Many veterinary practices reported increased business and scores of new clients as upshots following the COVID-19 pandemic. But emerging data shows that pet health visits are now slowing and dropping off. Additionally, much of the revenue increases are the result of raised prices (the cost of routine and surgical visits has risen by 47%-73% over the last decade).¹ This leads to the need to carefully monitor business data in a greater context. It’s imperative to stay prepared for slowing business or economic uncertainty, increased by inflation.
But when your office is still booked solid, it is understandable to want to shift your focus onto other concerns. However, busy times are the opportune times to explore ways to help secure future business and build client loyalty. Offering care plans (also known as wellness plans) is a way to do that. Why not add reliable revenue sources to your veterinary practice and create a more predictable cashflow while helping alleviate your pet parents’ stresses?
It’s much easier for consumers to plan for a known monthly payment than to deal with a large, unexpected expense – even in times of economic stability. Care plans help lower client financial stress levels because they know how much their pet’s plan costs each month. With inflation, they may not know what their groceries will cost — but they will know how much their pet’s monthly care plan payment will be.
A complete care plan program can also be a useful tool to ensure that your clients keep returning. Care plans remind your clients that their pets have remaining treatments and vaccines that they need, so they will be more likely to schedule and show up for appointments because they are part of the plan.
Talk with your clients during examinations
The time to introduce care plans is when the pet owner is in the examination room with you. Take advantage of your busy schedule to ensure the financial security of your practice by talking to as many clients as possible about enrolling in care plans. This can have long-term benefits, too.
For example, pet owners might say “yes” to a portion of the preventive care while in the exam room and think about the rest of your recommendations. That way, the pet will benefit from a solid level of care while the pet parent decides on add-ons or customizations. This increases compliance and keeps the door open for the pet parent to opt into a higher spend at a later date. Plus, reiterate the importance of a care plan during checkout by sending them home with a brochure.
Bring up care plans often with enrolled members
It’s also critical to remind your currently enrolled members about the value of the plan and the services that are included with it. For instance, at check-in, thank enrollees for their participation. When you are in the exam room, discuss what services will be covered with the care plan. It can help reiterate the benefits and savings to them as well.
During checkout, make sure to schedule any upcoming unused services that are included with the care plan. It’s also the perfect time to send them home with an acknowledgement of their membership with a coupon or discount for your online pharmacy or for a future optional service such as boarding.
Beyond preventive care
If you decide to offer chronic illness plans, the pet parents of these companion animals with higher-cost care may benefit even more. Spreading out costlier treatments over monthly payments helps to assure that higher-risk pets will continue to get the care they need. You can also offer add-on services and specific pet healthcare plans (such as senior pet plans) to fit the needs of every one of your clients and their pets.
Care plans are usually a win-win for both practice and pet parent. While your clients are comfortable with their pet’s care, even if their pet has a chronic condition, you can count on the set income associated with each care plan enrollment. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing your clients’ pets are receiving consistent care that is in line with your medical recommendations.
In times of inflation and other economic uneasiness, veterinary care plans can afford both practices and pet parents increased treatment compliance, financial predictability, and improved health outcomes.
As a partner, Covetrus® provides a complete pet wellness solution that combines software and professional services to make managing a complete care plan program easy.
There has been no better time than now to create your practice’s tailor-made care plans offerings. Working with a dedicated Wellness Coach, you design the plans to your practice’s protocols, and you can offer customizations or optional services to meet the needs of your business and your clients. As a result, your care plan program is as dynamic as you choose it to be.
Visit cvet.co/careplans to learn more.
1 How to talk to pet owners about money. VetX International. https://www.vetxinternational.com/the-cost-of-veterinary-care-how-to-talk-to-pet-owners-about-money/. Accessed July 19, 2023.