Research during the development of the Mollycoddle app identified many veterinary practices that have unutilized capacity. It may be an afternoon in the middle of the week, or it may be the practice is located in an area that has significant competition. As a veterinarian, how do you acquire new clients to fill that capacity? Although there are multiple answers to this question, we are going to focus on a segment of the market that does not currently utilize a “default” veterinarian. In the United States many pet owners* either don’t take their pets to a veterinarian, or only take them occasionally instead of regularly.
Our approach was originally created out of personal need (our kitty cat did not travel to the vet well), but while building the Mollycoddle App, and after speaking to hundreds of veterinarians, we learned there was more to this than just the very large and untapped consumer side.
Here are a couple of scenarios that might resonate with veterinarians, along with our perspective:
It’s difficult to increase revenue without adding new clients. Adding services is an option, but that may damage the practice reputation if the client perceives any of these additional offerings / services as unnecessary.
- If you are located in an area with competition and little to no new population growth, this can be difficult. The good news is, it is very likely that many people in your geography would use your services if they were offered in the home. It’s not that they don’t want to care for their pet, but a variety of circumstances, both human and pet related, may make it difficult to transport pets to a brick and mortar clinic.
Connect with them using the Mollycoddle app during a slow day – have one of the vets on staff, maybe along with a tech, travel to a home of someone in need. The distance doesn’t have to be far, and you will be generating revenue with the visit. The family you are helping will have great appreciation for what you are doing, and if / when their pet needs more in depth care that can’t be provided at an in-home environment, it is very likely they will come to you. It is also very likely they will share this story with their friends and family – word of mouth is a great free way to generate business.
Concerned about other veterinarians taking my business – so I have staff sign a non-compete.
- This may be the area of greatest opportunity for practice owners in partnership with new veterinarians. We learned many new veterinarians struggle with student loan debt, so we created a model that shows how new graduates can earn money on their day(s) off with as little as one (1) in-home visit a week. These would be visits that are likely with people that can’t travel to the practice, so it is unlikely they are cannibalizing any business. And when that pet needs more in-depth care, the client is going to come to the veterinarian (and practice) that provided care at home. If a referral is needed, the attending vet is likely going to refer them to the practice they work at. Allowing the new veterinarian to generate some additional income also potentially creates a new flow of patients and revenue for the practice. This reduces stress for the vet, may generate new revenue for the practice and most importantly provides care for a pet that otherwise wasn’t’ receiving any. It’s a different world, and in today’s environment the non-compete may be counter-productive.
A similar partnership can be established with retired veterinarians. Many times they sell their practice and are asked to sign a non-compete. Many of these vets still want to practice, but on their own schedule. The Mollycoddle model allows for that, and like the new vet, they will likely be seeing clients that are not currently seeing a veterinarian. When it comes time for additional, more in depth care, the vet will likely refer them to the practice they once owned. Everyone wins.
*For the record, we prefer the term pet guardians over pet owners, but all the data refers to them as owners.