Veterinary Wellness Plans in Veterinary Practice – Pros and Cons

by easyDVM

Woman out running along a grassy track with her two dogs. Rear view if get legs with both dogs in view. Early morning light creates shadows at atmosphere. Shot on iPhone 6If you are in the field of veterinary medicine, you have heard about wellness plans.  You may be asking yourself if these plans would be profitable for your practice. Here are some pros and cons that wellness plans can bring to your business.

Pro: Increased Vet Visits

Clients have been known to increase the amount of times they bring their pets to the vet by two to three times when they have wellness plans. When a client can pay for services at a discounted price monthly, or even annually, they will be inclined to utilize these services more often. This leads to better care for pets, improved bond between the veterinary team and the client, and increased revenue for your practice.

Pro: Wellness Plans Tailored Towards Specific Practice Needs

Do you need to draw more revenue towards a specific service, such as dental cleanings or spay/neuter surgery? Create a wellness plan that includes items associated with only these services.  This can drive clients to providing yearly bloodwork and dental cleanings for their pets, or even spay/neuter services with a new puppy/kitten vaccine package. Ultimately, again, this improves pet care and the bond with your clients, as well as increased revenue.

Con: Wellness Plans Can Be a Sensitive Matter

There are many things that can make wellness plans fall apart. As a veterinarian, you must pay close attention to what is best for your clients and their pets. Communication between yourself, your team, and your clients is essential to the success of wellness plans.  Clients need to understand which wellness plan is best for their pet at various times throughout their care.  Therefore, you cannot implement a successful wellness plan without thorough research to provide appropriate options and excellent communication to your clients, as well as your team.  Everyone must be on board to make it work.

Con: As With Everything, Things Can Take a Terrible Turn

It happens.  Clients cannot pay their wellness plan fees.  A pet dies with months of unused services.  As part of implementing wellness plans, veterinarians have to at least attempt to prepare themselves for the inevitable. Know what you are going to do; maybe your practice will offer a refund of services not used or have a clause that protects the plan, and your practice, if a client defaults on payments. If you have covered your bases beforehand, and communicate this with your team and clients, it will not be as difficult to deal with, should the time come.

Summary

This information merely grazes the surface of wellness plans in private practice.  In conclusion, the most important thing is to do your research as a veterinarian and include your team and clients in the implementation of your pricing strategy.  Find out what is best for your clients and roll with it. Wellness plans may not be the answer for you and your practice, but they are worth a shot.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Technology and the Decline of Veterinary Business

by Hunter Little

Scrolling through Facebook one Sunday afternoon – as one tends to do when avoiding work that needs to be done – I came across a shared photo that piqued my interest. It was a photo of a non-descript whiteboard with some statements written down regarding different major industries and companies that had changed the paradigm of those industries; companies like Apple, Air BnB, and Uber, that had utilized technology to carve out their place in the market and ultimately create their own success. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am not one to go seeking wisdom amongst the annals and back-pages of Facebook. I think that if there is any place where you are likely to find actual “fake news”, chances are it will be on Facebook. But this photo – whose original source I couldn’t trace, as it had been shared numerous times and therefore forces me to simply paraphrase rather than share here without proper credit to the author – actually made me stop and think about the implications of its content. In essence, the photo – and the whiteboard it contained – said this:

‘Amazon did not kill the retail industry. The retail industry killed the retail industry with bad customer service.’

‘Uber did not kill the taxi industry. The taxi industry killed the taxi industry through fare control and limiting the number of taxis.’

‘Netflix did not kill Blockbuster and the film rental industry. Blockbuster killed Blockbuster through ridiculous late fees.’

There were more examples included, but I think you get the idea. After listing all of these different industries and the companies that disrupted those industries, there were two remaining sentences on the whiteboard, both written in a bold typeface and underlined for emphasis. They read:

‘Technology by itself is not the real disrupter…’

‘Being non-customer centric is the biggest threat to any business.’

