Financial services, such as pet preventive care and wellness plans, help educate pet owners, help reduce future expenditures, and add revenue to the practice. As we all know, cost is a serious hurdle for many pet owners. Cost is the major consideration to put off regular check-ups and vet visits.
Most pet owners will wait until something is seriously wrong with their pet before visiting the vet. For example, a recent article in DVM360 found that 72% of cat owners who have never taken their cat to the vet, would only do so if their cat was hurt, sick, or “acting weird.”
If you’re a pet-care professional, the flaw in this logic is clear; regular check-ups and disease detection can prevent more serious problems, and waiting until symptoms arise to seek care leads to more expensive procedures. Preventive care plans are a money-saving strategy in the long run, but many pet owners are slow to open the purse strings for regular vet visits.
Beyond the perils to the health of the family pet, pet owners’ financial concerns can lead to inconsistent business for veterinary practices as well. A 2011 Bayer Veterinary Care Usage study found that pet owners overwhelmingly want quality veterinary care for their pets, but fiscal concerns often put price before loyalty. Many pet owners find themselves bouncing between lowest bidders for each Procedure — when what is needed is consistent care from a doctor with whom the pet has a lasting relationship.
Meanwhile, the battle for pet loyalty is a serious concern for many vets. Nearly 70% of current clinic owners say their business is performing at an average level or a below-average level. And 29% said they were planning to delay retirement due to poor business conditions. (2014 DVM360 study)
Preventive care is not only beneficial for consistent pet health, but also for predictable cash flow for the veterinary practice. So how do practices provide an easy incentive for regular preventive checkups? Many vets and professionals in other industries have found the answer in preventive care plans and wellness plans, which offer access to regular checkups and other services in exchange for a small monthly fee.
According to the Bayer study, 46% of pet owners say a wellness program with monthly payments would help them visit their vet more often. Furthermore, 56% said they would bring their pet in more often if they knew a wellness plan would help them save money in the long run. Since the care afforded by the wellness plan can prevent more expensive procedures down the line, this should be an easy sell for many pet owners.
In addition to better pet wellness, these programs provide more consistent financial wellness for the hospital. Wellness programs are paid in monthly fees, providing a consistent cash flow, and easing concerns about slow seasonality. Furthermore, practices report a 1.25 to 1.63 sales uplift due to wellness programs — for every dollar spent, the practice sees $1.25 to $1.63 in additional spending. In addition to the long-term financial benefits, advancements in wellness plan and membership software make it easy for practices to integrate these programs and onboard new pets. Plans can be customized at the click of a button, allowing vets to create different plans for puppies, senior pets, special needs, and so forth.
When combined with a single-platform financial services solution such as Veterinary Credit Plans, practices can integrate second-look programs and in-house financing solutions into the same system, making it easier to increase revenue and loyalty while keeping pets healthy and happy.