Services Out to Bid?

janitor cleaning an office
Are you getting the best value out of your service providers?

For many of my clients, one of the hardest parts about owning a practice is the day-to-day small business management.  Most dentists enjoy clinical challenges. They have big plans for the future of their practices. But the boring, day to day administrative aspects of owning a business leave them cold.   Most of the time, they can outsource these functions, but occasionally they need to step in and take a close look at their current expenses, to ensure they’re not leaving cash on the table.

Create Cash by Finding the Best Fit For Your Needs

One way to create cash is to take a hard look at your service contracts.  Do you contract out your cleaning, web services, maintenance, phone support, billing or scheduling?  Are you sure that you’re still getting your money’s worth? When was the last time you put your service contracts out to bid? Are you unsure of how to start the process?  Here are some tips:

Put contracts out to bid on a regular schedule.  Most small business advisors suggest putting your contracts out to bid every 3-5 years, but if you’re having a problem with a contractor, you should put the service contract out to bid sooner.

Stagger which contracts are out to bid. Instead of having to put every contract out to bid every three years, stagger when you bid them out. It’s easier to renegotiate one or two contracts a year than all of them at once.

Write a clear description of your needs.  With your team, write a clear description of your needs. Are there areas where the current contract isn’t working out as you hoped? Make sure your list of needs reflects that.

Research competitors to your current firm. Delegate team members to research competitors to the current contractor. Contact them and ask about their process for bidding on new contracts.

Open the call for bids, contacting your current contractor and the competitors. Give a deadline for bids and proposals.

After the deadline, examine the bids and proposals and choose the best fit.  Remember, the best fit for a job may not always be the lowest bidder.   When you make your decision, balance cost, experience, and services offered to find the best contractor for your needs.

Contact both the winning bidder and the losers. It’s important to maintain good relations with everyone who submitted a proposal and bid.  They may not have been the winners this time, but in three years they may be better suited to your needs.

If you’ve chosen a new contractor, prepare for the transition.  It can be hard to tell your existing contractor goodbye, but professionals are used to losing bids.  Make a list of information you need before the transition. For instance, a new web manager means you need the old passwords. A new copier servicing company might need to know when your toner was last changed.

Putting contracts out to bid is not a glamorous or fun part of owning a dental practice, but it is a necessary part. Get into the habit now, and ensure that the services you receive are the right mix at the right price.