It’s a difficult time for all businesses, especially veterinary practices. A combination of staff shortages, inflation, online competition and manufacturing disruptions are making it harder than ever for independent clinics to compete. How can you address these problems while keeping you, your staff and your clientele happy?
What is Driving Cost Increases and Lower Profits?
- Increasing Payroll Expenses
There is a shortage of staff across the industry, creating a competitive hiring environment. Even if there were plenty of people available to hire, pay has to keep up with the constantly rising cost of living.
- Higher Inventory Costs
Inflation, fuel prices and supply chain issues have increased the price of everything from drugs to basic office supplies.
- Increasing Online Competition
The pandemic forced people to get as much of the stuff they need delivered to their home to limit their exposure to COVID-19. Once clients make the switch from a physical pharmacy to an online one, it’s hard to get them to switch back.
Strategies for Managing Rising Costs
- Look for New Suppliers
Using one or two suppliers may not be enough to manage costs, especially if they’re constantly raising prices. Look at alternative sources, and be ready to switch between them as prices fluctuate. It may make inventory management harder, but it can cut costs significantly.
- Raise Prices on Fuel-Intensive Services
While it’s hard to explain factors that drive most cost increases, everyone knows they’re paying more at the pump. People are more accepting of price increases on items that clearly require fuel, like delivery services and medical waste pickup. In general, people are less likely to complain about a fuel charge than a sudden increase in service rates.
- Offer More Services
Are you underutilizing your equipment or your staff’s skills? Remote consultations are a great way to boost income, whether you’re able to lend your expertise to scans, or you use these services in your practice as a value-added service. This doesn’t just improve your bottom line, it improves the care you provide to patients.
- Increase Prices Often and in Small Amounts
Huge jumps in costs are likely to get your clients’ notice, but it’s less of a problem if you take these steps incrementally.
- Focus on Service, not Price
If you don’t raise prices, you can’t maintain the level of care your clients expect for your pets. Clients are more likely to go with increases because their pet's health is more important than saving a few dollars each visit.
Stay Connected to Your Clients
Now more than ever, it’s important to keep your clientele coming into your clinic, both for the health of your business and for the health of their pets. Positive Impressions LLC has what you need to build relationships with your clients, including appointment cards, greeting cards, goodie bags and more. See how we can help your clinic keep in touch with clients and patients by visiting our website to see what we offer, or by checking out our Facebook page to see our latest specials.