The expected December downturn happened as predicted, but will it continue?
It was no surprise when we aggregated out National Industry Healthcheck for December 2022 to see that there had been an 8.7% decrease in invoice numbers and a 6.7% decrease in the number of patients seen when compared to December 2021.
Pet owners are eventually going to go back to their pre-COVID behaviour. This means going on holiday, visiting relatives, spending more than they should on presents and having hundreds of social commitments. And these things are not compatible with having elective procedures done on your pet.
Pre-COVID, December was always a bad month for workload in veterinary practices. This temporarily changed over COVID, but now it’s back to the old habits for most.
Does this mean we expect to have a booming 2023? Probably not.
The workload in veterinary practices has had negative values for almost 12 months, so the boom actually ended in 2021 about 12 months ago.
We don’t foresee that any well run practices will suffer considerably in 2023, but there will be a gradual loss in workload which will likely effect practices running at low profits. This pressure may actually put some slight relief in the staffing shortage where these poor performing practices may reduce staff numbers and good performing practices won’t be so busy that they can’t cope.
Regular price reviews is also something that we will look forward to this year. Last year having assisted many of you maintain healthy profit margins with strategic price rises, we will be doing the same this year. Because inflation is still on the up, if you fail to increase prices, your money is worth less and less. At the current rates of inflation we are advising 2 or more price increases in the year. If you don’t do this you will not be able to keep up with increasing staff wages and supply costs.
If you want to look at the actual numbers in the industry tracker, just go to the http://www.profitdiagnostix.com website registration page: https://profitdiagnostix.com/register
This will give you a login that allows you to see the data every month when we publish it.