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Are you as talented as a Dentist?


#1

Are you as talented as a Dentist?

I was getting hot under the collar today after finishing up at the
dentist today. I was getting mad at him and YOU! Yes Y-O-U! Here’s
why. It’s two fold and you’ll probably see yourself in this email.

My wife Renie and I run our company JewelerProfit as a two person
company. 401k plan and health insurance. But because of the insurance
costs with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, we opted to "self insure"
ourselves on dental, it’s a lot of money and we pretty much don’t
have that much done. Today I went into my dentist office and in the
waiting area was a Plasma T.V. with CNN running. Cool. Then when I
went into the chair for my cleaning, each chair had a smaller Plasma
TV hanging from the ceiling and your own remote control. I had 168
channels to choose from. I said “Hmmmm, I bet I’m paying for this.”

Last year I had a crown installed at about $895, of which my company
paid for. This month I needed a “Veneer”. This is a small sheet panel
that goes over the front of a tooth. Movie stars get them to make
perfect teeth, I needed on for a toot having a gap at the gum. The
procedure is much simpler than having a new crown done. This is not
much different that making a matching wedding band. In my mind, rate
of difficulty is:

Thing to do Difficulty in our industry Crown Hand carving a wax for
an engagement ring, laid out for any stones Shadow plain wedding
band Veneer on the tooth

I typed in Google “Veneers-teeth” and a site came up all about the
difference in a Veneer and a crown: In comparison to a dental crown,
the classic porcelain veneer is a wafer thin shell of ceramic that is
bonded onto the front side of a tooth. Whereas a dental crown covers
over and encases the entire tooth, a porcelain veneer just covers
over the side of the tooth that shows when the person smiles. Dental
crowns and porcelain veneers also differ by way of their relative
thickness. The classic porcelain veneer will measure 1 millimeter in
thickness or less, as opposed to a dental crown that typically
measures 2 millimeters or more. The Veneer was $1195 and I got a 10%
discount for cash. At checkout I said “Are you sure this is right? My
crown last year was only $895. This is easier.” “Our prices went up,
the crowns are now $995. The Veneers are more difficult to do” she
said. “I’m sorry, I make a living with labor. The dentist did less
work on me for the veneer.” “It takes more work for the lab to do the
Veneer.” "I disagree. I think you’re charging me for the T.V.'s “No
sir, it just, well, uh.” (She didn’t have a good answer. That’s poor
training) “You know, I think you’re just charging more because you
can.” She just slightly smiled. They offered to break up the thousand
dollars into 2 payment, but I paid in full.

As soon as I walked out the door I thought of you and the rest of
your fellow jeweler friends. Would I change my dentist? Not likely. I
like him, he does good work and one time I had a problem, he felt
like it might have been his fault and he didn’t charge for the fix.
It’s a TRUST issue, isn’t it? What about you jewelers? You have no
idea how many times I get crap from jewelers “I can’t charge that
price in my area.” “How do you know?” “I just do. I’ll EASE my way
up.” Of course what they are saying is "I’m too chicken to even TRY
IT. Heck if 30-40% of customers told you just where to go, you could
lower your repair and custom design prices. But
noooooooooooooooooooooooooo, you won’t even try. Over 90% of folks who
use my book and TRY the prices (yes many are higher than you charge.
I know something you don’t) get the prices over 90% of the time.
That’s a great batting average.

I just get so ticked at folks who won’t TRY some or all of the
prices. But you’ll always use KEYSTONE, don’t you? What do I mean? In
2001 a chain # 4657gh7 in 14kt yellow gold cost you $100. You tagged
it, asked for and sold it for $200.00. In 2007 that chain costs $200.
You tagged it, asked for and sold it for $400. Without batting an
eye. You didn’t say “Maybe people will complain, I’ll just markup the
chain 50% to $300 rather than $400.” But go from $85 for a half shank
to $138, Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Merchandise is price sensitive my friends. Repairs are trusts
sensitive, just like the dentist. And you probably spend 3 times
longer making a $1000 ring than my dentist will do on my “Veneer”.
Just do it. Charge more, you’ll get so few complaints and you’ll
make more money. I know my prices are going to go up! Who do you
think pays the dental bills to begin with?

