Deciding the right time to add an additional front office staff member can be challenging.

Is your front office understaffed and overworked? Does your team greet patients warmly and present treatment in a comfortable, unrushed environment? Do they work the recare system and follow up with unpaid claims? Are they able to keep AR under control? If you answer no to some or all of these questions, it is time to review both staffing levels and practice systems.



Utilize industry benchmarks to determine front office staffing levels. McGill Advisory recommends:

  • One full-time front desk person for every $60,000 per month of production.
  • Highly efficient teams can handle $75 – 100K per month per FT front desk staffer.
  • 6-8% of the practice overhead allocated to front office compensation. This does not include benefits or 401K contributions.



Oftentimes we find the challenge is not a staffing issue but rather a systems issue. Tightening up protocols and delegating appropriately can solve the dilemma without adding to your staff overhead.

  • Outsource payroll, confirmations, compliance, and off-hour phone answering.
  • Prioritize daily tasks at a front office morning huddle.
  • Match efforts with objectives; avoid creating overwhelming systems. A system that works 80% of the time is effective. A system that works 100% of the time is likely creating too much busy work.
  • Move to digital charting and give up the paper charts, even if they do feel like a security blanket! Using a paper chart with some digital charting doubles your efforts.
  • Schedule efficiently with a block system. The schedule is a puzzle that needs the right pieces in the right places, not any piece in any place! Full, but unproductive scheduling creates chaos for the front office, the doctor, the clinic, and the patient. Contact Burkhart’s Practice Support Team if you need templates for various block schedules.
  • Practice good transitions from the clinical area to the front desk team. Choreograph this hand-off to benefit both the patient and the practice. Role-play this transition during monthly team meetings until it is routine. Reach out if you need guidelines to make the transition memorable and effective.
  • Hygiene should post-treatment complete and pre-schedule in their Ops. After all, they know what they did and patient loyalty to the hygienist can be strong. These are also ideal tasks to accomplish while waiting for the doctor exam.
  • Manage the recare system and AR daily for greatest efficiency.

Healthy systems free-up time for front desk team members to accomplish more tasks with greater job satisfaction.

Need support to tighten up a system or two?

Great news! The Practice Support Team helps our loyal Burkhart clients do just that – at no cost to you. Reach out to your Account Manager or PST for support. Your success is our success.

Your success is our success. Please reach out to us anytime.
Learn more, visit the Practice Support Team page, email us at, or call 1.800.665.5323.

Burkhart Dental Supply – Practice Support Team


Category: Practice Consulting

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