Yup. I said it.

I know that everyone does this and I know that you think I’m dumb or worse for saying such a thing but I’ll stand by what I said. Why? I’m glad you asked!

  • I should have confidence in my fees
  • My fees should go up over time, not down
  • I can offer incentives that are more valuable to patients and parents and cost me less than a percentage discount off the fee if I want to add a sweetener to close the case (custom whitening trays, clear braces, a free retainer, etc.) and that is a bigger win for both parties.
  • Finally, and most importantly, if I have front row access to a family and regular engagement with them for a couple years while treating one of their kids and I don’t perform well enough to convince them that I’m the ONLY orthodontist to see for their younger kids then I SUCK and don’t deserve to treat the siblings! If the family will leave me over a couple hundred bucks then I’m the problem, not them!

I don’t know how else to explain it. I know we offer family discounts because we always have and everyone agrees that it’s the proper way of doing things but the fact that ALL orthodontists agree that this is the right way should be a tip off in and of itself shouldn’t it? We orthodontists kinda suck at business…

6 thoughts on “Offering A Family Discount Is Dumb

  1. I have decreased my discount from 5% of their out of pocket expense to 3% and I hope to discontinue it completely in the next two years ( a gradual phase out). Doing an “upsell” is a great alternative though! Ben, what is your philosophy if they start more than 1 sibling at the same time?? Does your office do anything different in that situation?

  2. Carrie despite the intentionally inflammatory title to this piece, you can certainly do whatever you feel best for your practice. I’m a huge fan of setting the fee for treatment at a level where you and your team feel confident, sticking to your fee, offering affordable financing and offering value ads that would normally cost patients a bunch of money. Things like a free set of retainers, free custom whitening trays or clear brackets are good examples of things I might throw in for free when starting multiple cases at once. These things would normally cost patients hundreds or thousands of dollars, they don’t cost me a ton of money as part of orthodontic treatment and they are more valuvalw than the traditional family discount. But again, there are lots of ways to do business. I just want you and others to think about what you do and why instead of just doing what we have always done.

  3. What if you are a new grad? And trying to build a client base? Would love some input. Thank you!

  4. Dude you gotta do what you gotta do and whatever it is you BELIEVE you gotta do is true for you! Obviously there are many different ways of going about this and most of them work! I tend to make the titles of thes blog posts slightly inflammatory but my goal is to get you to think about what you do and why instead of just doing what we’ve always done. If giving a discount works for you then you may want to continue doing so. And if you believe discounts are necessary to close a case then you definitely should! But if you’ve never tried it another way, how do you know it won’t work as well or even better?

  5. Thanks Ben! We have been successful at doing these things in the past but this year , I have been looking to change things up after all the discourse on these threads . Always ask why. Thank you!

  6. Awesome! Keep us posted on how it goes. Maybe you could do a guest blog and tell us about the process and your experience!

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