Running a successful veterinary practice means finding ways to maximize profits – something that we at DVMelite know is quite often easier said than done. It can be especially challenging given the fact that most veterinarians would much prefer to focus their attention on what they are passionate about – caring for animals – than spending time with their noses in the accounting ledger. Thankfully there are some things you can proactively do that can help improve your practice’s cash flow without having to invest a ton of extra time and resources.
Set clear policies and expectations.
The best way to get your finances in shape is to create and implement clear policies around things like payments. Most clinics require that all services be paid for in full at the time they are rendered. Others choose to allow more flexibility, such as the ability to apply for and use various pet insurance products. Both are great policies – as long as all staff and clients are fully aware. The key here is communication. Front desk staff should know what is and isn’t allowed, and clients should know what to expect when they arrive for their appointment so there are no surprises.
By implementing and enforcing clear, specific policies, you can reduce the chances of delayed or non-payment situations. For instance, if your policy states that you do not accept personal checks, you can avoid the potential issue of NFS, which can cause cash flow problems. And since clients will be well-informed right from the start, they’ll enjoy smoother, more positive payment transactions.
Be upfront about pricing.
Even if a client understands that you have a payment in full policy, not knowing upfront how much certain things are going to cost could end up throwing them for a loop – and you might very well end up holding the bag as a result. Nobody wants to discuss a $4,000 surgery, but if you’re not honest about the situation right from the start, the billing issue might become a big problem for both of you once the day of the procedure arrives.
Be open with your clients. If possible, offer to work with them to get to a price they’re comfortable paying. If you don’t have wiggle room, let them know enough in advance so that they can hopefully make the appropriate arrangements. And if they choose not to proceed, let it go. It’s better than delivering treatment and not being paid.
Make it as easy as possible.
To improve incoming cash flow, make it as easy as possible for your clients to pay you. Offering the ability to pay via credit or debit card as well as with the help of one of the many pet insurance options can provide your clientele with some much needed (and much appreciated) flexibility. It’ll also ensure that your financials remain positive.
You may also consider some out-of-the-box options, like payment plans, wellness packages or working with local resources that offer financial assistance for eligible pet parents. Some of our DVMelite clients have been very successful offering these types of alternatives, so it may be worth looking into.
The financial health of your practice is critical to its ongoing success. Managing cash flow is an integral part of that financial wellness. The tips above should provide you with a few ideas for how to get more money coming in without taking too much time away from patient care.
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