Explain your clinic expenses

Explain your clinic expenses

It's hard for clients to understand where their money goes in your veterinary practice. So give them the details on the dough distribution—and why it's important.
source-image
Apr 01, 2013
By dvm360.com staff

It’s a natural instinct for clients to balk when the cost of veterinary services for their pet seems inexplicably high. And while veterinarians and their staff can certainly give clients a breakdown of charges and explain the value of, say, a canine ovariohysterectomy, it’s often more of a challenge to explain the cost of simple procedures and exams.

It’d be nice to tell clients where their money really goes—into facility upkeep, staff salaries, new equipment, and pharmaceuticals—but we shouldn’t share that kind of information with them, right? Or should we?

“We’re kind of trained not to talk money with clients,” says Dr. Jeff Rothstein, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board Member and president of the Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group in Michigan. “But there’s times I feel like they don’t necessarily realize the cost of running our businesses.”

Dr. Rothstein says that although having that conversation with clients could feel like you’re being defensive, if you have a good rapport and a strong relationship with your clients, it’s not a bad approach. It all boils down to exactly how you approach it.

Break it down

Rather than start a heated discussion about clinic expenses when a client is upset about the cost of a service, post a handout—one that explains not only where hospital revenue goes, but also why it’s important to funnel income into those areas. For example, clients might not understand what it means that funds go into continuing education for your staff, but they will if you explain that this education allows you to provide them with the latest information and techniques in veterinary medicine to care for their pet.

If clients have a better understanding of what it takes to keep your clinic operating at peak performance—not to mention an appreciation for you as a business owner—they might be less likely to resist when faced with their next bill.

Head over to dvm360.com/expenses and download a free handout to post in your clinic.

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.