Painless path to profit: Why preventive care plans are a smart financial move for your veterinary practice
By MWI Animal Health
Plans provide a new income stream and greater accessibility to care
If your veterinary practice isn't using a preventive care plan, then both you and your pet parent clients are missing out. A robust plan can provide a reliable source of extra revenue for your practice. But profits aren't the only benefit you'll see. With preventive care plans, you help make veterinary care more budget-friendly. As a result, your clients will start visiting your practice more often, leading to healthier, happier pets. It's a win-win for everyone.
Here are more details on why launching a preventive care plan is a smart financial move for your practice.
Veterinarians can increase revenue without needing to add more clients or staff
Preventive care plans provide a way for you to make more revenue from your existing client base. The more clients sign up, the more profit you'll see.
And if you are using a plan facilitated by a third party, then you won't need to invest in extra staff or new infrastructure either. Instead, a third party should provide full support pre- and post-implementation, along with a trainer to make the transition as smooth as possible.
It doesn't take long for a preventive care plan to pay for itself. In fact, clinics on average begin to see a return on their investment after enrolling just 18 pets.1 That's all it takes for the plan to start becoming profitable.
The good news is that pet parents are ready for this service, so signing up the first 18 pets shouldn't take long. A 2021 survey by Packaged Facts found that both dog and cat owners want their veterinarians to prioritize preventive care. They're ready for a preventive care plan.
All of this means that before you know it, you'll have a new source of repeatable, predictable revenue. And this is often a big deal for a growing veterinary practice.
A robust program frees up staff time, rather than taking up more of it
A robust preventive care program includes a third-party manager who continues providing support even after the plan has launched. This includes handling billing and commissions, along with automatically tracking which services your plan's members or clients have used in a given year.
Some veterinary practices have concerns about implementing a plan because they worry about getting taken advantage of or spending a lot of time tracking down clients who don't pay. The third-party managing your plan should offer extensive billing support that covers all of this, including chasing down clients if they miss payments.
Your staff shouldn't have to worry about the marketing side either. A good program will make it easy to get the word out. This includes sending a one-time email blast to your existing client base, initially introducing them to your new service. Next, the program should facilitate a drip marketing campaign based on your clients' demographics. For example, if your client has an upcoming wellness appointment or misses an appointment, they'll get an email reminder that also includes details about your new preventive care program. All of this frees up your staff's time, rather than taking up more of it.
You'll add a new income stream while simultaneously increasing client compliance
Of course, veterinarians care about pet health, not just profit. The good news is that a robust preventive care plan addresses both these needs, helping you add a new income stream while also increasing compliance. Pet parents who have signed up for a preventive care plan are more likely to visit your office and keep up with preventatives like flea and tick medication. For example, when PetVet Care Centers enrolled about 12,000 customers into a preventive care program, they saw an average increase of 40 percent in hospital visits.
Furthermore, when a group of 100 vet clinics signed onto a preventive care plan, they increased the selling of heartworm medication doses from 12,000 to 125,000 doses. They experienced a similar increase in flea and tick medication: from 8,000 doses to 100,000 doses, as reported by Premier Vet Alliance. This isn't just an increase in revenue; it's also an increase in compliance, helping pet owners improve their pets' health.
You'll find that clients who sign up for your plan are more open to discussing other services that you can provide. Because the plan already covers basic care, it can free up your clients to think about other healthcare needs, like dental, nutrition, and exercise. And because these plans typically cover several visits per year rather than just one, you can catch disease progression earlier.
Members are more likely to buy other products or services from you
Pet parents who choose to sign up for your preventive care plan are more likely to buy other products and services from you. For example, PetVet Care Centers found a 76 percent increase in existing client spending after signing up with a preventive care plan. Much of the revenue came from the purchasing of products that weren't even part of the plan.
This is likely due to the fact that pet care is more affordable under a preventive care plan because clients pay for pet healthcare over the course of a year rather than all at once. By saving on costs, they may have more money left to buy toys or food for their pets. They may also feel more loyalty to you for looking out for their pets' well-being.
One veterinarian who launched a preventive care plan noticed that her clients stopped delaying their visits and even began agreeing to more services in general (like lab work) that they might have declined before.
A good plan is customizable to your clinic's needs and price points, making it even more appealing
You'll want to look for a robust plan that offers customized content, allowing your clinic to have complete control of the design in terms of both prices and product brand selection. This means that you can customize the plan to meet your clients' unique needs.
Do your clients need extra help paying for pet care? You can add discounts or loyalty points to some preventive care plans.
You can also create personalized messaging so your pet parents never feel like they're just a number. Instead, you'll want your preventive care plan to integrate well with marketing software that allows for messaging that helps clients know you care about their pet in particular.
As you can see, launching a preventive care plan helps both you and your clients. The third party managing the plan will oversee implementation and bill collection. They'll let you customize your plan so it meets your demographics' unique needs. On top of that, you'll be helping your clients afford pet care that might have previously felt out of reach. This means that not only will you find a new revenue stream for your practice, but you'll also be helping all the pets you care for live healthier, happier lives.
1. Based on an analysis of 16,143 pets on plans. Data on file with MWI Animal Health.