3 ways to stay profitable while being charitable

3 ways to stay profitable while being charitable

With so many worthy causes reaching out for help, it's easy to give away services.
source-image
Nov 12, 2010


Getty Images/Christopher Conrad
I recently consulted with a veterinary practice in the Northeast that had just moved into a newly renovated, 5,000-square-foot facility. The new building was beautiful and a major improvement from the previous location, which had been outdated and cramped. The practice owner, a solo veterinarian with two full-time associate doctors, was a great guy, an awesome veterinarian—and charitable to a fault.


Mark Opperman
During my visit, the practice was presented with a litter of 11 kittens that the owner didn't want anymore. Add that to six other cats and four dogs being provided charity services at the hospital, and I started to wonder how this practice could stay in business. Turns out my fears weren't unfounded.

I discovered that the practice couldn't afford nice new chairs for the waiting room, the owner was dipping into his own retirement account to pay the mortgage, and employees who deserved raises and incentive bonuses weren't receiving them because the owner couldn't afford those payments. This hospital's kindness of heart was bringing about its own demise.

Now, I have nothing against a veterinary practice being charitable. In fact, I think we as a profession are obligated to give back to our communities by helping some of those clients and pets that need our assistance. But I also think there must be limits on our charitable endeavors. Here's how to make it work.


Hot topics on dvm360

Follow dvm360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

For quick updates and to touch base with the editors of dvm360, Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Medicine, and Firstline, and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Sell veterinary clients on your service

But you don't have to have butler-style service to win new clients and keep existing clients happy.

Why veterinarians should be more like a Louisiana shoeshiner

If my veterinary clients feel half as good as I did after visiting the 'Michael Jordan of shoeshines,' I'll be thrilled.

Texts from your veterinary clinic cat

If your clinic cat had a cell phone and opposable thumbs, what would he or she text you?

Learning goodbye: Veterinarians fill a void by focusing on end of life care

Veterinarians dedicating their careers to hospice and euthansia medicine may be pioneering the profession's next specialty—at clients' request.