Q: I'm the practice manager and wife of the doctor, so this is a tricky question for me: I think we're giving away too much
in employee discounts right now. What is a reasonable team member discount on veterinary services in the practice?
As a veterinarian's wife, exercising authority as the office manager can be tough while avoiding an us vs. them mentality
in the office, says Dr. Jim Kramer, CVPM, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and a partner at Columbus Animal Hospital in Columbus, Neb. The discussion should revolve
around how valuable the team is to you, your desire to be fair to all parties involved, and whether your discount policy is
part of a larger strategy that benefits and inspires everyone in the practice.
"Investing in reasonable employee discounts not only rewards service and fosters loyalty but also has advertising value,"
says Dr. Kramer. "We want our team to believe in us, choose to bring their animals to us, and recommend us heartily to their
family and friends. It would certainly be a blow to the practice if staff members chose to take their pets elsewhere."
At Dr. Kramer's practice, he asks the team to pay for after-hours emergency fees and for tasks team members perform, such
as nail trims, anal gland expressions, baths, and boarding.
However, he doesn't charge team members for physical exams or hospitalization. He sells them pet food at cost and offers a
35 percent discount on everything else.
"Performing veterinary services is a benefit we can easily give our team compared to other employee benefits that are much
more difficult for us to provide," he says.