Now, we can sit and argue all day about whether the retail industry or the taxi industry are actually dead, but that would be missing the whole point. What should really be the focus of our discussion is the nature of technology in business. More specifically, how the implementation of technology can fundamentally change not only your stance within an industry but also your relationship with customers and the nature of customer service. As the whiteboard said, it is not technology that is the real disrupter. Rather, it is businesses becoming non-customer centric that is the real threat. Businesses that lose sight of the customer and their relationship to the customer ultimately stand to lose the most. Whether you provide a service, a product, etc., the customer should always factor directly into that business equation you have constructed.

I think the overwhelming selling point for some time has been how technology can be incorporated to streamline a veterinary business model or make a veterinary clinic more efficient in how it runs and sells. But what about the customer? Yes, by utilizing technology in some form or another, you can deliver veterinary services to them faster, increase the total number of customers you can handle at one time, etc. There are myriad examples of that relationship between technology and growth. But what about the relationship between technology and the customer/customer service? Big companies like Uber, Apple, and Amazon disrupted their industries and rose to the top by implementing technology not for technology’s sake, but by using technology to distribute a service or product in an entirely customer-centric format. What I’m ultimately trying to do here is change the way we approach technology from a veterinary business standpoint. Let’s not ignore all of the ways technology can improve a veterinary hospital and how it operates internally. But let’s shift our paradigm slightly, and begin to approach technology from a customer-centric angle. When we look at new technology, the thought shouldn’t only be “How will this new technology help my practice grow?” What should be included in our thought process is “How does this technology make me more customer-centric?” Or, “How could this technology improve my customer’s experience?”

As I’ve said on this blog in the past, it is always good to take some time to take stock of your place in the world; to take stock of where your business stands and review where adjustments could be made. A certain level of self-awareness as it relates to business can make all the difference. So, in that vein of thought, I think it is high time we take that approach to technology and business. Take the time to assess how you can become more customer-centric. Perhaps, the answers might surprise you.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Indirect Veterinary Customer Service: Technology and the Employee-Customer Dynamic

by Hunter Little

I’ve got to say, I am really proud of the title of this blog. If nothing else, I’ve managed to make something that is, at its core, a very simple concept and transform it into a seemingly complicated theory (there is always something humorous about over-complicating simple ideas). When I say “Indirect Customer Service”, what I’m really referring to is the notion of improving customer service by improving other aspects of your business that do not directly deal with customer service. That is to say, addressing customer service indirectly by addressing other areas of your business. Also included in the title is this notion of the employee-customer dynamic, or more specifically, the daily interactions that occur between employees and customers (we can even include employee-to-employee and customer-to-customer interactions).

My theory is quite simple, and is ultimately based on a few basic observations within the workplace. By implementing a few key technological improvements into the lives of employees (with the idea being that these technological installments are meant to make the employees’ work easier), the employees would ultimately be happier and more productive (I promise, this is not some kind of pseudo-communist plot). This direct influence on employees has indirect benefits for customer service. A happier employee is bound to have a pleasant interaction with the customer. If you have ever been introduced to any kind of behavioral-based psychology, then you know that people oftentimes direct emotions at outlets other than the source of their emotions. Thus, an employee that is, for example, stressed out about the complicated process for inputing a new client’s medical history into the medical records database may be more likely to imbue that employee-client interaction with their negative emotions regarding their practice software. The client ends up being the recipient of an employee’s frustration, and thus has a negative customer service experience. Yet, this negative experience had nothing to do with the client. Thus, because we failed to directly address a problem or inefficiency within the workflow dynamic (or the workplace as it applies to the employees), we have indirectly influenced our customer service.

