When it comes to being successful in the veterinary industry, revenue is important. There are other ways, however, to put more money into your pockets that have nothing to do with the work you provide your clients. If you’re searching for ways to increase your bank account a little more (and who isn’t?), here are a few simple cost-cutting strategies that can go a long way.
Optimize Your Schedule
If your employees are working overtime, you’re probably spending a lot more than you have to. Take some time to review your team’s hours, workflow and schedules to determine whether you are routinely insufficiently staffed. For instance, you may notice a pattern that certain periods of the week or month tend to be busier than others, which results in staff having to work extra hours. Adjusting the schedule so that you have an extra person or two working on those busier days can alleviate much of the excess you’re paying. It’ll also result in better client service.
Conduct Routine Audits
Many vets feel a certain sense of loyalty to the supply vendors with which they work. The problem is, if you’re not routinely analyzing how much you’re actually spending with these vendors, you could be losing money in the process. It’s important to conduct routine audits and compare prices against those of other vendors on the market to make sure you’re still getting the best possible price. If you discover you are, indeed, paying more than you should be, you have the option of switching vendors or engaging in our next tip.
Negotiate Better Rates
Nothing says the rates you are paying have to be set in stone. In fact, if you’ve been loyal to a particular vendor for a while, reaching out to discuss a possible price break is perfectly reasonable. This is especially effective if you’ve done your homework and have documentation that others are charging less. In most instances, a vendor will gladly negotiate with you rather than lose your business to one of their competitors. By the way, this goes for things like rent, utilities and other overhead expenses as well. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to try!
Watch Your Inventory
Another area where many vet clinics are spending more than they should is in their inventory. When those great sales come along, it can be incredibly tempting to buy more and stock up, but inventory surpluses cost money. Utilize the technology that’s available to you to track and manage your inventory so that you always keep just the right amount on hand without overdoing it. As an added bonus, when you’re actively on top of your inventory control, you’ll also send a clear message that any unusual activity (i.e. theft of goods) won’t go unnoticed.
Buy Higher Priced Equipment
It may seem counterintuitive to suggest spending more in order to save money, but the fact is, you get what you pay for – especially when it comes to equipment. Whatever small amount you saved on that bargain buy will quickly be negated when that subpar piece of equipment breaks down and needs to be repaired or replaced (not to mention the potential business interruption it could cause). Avoid this by investing in products of better quality. It may seem like a lot to spend up-front, but when you stretch that amount of the many years that equipment will last you, it’s not nearly as expensive as it seems.
Keep Your Team Happy
One of the biggest hidden expenses in the veterinary industry is staff turnover. It costs a lot of time, money and resources to recruit, hire and train a new employee. If you’re not taking the necessary steps to ensure that your culture is sound and your team is happy and engaged, the revolving door will cost you in the long run. If you’re not sure where to begin, these employee retention strategies should provide some direction.
Keeping your veterinary practice profitable takes more than just charging a fair rate and collecting client payments. By implementing the above strategies, you can trim down your expenses for an even better bottom line.