Tighten your belt on veterinary staff costs

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Jul 01, 2013
By dvm360.com staff

How much of our gross revenue should we be spending on staff support? During slow periods we can run efficiently on 28 percent, but during snowbird season we run at 32 percent.

Non-doctor staff costs typically range from 18 percent to 22 percent of gross revenue, says Dr. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, president of Felsted Veterinary Consultants in Dallas, Texas.

"This percentage is for W2 compensation and does not include benefits or payroll taxes," says Dr. Felsted. "If the 28 percent to 32 percent for your practice is just for W2 compensation, it would be worth digging into this to understand why. Most practices could run more efficiently and the additional staff costs can chip away at profitability."

If your doctor is extremely productive, then the extra staff may be what makes this productivity possible, but it would be important to look at the impact on profits, Dr. Felsted says.

"Overtime is another area to explore as are the salaries paid to the individuals. Many one-doctor practices don't have a full-time practice manager—the doctor does much of that work," Dr. Felsted says.

In the end, there may be things you want to change and things you don't, but it's important to understand the impact on the bottom line and the future value of the practice as you make those decisions, Dr. Felsted says.