This notion of indirect customer service was one of the driving factors behind the creation of EasyDVM veterinary practice software in the first place. We wanted to create something that was entirely based on a customer-centric model, emphasizing the importance of customer service before anything else. This means that, when we began designing the software, we designed it through trial and error, utilizing the input of our employees throughout the creation process. It is easy to design a software platform that is aesthetically pleasing and loaded with tons of features. but none of that matters if your employees can’t use it. Functionality and ease-of-use became imperative to the creative process behind EasyDVM veterinary practice management software. What I ultimately found was how this indirectly affected customer service. If employees are happy, then clients are happy. It may sound simple or a little overreaching, but I challenge you to try it. Like I have done before, I challenge you to put customer service at the forefront of your business, and see what changes come with that new approach.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

10 Best Marketing Tips for Veterinarian Practices

by easyDVM

Word-of-mouth once created extreme demand for exceptional veterinarians. Today, amplifying your message and building a strong local presence are needed to increase foot (and paw) traffic to your practice.

Here are 10 tips to keep your lobby full:

1. Make Sure Your Practice Is Top-Notch

Lots of competition exists. Not only are there more vets than ever, but there are also pet vaccine clinics and large pet retailers. Review your location, your hours, your pricing, administration and your pet care. Lacking in any area? Fix it before expanding promotions. If scheduling or recordkeeping are issues, veterinary software will make you more efficient. The convenience of practice hours can be troublesome, so consider adding one late night per week.

2. Formulate a Goal and Strategy

What do you want to accomplish? How can you get there? Consider how you do things now and what works well. Promotions that target current clients are successful and cost-effective since these people already know and like you. Supercharge your use of client mailers and your newsletter. (You do have one, right?)

3. Encourage Word-of-Mouth

Today’s loving and savvy pet owners research well before trusting someone with their furry friends. They’ll ask friends for recommendations and read online reviews before calling for an appointment. Be sure to ask current clients to leave reviews on your website, Google or social media accounts. Offer them a discount for referring friends or family. Surprise good customers with a gift card for a local pet store. You can bet they’ll tell their friends.

4. What’s in It for Them?

Focus marketing on the benefits to your clients and their four-legged friends. Tell them about your friendly team, your newly extended hours, cage-free boarding or affordable rates. Why should they do business with you?

5. Keep Your Message Simple

Figure out your message and stick to it. Keep it simple, easy to remember and effective. Something along the lines of “Jones Animal Hospital: We love your pets like you do!”

6. Use Calls to Action

Your marketing should include a call to action. Even if you are voted Best Vet in Miami, a vet offering a promo discount for new clients will likely attract more of them. Use your status, but give them a reason to call for an appointment right now: “We were voted Best Vet in Miami, and we’ll give you $25 to found out why this week.”

7. Build Social Media Pages With Unique Content

Sponsor photo contests for “best smile,” “laziest pooch,” “most curious cat” or “playful pups,” and watch your fan base grow rapidly. Post links to blog posts offering tips about keeping pets safe on the Fourth of July, or how to keep them parasite free. Offer incentives to current clients who enter their pets in the contest, in addition to a gift for the winners. Promote services sparingly, but give them lots of information, great pictures and stories about your pet clients or your team.

Animal rescue groups are always in need of pet food and other supplies. Donate these yourself, or set up a donation area at your office. You might also consider volunteering to treat injured or ill animals that are rescued. Animal lovers know which vets in town are kindred spirits!

9. Special Events and Collaborations

Hosting workshops about caring for a new puppy or leash training a dog will draw lots of pet lovers. How about a picnic or holiday celebration to thank your clients, or an open house to show off your new facility? Collaborate with related businesses and do cross-promotions.

10. In-Practice Marketing

Promote your services on your lobby walls and treatment rooms, or pin flyers to a bulletin board in your waiting area. Let people know how you are different from other vets in town.

Use these tips to brainstorm ideas for your practice, and contact us for veterinary software programs to streamline administration and boost profits.

Sources:

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

How to Get More Clients at Your Veterinary Practice

by easyDVM

The sustainability of a veterinarian business is critical, particularly where there is competition. One of the key elements of a sustainable business plan is attracting and retaining clients. Here’s how to
attract those new clients and keep them so you have the edge over competitors.

