Bringing down inflated salaries

Bringing down inflated salaries

Jul 01, 2005

Roger Cummings, CVPM
My partner and I recently learned that we're paying associates more than other practitioners in our area do. How should we get our compensation more in line with prevailing wages—with a salary freeze or a pay cut?

Don't reduce compensation, says Roger Cummings, CVPM, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and consultant with Brakke Consulting Inc. in Dallas. "The associates will quit, or you'll end up firing them because lowering compensation is so demoralizing and disheartening," he says.

A better response: Tie compensation to doctor production. Start by monitoring the revenue generated by each doctor, Cummings says. Then determine whether the doctor produces enough to justify his or her current compensation. If not, talk to the associate about how you can work together in the next six months to a year to increase production and justify the associate's current compensation.

"If you decide you need to boost doctor production, you may want to take a more team-focused approach to increasing services and fees by discussing these issues openly and making sure everyone's on the same page," Cummings says. "After all, practice revenue determines potential compensation for your support staff members, too. So they also need to understand how their performance affects their pay and the practice."

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