Increase Your RevenueSheila GrosdidierSCP
We ask practice owners and associate veterinarians if they want to earn more; we always hear a resounding ‘YES!’ With a unanimous vote to earn more we’re asked time and time again, what can we do to increase revenues? Well, the simple truth is, if you want to generate more revenue you must either increase the number of door swings within your clinic or increase the amount of each transaction.
According to Benchmarks 2015: A Study of Well Managed Practices, the average charge per veterinary transaction is $184. According to the same study, the annual number of transactions, or invoices, per full time doctor (based upon 40 hours per work week) is 2,900. This means that each full time doctor generates an estimated $533,600 per year. If a doctor could increase each transaction by just $20 (so an average transaction of $204), they would increase their revenue to $591,600, an increase of $58,000 per year. If you considered a practice of 4 veterinarians, this would translate to an additional $232,000 a year! If the practice could increase their client base by another 20 clients a month, or 240 clients per year, this would generate an additional $48,960. So how can we increase our revenues by $280,960?
How can you increase your average veterinary transactions?
- Practice excellent medicine. You may think that practicing excellent medicine means using your best instincts, saving your client’s money, and using past experiences to extrapolate patient solutions. Wrong. Offer the gold standard of care every time. Do the ear cytology when you suspect an infection. Recommend the culture when you suspect a urinary tract infection. Educate your clients on the benefits of brushing their pet’s teeth, show them the product you recommend and demonstrate how to use it. Don’t pre-judge your client, practice the same excellent standard of care every time.
- Passive Marketing. Have a shelf in every exam room with commonly recommended products readily available to offer clients. Let your doctors choose the products they prefer to recommend, such as ear cleaners, preventatives, shampoos, dental chews and supplements. Keep one of each product on the shelf at all times, so that the veterinarian can take the product down, show the client, and sell the product when appropriate. A bottle of shampoo, an ear cleaner, dental chews… These items can be the $20 you need to increase your transactions. AND your clients NEED these products – if they don’t get them from you, they will be purchasing them from your local pet shop warehouse. It is our job to make sure we educate them on the advantages of our high quality products!
- Give them your expert opinion. Clients come in asking which pet food you would recommend, which joint supplement they should use, what flea or tick product is the best – tell them! Again, in this situation the client came to you, the expert, asking for your expert advice. Tell them what food you recommend, show them what you have to offer in clinic, explain the benefits of the product you are recommending. If you waffle or if you don’t make a specific recommendation, they are going to get their advice from the 16-year-old working in the pet food aisle of those pet warehouses. Don’t miss the opportunity to educate clients to the use of high quality products that deliver reputable results.
- Evaluate your fee schedule. If you haven’t increased your prices in the past year, you may need to evaluate what you are charging for your services. It is prudent to critically evaluate pricing at least twice per year.
How can you increase door swings at your practice?
- Practice excellent medicine. By offering quality services every time and by educating your client, you strengthen the bond and build trust with them. When your clients are more than just satisfied, when they enjoy their experience from start to finish, when they look forward to coming to your practice, and when they experience positive outcomes because you are practicing high quality progressive medicine - they will tell their friends!
- Develop a solid marketing plan. Know your target market and have a budget for each quarter. In today’s era you must use your website, social media and Search Engine Optimization to stay current.
- Consider expanding your hours. Allow drop-offs thirty minutes earlier each day; stay open thirty minutes later. Expand your Saturday hours and consider Sunday hours if you are in a bustling city.
- Make sure you schedule re-check appointments before clients leave! Don’t leave follow-ups and regular wellness exams to chance. Take the time to make an appointment while the client is already focused on their pet’s health.
- Recommend bi-annual exams. Make sure that you are using a 3-tiered reminder system so that clients are coming back. Check your bonding rate periodically to ensure clients are staying in-house.
- Leverage your doctors and staff. To be most efficient, two exam rooms are needed per veterinarian on the floor. Having an efficient staff that is adequately leveraged will allow you to maximize scheduled appointment times. Make sure your doctors know how to properly delegate.
These are just a few simple ways that you can make a huge impact on your revenues. We here at VMC have many additional insights to help you continue to succeed. Stay tuned for more great tips next month!