 

Word of Mouth Works

One of the best ways of getting new clients is through the quality of the work you do, which can help you get recommended by existing customers. If your clients are happy with the care you give to their pets, they will recommend you to others. As a business, you can build on that feedback by setting up a reward scheme. When an existing client recommends a new one and they use the service, give them a discount on vaccinations or treatments. Another good loyalty scheme is to offer discounts to senior citizens, many of whom have pets as companions.

Use the Web

The internet is a gold mine for advertising and attracting customers. Make sure your website is up to date and the contact details are correct. By having web pages or a blog with search engine-optimized content, you can attract new clients searching for veterinarian care online. Don’t forget to use social media to attract new customers, too. A Facebook or Twitter account is an excellent way of raising the profile of your business, highlighting issues such as vaccination requirements, seasonal hazards for animals and more.

Give a Prize and Network

Getting involved in a local fundraiser by donating a prize or offering to judge a pet show is another way of publicizing your business and attracting clients. It helps raise the profile of the veterinary clinic and gets your name known on a wider field. Community events are also great for networking and sharing ideas, which may also help grow your business.

Using Veterinary Software Programs

Having a reliable veterinary software system in place is vital. This enables a clinic to track clients, send reminders and collect data on trends. It will produce information essential to the smooth running of your business and enable you to identify areas for development. Investing in veterinary software like easyDVM veterinary software also helps you keep accurate records and provide an efficient service that attracts clients. Software with up-to-date information can help you personalize your service, which can help make clients feel remembered and looked after.

Find the New Residents

Most towns have construction developments these days and there are always new people moving in and out of an area. You can use these opportunities to partner with a real-estate company to offer a discount to new residents, several of whom are likely to have pets and will be looking for a new veterinarian. Check out any pet-friendly hotels in your area and give contact details should a guest need assistance with a sick animal.

Use Print Advertising

Check out your area for local newspapers, particularly those that are free. Make sure you have a regular advertisement, as these attract customers. You can also offer a pet-focused column to the editor containing useful tips for animal owners. This can bring in new clients to your business and help raise the clinic’s profile.

There are many ways of attracting new clients in a veterinary business. By implementing a few tried-and-tested schemes, you’ll see your business grow.

 

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Should I Open My Own Veterinary Practice?

by easyDVM

Open for businessOpening your own veterinary practice gives you a lot of control over your career, but some vets are happy to remain associates in existing practices. The right choice for you depends on what you want out of your career. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each option to see which is right for you.

Why Open Your Own Veterinary Practice?

Veterinary practice owners often have more control over their working lives than vets who work as employees in practices owned by other people. When you own the practice, you can determine the opening hours of your practice, as well as choosing the layout and decor of your working environment. Feeling that you have chosen to come into work every morning can make a huge difference to your state of mind, as you will feel in control of your life. You may also feel more invested in the practice and feel as though you are working toward an important goal.

Why Remain as an Associate?

Associate vets often have a better work-life balance than practice owners. Although they may in theory have less control over their working hours, they often work fewer hours in total. Whereas practice owners must do everything it takes to keep their practice running, including solving any crises that occur, employees are only obliged to work their contracted hours. When you go home at the end of the day as an associate, you can stop thinking about work, whereas a practice owner is responsible for planning the long-term future of their business.

Which Is Better for You as a Veterinarian?

Choosing to remain an associate doesn’t mean you aren’t committed to your career. Some veterinarians choose to forgo practice ownership so they can spend more time reading the latest medical journals and developing their medical skills. On the other hand, practice owners get a wider view of pet care, as they interact with pet owners, insurance companies, and the regulations that govern the industry, as well as the animals themselves. Which option is best for your career? It depends whether you want to focus purely on medicine or explore other areas of running a veterinary business. This is a very personal choice, so take some time to think through which aspects of your job you most enjoy before making the jump into practice ownership.

Which Option Is More Financially Rewarding?

Practice owners have a greater potential to increase their earnings than associates, but they also risk losing money. As an associate, you may enjoy the stability of taking home a fixed salary every month, or you may aspire to build a business that provides you with long-term financial security. If you have access to enough capital to start your own practice, you could create a highly profitable business that gives an excellent return on your initial investment.