Just do it.

David Geller
Director of Profit
JewelerProfit
www.JewelerProfit.com


#2
My wife Renie and I run our company JewelerProfit as a two person
company. 401k plan and health insurance. But because of the
insurance costs with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, we opted to "self
insure" ourselves on dental, it's a lot of money and we pretty much
don't have that much done. Today I went into my dentist office and
in the waiting area was a Plasma T.V. with CNN running. Cool. Then
when I went into the chair for my cleaning, each chair had a
smaller Plasma TV hanging from the ceiling and your own remote
control. I had 168 channels to choose from. I said "Hmmmm, I bet
I'm paying for this." 

Is this any different from the high end jewelry store, where no
expense has been spared to create a buying environment?

Last year I had a crown installed 

David, you had a custom made piece of jewelry designed for you. Not
only did it have to look good, it also had to function, think Calder
sculpture! Not only this but you had to have surgery to prepare the
tooth to receive the crown. Let us also hope that included was the
removal of any decay! Like a nice opal, the crown may not be forever.

I typed in Google "Veneers-teeth" and a site came up all about the
difference in a Veneer and a crown: In comparison to a dental
crown, the classic porcelain veneer is a wafer thin shell of
ceramic that is bonded onto the front side of a tooth. Whereas a
dental crown covers over and encases the entire tooth, a porcelain
veneer just covers over the side of the tooth that shows when the
person smiles. Dental crowns and porcelain veneers also differ by
way of their relative thickness. The classic porcelain veneer will
measure 1 millimeter in thickness or less, as opposed to a dental
crown that typically measures 2 millimeters or more. 

Boy, we are not selling by the pound or by the yard. Why should a
diamond cost more than a cz? After all it takes an expert or an
electronic instrument to tell them apart. Things seek a level in the
market and we all would be crazy not to take advantage of this. Next
time you sell your home why not list it for what it cost you plus a
modest 6% interest in the actual amount of cash you used to purchase
it.

As soon as I walked out the door I thought of you and the rest of
your fellow jeweler friends. Would I change my dentist? Not
likely. I like him, he does good work and one time I had a problem,
he felt like it might have been his fault and he didn't charge for
the fix. It's a TRUST issue, isn't it? What about you jewelers? You
have no idea how many times I get crap from jewelers "I can't
charge that price in my area." "How do you know?" "I just do. I'll
EASE my way up." Of course what they are saying is "I'm too chicken
to even TRY IT. Heck if 30-40% of customers told you just where to
go, you could lower your repair and custom design prices. But
noooooooooooooooooooooooooo, you won't even try. Over 90% of folks
who use my book and TRY the prices (yes many are higher than you
charge. I know something you don't) get the prices over 90% of the
time. That's a great batting average. 

The answer is probably fear. No one wants to loose a customer. But I
believe that David is right here.

Charles Friedman DDS
Ventura by the Sea
Formerly from Atlanta
Not Davids dentist


#3

Greetings to all my fellow Orchidian,

Well in reality a ceramic crown is $125.00 lab charges, in US and
same high quality ceramic crown in India Lab charge is around
$30.00.

So many now come to India for their dental treatment,which is
cheaper even though the traveling and hotel expences are considered.

This is just to give some on how Dentists make money,yes
they are talented and this is how the business works on more and
more cravings of humans to rob each other, I hope i am not offending
the humans, only the human mind which is sick and needs treatment to
be free form the desiers which is causing all the sufferings of
life,so every one can live in Harmony and peace with each other
Happily.

May all be Peacaful, Healthy and Happy

Umesh


#4
The Veneer was $1195 and I got a 10% discount for cash. At checkout
I said "Are you sure this is right? My crown last year was only
$895. 

