Pet Wellness Plans – What NOT to Do
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing information about wellness plans, such as how they can benefit a practice as well as a few tips for setting one up successfully. Along with knowing what some of the best practices are for wellness plans, it’s also helpful to have an idea of what not to do as well. After all, the goal is to leverage these plans as a betterment to your business. If you’re not careful, you could easily end up with more problems than solutions. To help you avoid having to learn the hard way, here are a few not-so-successful strategies to steer clear of.
Focusing too much on your needs.
One of the main goals of implementing wellness plans is certainly to improve your practice’s bottom line. However, you shouldn’t be so focused on that aspect that you forget the other purpose: to help your clients and improve the lives of their pets. There needs to be a balance and you should be crafting your wellness plans based on the needs and preferences of your clientele. If you want them to bite, you have to make it worth their while, not just yours.
Not being thorough enough.
You may be excited to start offering wellness plans, but if you launch too soon – before all the details are worked out and set in stone – you could be setting yourself up for failure. Before you begin promoting your packages, make sure you’ve hammered everything out, such as what’s included (and what isn’t), how much you’ll charge, what kind of payment options you’ll offer, etc. You should also have an idea for how you’ll market the plans, how your associates will be compensated for wellness plan services and how you’ll handle the tough stuff, like relocations or the death of an enrolled pet.
Not getting it in writing.
You should think of your wellness plans as contracts. You are agreeing to perform certain pre-determined services at a specified price and your clients are agreeing to abide by the terms of the package in order to reap the benefits. These important details should always – we repeat – always be in writing. Otherwise, you’ll inevitably find yourself dealing with discrepancies down the road. Make sure your plan documents cover every important detail, including what’s covered and the responsibilities of each party. To be safe, you may want to consider having your plan drawn up by an attorney, just in case.
Forgoing the membership fee.
When you join any type of membership plan – whether it’s a gym, a local club or a community organization – there is almost always an upfront fee. This is typically just understood and accepted, yet many vets make the mistake of skipping this altogether. Try to view membership fees as something that makes clients feel part of an exclusive group. When you look at it this way, and promote it as such, it makes it much easier to charge. And remember – this fee is designed to help defray some of the costs that you will incur when a new client signs up, so it’s important to your bottom line.
Discounting services too steeply.
Some practices get so eager to roll out wellness plans that they fail to accurately price them, and end up losing out in the long run. While it’s true that not every enrolled member will take full advantage of every service that’s included, the majority of them will, and if you’re discounting your services by 40 or 50 percent, the plans will cost you more than you’ll make. In most cases, the discount will need to be below 20 percent in order for you to maintain a decent amount of return. When developing your packages, always keep your desired profit margin in mind to avoid selling yourself short.
Not sticking to the contract.
There will almost always be a select few clients who, after enrolling in your wellness program, will try to get out of the contract. Offering refunds on unused services defeats the purpose of offering wellness plans in the first place. (This is another reason it’s so important to have everything in writing.) Similarly, allowing unused services to carry over from one year to the next is also an unwise move financially. It may be tempting to cave just to keep a client happy, but it will set a bad precedent and likely send your practice into debt. Be professional but firm and stick to your guns.
Offering wellness plans can do wonders for boosting long-term revenue and improving client loyalty – but only if you set them up and carry them out properly. Avoid the six common mistakes listed above and you’ll reap the benefits with much less of the headache down the road.