Should You Open Your Own Veterinary Practice?

Opening a veterinary practice is a great option for many people, but before you jump into this option, it pays to do your homework. Take the time to learn the business skills you’ll need to manage your practice, such as marketing, accounting and managing practice budgets. Think carefully about what you want from your veterinary career. Are you an ambitious entrepreneur who craves control or an associate who simply wants to care for animals while maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Design Your Veterinary Practice Facility to Maximize Your Pet Patients’ Comfort

by Sam D Meisler DVM

Hospital

When designing a veterinary practice, it is important to keep the comfort of patients in mind. Design choices that appeal to humans aren’t always the best for our four-legged friends, who can be very sensitive to sounds, temperature fluctuations, textures and colors. Use these design tips to make your pet patients feel more at home and reduce their anxiety over visiting the vet.

Colors

Some animals feel nervous in enclosed spaces. According to veterinary architect Wendy Wheeler Martinez, using light colors inside your practice can make spaces look bigger, which could help soothe pets’ anxiety. Light colors are a particularly good choice for ceilings, as they can visually push the ceiling away to make the room feel less claustrophobic.

Flooring

Ideally, the floor of a veterinary practice will be easy to clean and maintain. Even house-trained pets can have accidents when they feel nervous about being in a new environment, so it’s important to choose a flooring type that wipes clean and doesn’t hold onto smells. Vinyl and rubber are both good choices, whereas installing carpet is likely to be a decision you regret. Other types of hard flooring, such as concrete or tiles, are also easy to clean, although pets might not find them as comfortable to walk on.

Sound

Background noise can be a big problem in some veterinary practices. Soften the noises of barking dogs and mewling cats by installing absorbent panels in noisy parts of your practice, such as the kennel area. Soundproofing your practice in this way can help to keep stress levels as low as possible among your patients.

Some veterinary practices choose to play music to cover background sounds and create a welcoming atmosphere for both humans and pets. Studies have shown that dogs in rescue shelters get more rest when they listen to classical music, reflecting human studies that show classical music reduces stress by relieving pain, lowering blood pressure, and slowing heart and breathing rates. Try using gentle classical music in your practice to put pet patients at their ease, but steer clear of noisy pop or rock music that could set four-legged visitors on edge.

Temperature

Animals are very sensitive to heat. Unlike humans, who have a huge number of sweat glands covering their bodies, cats can only sweat through their paws, and dogs cool down by panting and sweating through their paws, which leaves them vulnerable to overheating. If the temperature in your veterinary practice is too high, you may notice your pet patients leaving wet footprints on the floor. During summer, use air conditioning and fans to create a cooling breeze and prevent overheating in your pet patients.

Overall Design

In general, it is a good idea to design your veterinary practice to be as homely as possible. Be sure to provide areas for dogs to sit or lie down in the waiting room, with drinking water available. By making design choices that turn a sterile building into a welcoming environment for your pet patients, you may be able to reduce their stress levels and help them cope more easily with the unfamiliar experience of visiting the vet. Of course, you also need to consider the practicality of your design choices; soft furnishings and carpets may not be the best choice, as you need the space to be easy to clean.

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

3 Things to Consider When Starting a Veterinary Practice

by Sam D Meisler DVM

VeterinarianIf you’re planning on starting a veterinary practice — a million and one thoughts are likely racing through your head. Trust me, I know the feeling — but as long as you remain focused on the task at hand, everything will begin to fall into place.

Although highly specialized in terms of your objectives, opening your own practice needs to be viewed like any other business. In order to succeed, you’ll need to plan ahead and adjust your goals based on your evolving objectives.

If one thing is certain, you have an exciting journey ahead. As long as you break this one large (yet exciting) goal into smaller, more attainable steps, you’ll be well on your way.

