Are you pricing appropriately?
We recently had a friend mention to us that their dog had been to the vet for an eye problem and had lots of tests done. After two visits the vet suggested they may like to see a specialist just to confirm that there was nothing more serious going on and that the cataract wasn’t causing the problem (uveitis). Our friend was surprised that the specialist seemed to take a lot of time checking over the eye and doing things but somehow the invoice seemed cheap and they may not have done all the special tests that their vet did on the eye.
They showed us the two invoices to see what we thought (we have slightly altered the fees by less than 5% and changed the name of the fee to something similar to keep this strictly confidential).
- Consult $80
- Sedate dog including i/v catheter placement $185
- Flourescein staining $50
- Local anaesthetic for eye $50
- Tonometry (Eye pressure measurement) $70
- Consult $200
- Sedate dog $130
You can see how missing fees off an invoice can seriously undervalue the work done as speaking to them it seems the specialist did at least ‘put in some orange stain, some other drops and use a couple of little machines on the eye’….
This can easily happen – the vet in the consult room is focused on the patient and not on the billing. This is why we strongly encourage templated invoices for all your common conditions, and when these are made be very careful that everything is included in template. For example the above may also have needed to have a Schirmer tear test, so that should be on the template and the vet have the option of deleting it rather than having to remember to add it on.
Make it easy for invoices to be done up quickly, but also make sure that everything is included and items have to be selected to be deleted off!
Note also that in the above example the very easy to compare price of ‘Consult’ is $200 at the specialist and only $80 at the general vet, yet the whole invoice is significantly higher at the general vet. So consumers would have the perception that the specialist is more expensive.
This example clearly shows how increasing list prices does not necessarily mean that you are charging enough – it is the total of the invoice that matters. This is why these days you may have noticed (if you were awake in our workshops) that we are benchmarking prices on total invoice values as well as list prices – for example if an invoice contains a consult fee, on average what is the total of that invoice. Incidentally, for those of you who are curious, the average total of an invoice containing a consult fee is $275. And you can see how looking at it this way would quickly identify a problem in a practice that is forgetting to charge for things during consults.