As the price of human health care skyrockets, the price of pet care has been slow to rise, but owners feel the sting more because they’re probably paying out of pocket. This puts independent vet offices in an awkward position as pet care chains have economies of scale that let them offer services at rock bottom rates. How can you make clients feel like the extra they’re spending is worthwhile, especially if your clinic is focused on high quality care?
If a client is comparing flat fees, you’re not going to compete with major chains and services sponsored by cities and charities. Instead, break down the service into separate items to show how much extra care they get for their pet when they choose your clinic. Here are a few examples:
- Your clinic probably does blood work before surgery, while charity and city-sponsored services won’t bother for spaying and neutering.
- Aftercare is often skipped at cheaper clinics, while you may offer recovery areas, pain medications and therapeutic items that improve recovery as a matter of course.
- You probably don’t bat an eye when you pay a disposal fee when you buy new car tires, so why should a client be worried about a couple extra dollars to pay for biological waste disposal? Separating this expense from standard care can add a little to your bottom line.
Keep an Eye on Local and Online Prices
When setting prices, you don’t have to be the cheapest option, but you should be in the ballpark. Keeping an eye on the competition can help you keep from pricing yourself out of the market while making sure you aren’t leaving money on the table with underpriced services.
If you offer prescription medicines, you also must compete with online retailers. You still need to sell your products with enough markup to make a profit, but you have more leeway when competing with these services because you can offer immediate refills and local pickup.
Make Price Increases Gradual
Small increases are less likely to get the attention of clients, which means they’re less likely to ask questions about higher prices and will accept them as changes. Now is a good time to make these changes, as they’ll seem like part of a yearly cost update.
Develop Pricing Strategies
If you make payments easier to handle, clients won’t be as worried by the total price of the service. These three strategies can encourage your customers to do business with you, whether they’re established clients or they’re new to your clinic.
Offer payment plans: By spreading out payments, the clients won’t be faced with sticker shock, making them more likely to go ahead with expensive treatments.
Consider pricing tiers: If itemizing seems too complex for some services, consider offering options at set price points, letting clients choose the amount of service they want and can afford.
Offer discount bundles: Performing several services during one visit can save you money for setup and paperwork, and you can pass some of that savings on to clients. Consider packaging services that pets will need at the same time, like wellness checkups, dental checkups and grooming services.
Get Your Staff On-Board
When you announce changes to your staff, avoid general explanations like “treatments are more expensive” and give the increase a specific purpose like improving service or using the extra money to invest in equipment and employee training. You should also help them create explanations they can use when talking to clients about fee hikes. This can be something simple like increased certification costs, a new machine or increased staff support.
Don’t Forget the Extra Touches that Make Your Clinic Stand Out
While you may feel like you’re stuck chasing the bottom line, it’s good service that will keep your clients coming back. Positive Impressions can help you stay connected to your clients and making them feel special with each visit. We offer a wide range of products from prescription labels to veterinary bags to improve the experience at your clinic as well as calendars and reminder cards that keep your clinic on your clients’ minds between visits. To see how we can help you, visit our website and check out our latest specials.