First, you’ll need to consider the following…

There is no doubt that it takes a certain type of individual to start a veterinary practice. Although you may be a veterinary first and foremost, you also display key entrepreneur qualities — including a high level of passion and willingness to take educated risks.

Of course, your overall mission is to build a profitable business — but at the heart of it all, you will also want to build a practice that provides excellent service and quality medicine. In order to achieve these challenging, yet attainable goals, you’ll need to take a few key steps.

1. Write a business plan

Whether you’re opening a veterinary practice or a restaurant, every business owner needs to plan ahead. With only a loose strategy in place, how will you ever implement your current objectives? Begin to ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What is my core mission and how will I achieve success?
  • What will I offer my clients — and more importantly, who will my clients be?
  • What will be my edge over the competition?
  • How will I market my new practice and what will my sales strategy be?

If you are looking for ideas and some key examples, the Australian Veterinary Practice Management Association offers a thorough guide that you can check out here.

2. Establish your location and team

When choosing a location, you need to think about the current demand. This will be one of the most important considerations in terms of sustainable success. Also, make sure you do some market research. Find out more about the local demographics, so you can find a location that will meet the needs of your target market.

When it comes to your team, think about not only your immediate staff, but also the professionals who will provide key services. In most cases, a new veterinary practice will require assistance from experts such as a local attorney, an insurance representative, a financial advisor and even a strategic mentor who has already taken this exciting journey.

3. Seek funding opportunities

Right now, you need to make a list that includes all of your start-up requirements. Some examples include:

  • Legal services
  • Rent
  • Equipment
  • Systems for bookkeeping, scheduling, etc.
  • Promotion
  • Initial operating costs

You need to be practical in terms of your expenses and projected cash flow. To begin, prepare a 12-month projection. Estimate your potential revenue, expenses, debt financing and your minimum salary.

Next, explore all of your options — including possible grants. Look into grants that cover aspects of animal research, focusing on both private and public opportunities. When lending money, always be mindful of three key areas: the principal, the term and the interest rate.

At the end of the day, you need to make decisions based on what’s best for you and your practice. Your goal is to meet the needs of your clients, so be sure to automate as many systems as possible. This will free up precious time and energy, so that you can focus on what really matters — taking care of those who do not have a voice.

 

Sources

http://avpma.ava.com.au/
http://veterinarybusiness.dvm360.com/

EasyDVM Practice Software is a cloud-based veterinary practice management software system. We pride ourselves in offering a system that is user-friendly, easy to learn for new team members, full-featured and elegant in its simplicity. Best of all, all devices, multiple users, all your clients and patients, always affordable.

Pricing in Veterinary Practices

by Sam D Meisler DVM

The business of veterinary medicine is fascinating.  When we all embarked on our journey to become veterinarians, how to succeed as a veterinarian seemed to have nothing to do with the business of veterinary medicine. Goal number one was getting into vet school. Goal number two was paying for vet school – i.e. student loans. And goal number three was getting a job and getting paid for it. Somehow, we all assumed that things ended there for us as far as veterinary economics was concerned.  Our negotiation for a higher salary woPricing in Vet Practiceuld be with our bosses, and we could let our bosses figure out how it would all work with clients, pets, services and products. We would try to generally stay out of the business mess.

But then as we advanced in our careers, some of us started to get frustrated with our bosses. Why didn’t he buy that ultrasound machine that I wanted and needed to use?  Why doesn’t she pay her staff more money? How did my paid vacation disappear when I went to proSal?  Why are we always being pressured to sell wellness packages? And then we thought we could do it better.  So some of us became bosses and then after a while, we started to understand that just like our former bosses, we didn’t have all the answers. We also started to understand some of the answers we had been given.

One of the biggest questions I get asked from owners and associates alike is how does one price a product or service.  The simple answer to that question is this: the price you can charge for a product or service is the highest price the market will bear.  Is it to do with what’s fair?  Generally, pricing has nothing to do with what is fair.  Yes, at both extremes of pricing a product or service (ie super low price or super high price), there are ethical questions.  Is it fair to charge people hundreds of dollars for a life saving epipen when the product costs so little to produce? No, that does not seem fair.  So as a veterinary business owner, how do you decide what to charge while still upholding one of the highest ethical standards ascribed to a profession?

