What is the veterinary profession doing to stop the negative trend of new client growth declining every month since January 2015 according to the VHMA Insider Insights Surveys?
How much longer do you believe that all the best marketing in the world, having the best social media marketing campaigns, optimizing your web presence, being certified for “Fear Free” and having the latest greatest app, is going to bring you new clients to your practice if they cannot afford your services? The statistics do not tell the truth.
The chart below shows the declining trend line of new client visits, client visits and revenue, all declining since January 2015. New client growth has decreased on average 8.6% each month. Patient visits have only increased on average by 1.3% and revenue growth has increased on average by 5%. However both patient visits and revenue growth have also been trending downward since January 2015, over four years of a declining trend.
The small 5% revenue growth has only come from price increases. Much needed price increases but it has come at a price to the profession. Practices have continually increased prices but mainly to offset the decline in new client visits. From 2000 to 2013 vet med prices increased 91% compared to an inflation rate of only 35% for the same period (VIN News). And prices have continued to increase by 3 to 7% every year according to VHMA.
Since wages have not been increasing it is causing pet owners to stay away which has reduced compliance and stopped revenue from growing at a higher rate when pet ownership has been increasing over the same period. With wages still not increasing, median household income is 2.4% lower than 1999 (Census Bureau) and 57% of the population has less than $1,000 in savings (gobankingrates.com), how do you expect your clients to be able to afford your services, especially pay in full every time they visit your practice?
To reverse this trend the profession needs to offer payment alternatives like prepayment plans, payment plans, wellness plans and pet savings accounts. You need to meet your clients where they are financially. With the all the business tools available today, having an efficient A/R management system makes good business sense and increases compliance.The technology is available to have an efficient A/R management system in-house or by out sourcing to a professional A/R management company.
See our five case studies that gives proof that an effective A/R system can have a very positive impact on your practice financially as well as emotionally help with staff morale and compassion fatigue.
Business model innovation will have a far bigger impact on the veterinary profession then any other innovation.