Equine Health Update Issue 2 Volume 19 - Page 36

EQUINE | Business But this raises a related question … 2. Am I just giving my best clients a discount? That is the central debate, in my opinion. Are the clients most likely to enroll in your wellness plans also the ones who would pay full price for the recommended menu items anyway? Possibly. That’s why it’s important to ana- lyze which clients (A-, B- or C-level) are enrolling in and using your plans. Are you giving away your upside? Speaking of analysis … 3. How difficult are wellness plans to admin- ister and assess? Administration challenges can spook practice owners and potential practice buyers alike. It’s been years since wellness plans first arrived on the scene, and veterinary software systems have come a long way in this area. Bill- ing for different plans (gold, silver, bronze) with varied renewal dates (monthly, annually) has become more ef- ficient and reliable with each passing year. But confusion can still arise when you’re assessing how your wellness plan system is performing at a given time. Is your practice financially ahead of the game or behind? On a given day, do your wellness clients owe you money, or do you owe them services? This can be a thorny issue when you’re selling a practice with a large wellness com- ponent. Is the buyer assuming a large liability to existing wellness clients? While we’re on the subject of thorny issues … 4. How does associate pay get calculated with wellness plans? vagaries of the wellness plan, how much the associate produces versus what the client actually pays can vary widely. How does the practice owner reconcile these numbers in an equitable way? The answer to this will determine just how desirable a workplace your practice is for future associates—which can influence a potential buyer’s interest. Along those same lines … 5. Do wellness plans make your practice less desirable to a potential buyer? Opinions seem to differ on this question. As in real es- tate, a home with a swimming pool can eliminate cer- tain buyers from the market and seal the deal for others. A wellness-plan-driven practice has the same potential. On the one hand, a healthy, profitable practice should have plenty of potential buyers to choose from. On the other hand, a practice that uses this operational model may, justified or not, frighten off some potential buyers, including corporates. Which leads us to our final question … 6. Is there a stigma attached to wellness plans? If there was one, it appears to be dissipating. In the end, high-quality medicine, satisfied clients, a happy staff and healthy profits ought to be the goals of every well- balanced practice owner. Operationally, how he or she gets there should be considered secondary. Tom McFerson, CPA, ABV, is partner at the veterinary ac- counting firm Gatto McFerson in Santa Monica, Califor- nia. This can be a big sticking point with employed veteri- narians. For example, say an associate is paid 20 percent of his or her production. Due to the potential monthly 36 • Equine Health Update •