Thanks goodness for the UK National Health Service… I’m
fortunate in that I live close to a large Dental Hospital and
training school and I have been fortunate to be on their books as a
’guinea pig’ for over 25 years now - my dental work costs me nothing.
Granted its done by students (under close supervision) but they are
the ones who are in their final year before being released on an
unsuspecting public and they have all the skills without having
succumbed to all the time pressures and rough handling skills which
seem to come with a dentists first few years in the business. Anyway,
during the last 18 months I have had 3 gold jacketed porcelain crowns
replaced, a new gold cap on one of my molar teeth and a new partial
chrome/cobalt steel denture - all for nothing!!! I just hope 'some’
US influences don’t manage to migrate across this side of the
pond…

Best wishes,
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK


#5

I’ve not read his book, but I’ll looked at his website and tried
(the spirit of) his methods, and I’d say, for the most part, David is
right on the money! (No pun.)

I disagree with the idea of charging for every little breath the
customer takes inside my store, i.e., cleaning and polishing, but
that’s just me. The rest of you out there in retail land go ahead
and charge for everything. I’ll keep polishing, cleaning, and
tightening my customers’ stone for free.


#6

David,

First of all, we use your pricing. I too don’t care for the way
dentists price their work. But the difference between them and us is
people have to go to the dentist not the jewelry store. A toothache
will drive you to pay whatever price he commands. That’s how they
get by with it. As I said, I’m not taking issue with your pricing
comments just pointing out how pain is a different aspect that
drives dental pricing.

An obstetrician was in at Christmas time and watched me through the
shop window bead setting some diamonds. He called me up front and
told me that I would make a great micro-surgeon. I have to admit it
did make me feel good to have that comparison, but this is one point
that we all should remember. Not everybody can do what we can do. We
have higher skills than the hack down the street so why should we
compete with them on price? Let him do the promo ring sizings cheap
and you charge a proper rate for your labor. Look at restraunts.
Would you rather be the oriental buffet offering dinner for $4.99 or
an Outback, Olive Garden, or insert your favorite place? There’s
usually a wait at the good places for a table even though their
prices are much higher than the buffet. Do what you do, do it well
and charge for it.

James S. Cantrell CMBJ


#7

Charles

Well one thing I can say is you’ve done a much better “sales
presentation” than my dentist staff did.

Boy, we are not selling by the pound or by the yard. Why should a
diamond cost more than a cz? After all it takes an expert or an
electronic instrument to tell them apart. Things seek a level in
the market and we all would be crazy not to take advantage of this.
Next time you sell your home why not list it for what it cost you
plus a modest 6% interest in the actual amount of cash you used to
purchase it. 

But I’m not talking about the cost of the crown. I’m using that as
my STABLE number.

A veneer takes less time and less material, and less risk than a
crown.

Should cost less.

In my repair price book it’s all abased upon time and material, not
gouging nor “what the public will bear.”

This vaneer is because I had a “dip” where the tooth met the gum, in
BACK. Not visible to people. It was uncomfortable.

But then again, If a dentist can get $10 for 1-1.5 hours and he goes
to school for 7 years, why can’t a jeweler charge a MEASILY $125-$150
an hour his his/her time?

David Geller

David Geller
JewelerProfit
www.JewelerProfit.com


#8

Am I as talented as a dentist? No. I am talented as a jeweler, that
is what I was destined for and trained to do. Do I think an $85
shanking job should cost $135? I personally think it depends on
whether it’s 10K or 14K. I do say this in ignorance, I am saying that
sometimes one can overcharge their market. I think jewelers deserve
fair pay for all that we do, same as any specialized trade from auto
mechanics to dentists. I don’t think it’s right to gouge the
consumer.

I also do not agree with the system of paying a jeweler’s salary on
commission. True this benefits the store owner and if the jeweler is
a speed demon but in the real world I do not think it is fair to the
jeweler. I do think it is fair to pay a jeweler by the hour or a set
salary because sometimes at the bench you get the murphy’s law
special and it eats the bench jeweler’s profit completely. Working in
trade shop has taught me that lesson.

