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Permanent link  Bartering for dental care


Please welcome Dr. Adrian Codel, a CDS member and general dentist who practices on Chicago's north side. Today Dr. Codel discusses how dentists can exchange dental care for other services through a bartering association.

Clean house for clean teeth.

That's right, when I clean a patient's teeth, I get my house cleaned. That is because I have incorporated bartering into my dental practice. By definition "barter usually replaces money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis, when the currency is unstable and devalued by hyperinflation." While hyperinflation may not be the case today, I believe monetary crisis is.

Now I am not talking about a handshake deal where services are directly exchanged. I am talking about bartering as a great marketing tool using organized barter and trade associations. In this case, you sign up for a trade association. Someone else who belongs to that association sees you listed and makes an appointment. They owe you $500 for the procedure. Instead of paying cash, $500 is transferred from their barter account to yours. Now you have $500 to spend on any item or service within the organization, regardless of what services the patient provides. Now, if this patient is happy she may refer you two cash-paying patients and post a nice review on Yelp! Your traditional marketing model and discounts were not needed.

So how do you spend the $500? Here are some examples of things I have used my barter/trade dollars on. For my practice: dental labs, ink and toner, document shredding, clinical equipment repair, floor refinishing, message on hold system even OSHA training and compliance. For personal use: limo service, Lake Geneva hotels, restaurants, concert tickets. That's right, I even have my own entertainment concierge that can get me sporting, theater and concert tickets, all through barter.

The income is taxable as revenue and proper documentation is received by year's end. The downside is that you need to decide how often or when you want to schedule these patients. I have noticed some dentists allow appointments during off-peak hours. Others only allow 1-2 patients at a time until treatment is completed. You can also dictate what percentage of treatment is barter and what percentage is cash. This covers lab expenses, for instance. It took me several months to figure out how to spend the "money" but now I find it fun and a little bit of a treasure hunt. There is a minimal transaction fee in order to keep the barter organization running.

Admittedly, it is not for everyone, but since the dentist can control the exposure and frequency, it is a fun, low-cost way to attract patients and reduce the amount of cash being taken out of your business bank account.

The two organizations I am most familiar with are: Art of Barter, which is restricted to the Chicago area, and IMS, which is nationwide.


adrian codel , bartering , practice management ,

can anyone refer me to a possible dental site in southern california

Posted by: rjustus4u ( on 05/16/2011

go to to do your bartering. it's safe/secure, reliable and completely free. check it out. good luck.

Posted by: Anonymous ( on 05/16/2011