A neuter for $30. A spay for $50. Plus two for one deals.
Should veterinary practices be concerned by the growing number of low-cost S/N clinics?
We know a lot that are and are worried that the increasing number of such clinics will significantly impact their revenue. We also know of practices that are actively referring pet owners to these clinics when they cannot afford regular veterinary fees for these services. One such practice even posts the local low-cost clinic on its website. Are they crazy?
We don’t think so. Here’s why:
1. Pet owners who cannot afford spay / neuter services at a conventional veterinary clinic – and are seeking reduced-cost services -- are probably not your primary market. Remember that segmentation is key. Your practice can’t be everything to everybody.
2. Pet owners who go to a low-cost S/N clinic still need preventive care for their pet. By referring them elsewhere, the practice is maintaining a good relationship and building trust. This honesty may end up bringing the pet owner back for other care.
3. Pet owners talk to other pet owners. If treated well, they will pass this along.
4. Spay / neuter, for most practices, accounts for 10 percent or less of annual revenue. So it’s not a big money-maker for most practices.
Some practices make it a point to inform pet owners that by going to a low-cost clinic their pet will be getting sub-standard care. We are certain there is inequality in the standard of care among many practices. We are not sure how this is being measured. We would think that if a clinic – or any practice gets a bad reputation for negative outcomes, pet owners will look elsewhere.
Bottom line is that veterinary practices should not worry about the low-cost clinics taking away their business. Instead, they should worry more about what they are doing to make themselves irreplaceable among pet owners. When pet owners can see value they can not easily get elsewhere, they will not even think about going somewhere else.
What do you think? We would love to hear from practices on this!