I do not by any means intend to be offensive to Mr. Geller’s efforts.
He has a terrific business sense and a insightful perspective that
most of us hadn’t thought through in our industry. However, sometimes
what we make up for in profit, we lose in the quality of our
relationship with our customers.

For example, I have family in the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Since
Katrina, there are few stores and the market is ripe for the picking.
One family member needed one ring to be sized up 2 sizes (this was
not an intricate job by any means since she ended up sending it to me
anyway). One store quoted her $96 for sizing a 10K yellow ring 2
sizes. Am I wrong in thinking this is price gouging and the people
should be ridiculed for charging that much?

Just a thought,
Rene Howard


#9
I just hope 'some' US influences don't manage to migrate across
this side of the pond.... 

Actually, there are a number of dental schools over here that do the
same thing. It has nothing to do with the type of medical care system
one country has versus another. For the longest time my sister took
her spastic CP daughter to one of those facilities because that was
what fit her pocketbook while earning her degree in special
education.

Competition does have its advantages, just like in jewelry.
Competition creates the motivation to be the best, and it can create
a price range that fits the pocket book of consumers, without further
delving into political debate.

Miachelle


#10
Am I wrong in thinking this is price gouging and the people should
be ridiculed for charging that much? 

Yes, I think you are wrong in thinking that. It’s not an unfair
price at all. This assumes, of course, that they are going to do a
high quality job, protecting any stones involved etc. and that they
offer some type of warranty on their work. My upsizing charges start
at $100 for one size (in any metal) and go up for each size over
that. Want to know why I have to get that much?

  1. I have to spend 15-30 minutes with the customer sizing them,
    writing the order up properly (accurately identifying everything) and
    usually chatting them up since no one wants to be treated like just a
    dollar sign.

  2. I have to either keep in stock (which costs me money to hold until
    the right person comes in with the proper piece) or order the
    material I need. If I order I spend another five minutes on the phone
    and now suddenly I have shipping charges involved too (and I had them
    originally even if I have the metal in stock).

  3. I have to actually sit down and do the work. Some people are
    quicker than others. Most of the good jewelers could probably do it
    in 15 minutes (or less–some of you are really fast), but let’s
    assume you’re an average jeweler and it takes you 20 minutes.

  4. Add in solder costs, tripoli costs, and rouge costs.

  5. Add in wear and tear on tools.

  6. Add in something towards your overhead. Overhead–rent,
    electricity, gas, phone, advertising, alarm systems, cost of
    maintaining a safe, etc.

  7. Spend more time contacting the people to tell them their job is
    done.

  8. When they come in spend at least another 10 minutes taking in
    payment, giving receipts, telling them about your warrantee, etc. So
    what do I have now?

I’ve spent about an hour of my time, plus I’ve invested in materials,
had to pay my overhead, etc. and you don’t think that’s worth $100?
The reason so many new businesses fail is because people don’t
understand the TRUE costs of doing business. Some inexperienced
person will look at the job and say “oh there’s about $5 worth of
material in this and it will take me 20 minutes to do it so I can do
it for $20”, and you know what they can. But they’ll also be out of
business or really, really underpaid (and poor) for a long time. I’m
a professional. My appraisal time is billed out at $150/hour. I don’t
think I should be paid less for 30 years experience making jewelry
either.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#11
If a dentist can get $10 for 1-1.5 hours and he goes to school for
7 years, why can't a jeweler charge a MEASILY $125-$150 an hour
his his/her time? 

Just a sentence or two, and I’m outa here. Is an apple as good as a
banana? Is a yellow rose as good as a red one? Bermuda or Hawaii? A
jeweler’s a jeweler, and a dentist is a dentist. Not to mention he’s
a doctor. Geeeez.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#12
Do I think an $85 shanking job should cost $135? I personally think
it depends on whether it's 10K or 14K. I do say this in ignorance,
I am saying that= sometimes one can overcharge their market. I
think jewelers deserve fair pay for all that we do, same as any
specialized trade from auto mechanics to dentists. I don't think
it's right to gouge the consumer. 

