Handling no-pay pet owners

We have more and more clients who accept a treatment plan with an estimate and then claim they have no money to pay the bill. Is there a way to prevent this from happening?
source-image
Jul 01, 2012
By dvm360.com staff

Q: We have more and more clients who accept a treatment plan with an estimate and then claim they have no money to pay the bill. Is there a way to prevent this from happening?

The most effective way to avoid this problem is to ask for a 50 percent deposit, recommends Sheila Grosdidier, RVT, a partner with consulting firm VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. "My guess is that these are not clients who have an established relationship and see you year after year," she says.

Some practices ask clients to pay the total amount up front for lifesaving or emergency care or when there is no prior relationship with the client. And yes, some pet owners will raise an eyebrow at this policy. "The bottom line: It's not your responsibility to provide service without expectation of payment," Grosdidier says. "Most clients understand, and the ones who are unable to make the deposit need to look at their options. Be compassionate and understanding and help pet owners explore credit lines and other options that won't leave you in the red."