Explain your clinic expenses
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.