All good and well, until you factor in other circumstances. If I had
a retail store in the Cherry Creek area of Denver, my prices would
have to be higher as the rents are double or triple what mine is
where
I am. Theoretically if I wanted to move upin the world and have a
better location which had higher rent, I would charge more now to
acquire the capital. It is not gouging, it is the cost of doing (and
continuing to do ) business. If you factor in all the things that
doing business involves, and have a retirement plan and health care,
you might find out what the real cost is, and then you might
re-evaluate what you would have to charge.

All of us fly by the seat of our pants jewelers in our 50’s and 60’s
are now dealing with what we had not taken into consideration… I
just
did a simple bracelet adjustment, and after I was done, I told my
wife, $6 for the repair, $4.00 for the time to run a credit card.

For those of you who are under 40 years old, find out what prices
were for food, gas, and housing ect. 20 years ago, and at present,
and
calculate where things will be in 20 years. Somewhere in between what
you would consider overcharging and what the market will bear is the
hard cold reality.

Now, the reality test, if you raised prices and lost some business,
but got paid more for less work, what could you accomplish with the
time you now have?

There are people on this forum who have reported various successes
with increasing prices in relationship to Geller’s
Perhaps not raising it as much as David suggests, but raising it none
the less, and having success. If you do not try, you have no basis
for whether it will help you or hurt you.

If any of you have tried Geller’s approach and had negative results,
please post what your experience has been, please tell us what worked
and what did not. My efforts increased repair prices by 1.5 to double
with no loss of work than before, except the crappy pain in the ass
work I did not need and was not smart enough to reject in the first
place.

Richard Hart


#13

Well just to say I did it I made my own gold crown on a back molar.
My Uncle Ollie who at the time was my dentist, had a lab tech carve
the wax, I cast and it polished it, and my uncle fit it in. It’s been
twenty five years and it has been no problem.

I saved myself a few hundred bucks too. Recently I needed another
one, but couldn’t get a wax of the tooth without the lab doing the
gold work.

Pull up to my chair…

Regards,
Todd Hawkinson


#14

As an addenda to the post of mine from yesterday here’s something for
you all to think about. Please note that I’m not exactly in a cheap
area of the country to do business, but my costs are not too far out
of line in general. I reviewed my QuickBooks P&L statement and found
that it cost me on an annual basis, just to open my doors everyday
(i.e. for rent, utilities, phones, advertising, professional fees,
office supplies, boxes and wrapping, tools, insurance–this figure
does not include any salaries or amortized build out expenses),
approximately $160,000 or $3200/week. This does NOT include any
material costs, solder, etc. That is just to open my door five days a
week, 51 weeks per year. And some of you are going to say that
charging $100 for a sizing is too much??? Before challenging Mr.
Geller’s book, take a look at what the REAL costs are of doing
business in America. Then take another look at what he’s telling you
to charge.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#15

With apologies to David Geller.

Somewhere in that thread were mentioned gouging and pricing your
work high enough.

I’ve noticed, in talking with local jewelers, that sometimes if
one’s competitor is lower priced one might wonder if he does inferior
work. If he’s substantially higher you wonder if he’s gouging.

But what is gouging? I think the ingredient of essential goods or
services is required. To continue with the example cited, you don’t
HAVE TO get your ring sized. By the same token your customer doesn’t
HAVE TO use you to size it. So this brings to mind the question of
why they DO use a higher priced jeweler. Mr Geller says repairs are
trust based. I agree but I’ll go a bit further. That trust is based
on personal experience or recommendation. It doesn’t come attached to
your incorporation papers. You have to earn it. And you have to
maintain it. Yup, its that old word…reputation.

I think what I’m feebly trying to say here is…Yes, try to get more
money for your work. But remember to truly back it up with
superlative quality of product and service if you intend to keep on
getting a higher price.

Many years ago I worked for a pretty exclusive jeweler. My boss was
looking over my shoulder one day and remarked that I was really
spending a lot of time on it. After he found out how much the job
was worth to his jewelry store he said with a sly grin, as he lowered
his loupe, “Be the best… And be expensive”.