Fairness in pricing involves looking at all stakeholders involved in the veterinary business.  Stakeholders in your veterinary business include your lay team members, your associates, your clients, your patients, your vendors, you and your family, etc.  Fairness implies balance.  You must balance the financial impact to you and your team versus the financial impact to your clients.  In most cases, a veterinary practice has far fewer business owners and employees than it has clients. Therefore, any pricing decision has a far greater individual impact on you or one of your employees than on any of your individual clients.  For example, a $5 increase in the average transaction fee (from a general price increase) for a practice with 10,000 transactions per year (perhaps generated by 5000 clients) means potentially $50,000 more for you and your staff.  For the individual client, they spend $10 more for the year on average while you and your staff (say you and 9 employees) receive an average of $5000 in increased pay potentially.  The key point here is your clients can handle a price increase much better that you and your staff can handle a price decrease.

More importantly, you are well within ethical boundaries if your prices are within range of what provides you and your employees fair compensation for your investment of time, capital, education and stress.  So now we circle back to our answer: price your products and services at the highest the market will bear until you feel that you and your staff are being unfairly overcompensated.  (Please post a comment to this blog if you know of any practice that unfairly overcompensates it’s owners and it’s employees.)

By the way, as a general guideline, use the following benchmarks for compensation: practice profit should be 20% of revenues, yearly rent if you are a veterinary facility owner should be 10% of the appraised value, yearly salary as a full-time veterinarian should be around $95,000 plus or minus $20,000 depending on the region, and staff wages should be $15 per hour plus or minus $2/hour depending on the region – in order to be a high quality practice (www.payscale.com).  If you can’t reach these benchmarks, don’t be ashamed of any price hikes in your products and services.  Remember the words “what the market will bear”; these words limit your price increases as well.  Most of the time, however, the market can bear much higher prices than veterinary business owners and their employees can stomach.  Check back for future posts on pricing lab work, generic versus brand name pricing, and pricing expensive injectables for larger pets.

Worried about the transition from Paper-based to Paper-less Veterinary Practice Software?

by Sam D Meisler DVM

Worried about the cost and expense of a transition from paper to paperless?  This is a very valid concern and there are many things to consider.  First, how will the transition take place.  In going from paper-based medical rAnxietyecords to paper records, we recommend proceeding slowly.

Once you have decided on a veterinary practice management software provider, the first thing to do in the initial set up after getting your basic business information in (ie. name, address, logo, sales tax percentage, etc) is to load up your prices for services and products.  Most providers will allow you to put all of your prices onto a spreadsheet like Excel and they will then
load them into their software database.  Or you can enter them in one by one.

Next, take a good hard look at all those shelves or filing cabinets full of paper medical records.  Converting them to your new veterinary practice management software system is a daunting task.  Yes, you could pay a third party to come onsite and scan in all the thousands of patient records into i
ndividual pdf files for an exorbitant fee.  Then you could upload them all one-by-one into the software wasting hours and hours of your staff’s time.  Instead, we suggest that this is a great time to clean house.  Instead of converting every medical record, take this opportunity to purge records.
The best way to do this is when you are ready to start using your new system, enter client and pet information into the computer only as those particular clients come in for services.  You could also save time, if you have scheduledappointments, by entering client and pet information into the system the night before.  Scan the old paper records into a pdf file at the same time.  Many veterinary practice management software systems have a client registration screen where the client can do all the work for you by entering their current information directly into an iPad.  When the client comes in, give them the iPad to enter their information.  After a year of doing this, you can slowly purge that huge mess of paper medical records.  And in time, you can slowly move the old paper records of clients no longer using your services to the back room for storage.

Above all, make the transition super easy on you and your staff.  And use a veterinary practice management software system that is as easy to use as ordering something from Amazon.