Dr. John Gifford is a former Ohio practice owner.Read Articles Written by John Gifford
Just wanted to comment on Dr. Emily M. Tincher’s Viewpoint, “More Care for More Pets” [April/May 2023].
I started a lower-cost walk-in clinic in 2010 that quickly became very busy. The clinic’s average client transaction was about $80 to $100, as I saw mostly routine preventive medicine cases and treated ill animals. On an average seven-hour day, I would see about 40 pets. Many owners couldn’t see their regular veterinarian for two weeks, and all the pet needed was a Bordetella vaccination. I can’t believe those clinics were so busy that a five- to 10-minute vaccine visit wasn’t available.
Dr. Tincher was right on with the three drivers of pet owners: convenience, optionality and cost. My high-volume, lower-cost practice proved that if you focus on those three things, you will be very successful. My practice profited on volume and, after five years, was grossing over $2 million and showing an 18% profit.
Then, I sold it to a corporation whose only business model was profit. Surgeries went up $100, and the average client transaction was pushed to the $150 to $175 range. Clients left, employees left, and so did I.
My hope is that veterinarians take charge of practices and not investors pushing corporation owners to raise prices higher, leaving many clients without basic care for their pets.