#16
I also do not agree with the system of paying a jeweler's salary
on commission. True this benefits the store owner and if the
jeweler is a speed demon but in the real world I do not think it is
fair to the jeweler. I do think it is fair to pay a jeweler by the
hour or a set salary because sometimes at the bench you get the
murphy's law special and it eats the bench jeweler's profit
completely. Working in trade shop has taught me that lesson. 

I full well understand the position commission puts someone in. But
it also is a wonderful motivator. When I worked at the jewelers I
mentioned in another post today, I had a salary plus commission
arrangement. Come the third week of the month I really cranked. I
mean overdrive. Warp speed Scotty! Yet I still took pride in my work
because I recognized that I could only continue to get more
lucrative jobs if I made the pieces great. Each completed piece
became an advertisement. And it worked. Customers would ask for me by
name. In fact, it was the customers at that store that gave me the
trade name I use now. Neil The Jeweler. Whodathunkit?


#17

If you’ve never worked on commission, then you can’t really say. And
if you have and you’re slow, then you’re slow.

In 1986 I was paying $9-$11 an hour for jewelers. That number has
not a blessed thing to do with sizing a ring.

I declared bankruptcy that year. Did $830,000 and $300,000 at
Christmas.

Following summer of 1987 met a watchmaker who was a accountant, he
showed me how to do commission. I had 5 jewelers, all making about
$17-$24,000 a year. I changed them on a Monday to 100% commission. On
Saturday I had 2.

The 3 who left knew they were overpaid and the 2 who stayed knew
they were underpaid. Within 6 months the 2 who stayed ($9-$11 an hour
men) were making 50% MORE INCOME.

Because I fixed my COSTS, the store made money and I withdrew the
bankruptcy and paid everyone off.

1991 put the sales staff on 100% commission. They too were making
$17-$24,000 a year. Sales went up 45% that year.

Sold the store January 2000. Jewelers wages on my commission plan

(rounded number)
$30,000 (he was slow)
$39,000
$42,000
$49,000
$61,000

Sales staff made the same money.

Under a salary plan you are dependant upon how the boss feels about
you, your work AND IF THE BOSS HAS ANY MONEY TO PAY YOU.

Under commission you make your own lot in life.

And those salaries were 7 years ago!

David Geller


#18
Under a salary plan you are dependant upon how the boss feels
about you, your work AND IF THE BOSS HAS ANY MONEY TO PAY YOU. 

Under commission you make your own lot in life. I have to add my 2
cents. I am a dental hygienist. Most hygienists in my region,
California, are paid a daily rate, no matter what they do or how
many / few hours they work. Many are paid hourly. But at my previous
office I worked on commission. After working for 2 years at the
daily rate, I switched to commission only, 50% of all my production.

Even though my production was dependent on the front desk’s
scheduling, I made much more money and so did the dentist. My daily
rate went up and down just like his. I was happier when tired out
from working hard all day; when an assistant refused to help me I
was smiling inside (I was okay! Smiling all the way to the bank!)
and I never rushed the schedule or cut corners. The dentis was
happier too. And I never asked for a raise again. Every time we
raised the fees (annually) it automatically happened.

Working on commission made me feel more like a partner and it forced
me to trust my employer more than ever. Commission isn’t for
everyone. It was great for me. I no longer felt “guilty” when a
patient didn’t show up. I was interested in making the patients’
next appointments at a really convenient time for them.

I highly recommend it in any job. Especially in jewelry bench work
where it’s easier to administer than in dental hygiene.

I’m still a hygienist, going back to work after my ankle is healed,
Oct. 7. I am paid by the hour at my current office and happy about
that, because the whole situation is different. The previous office
I mentally named my “Golden Age” and I don’t know if it will ever be
repeated. I enjoy my work today though.

I’m making jewelry at home, slowly learning one skill at a time.
Maybe some day I’ll be able to earn a living making jewelry, only
God knows. I really like the feeling of self-destiny more than just
working there.

Okay bye

Connie L.
www.papayani.com