By Jack Peploe
Founder, Veterinary IT Services
It’s no mystery to anyone in the veterinary industry that many pet owners struggle to justify paying the prices charged by their veterinarians.
It isn’t a question of whether a client believes their pet needs the care that is being offered, nor is it a question of whether their pet deserves that care. Pet owners, like any consumers of goods and services, are simply looking for the best value without the threat of breaking the bank.
Similarly, veterinarians struggle to set rates that are both consistent with their quality of service and enable clients to afford the best possible care for their pets.
Striking that critical balance – and solving a dilemma that impacts all involved, especially the patient – boils down to an assessment of the cost of veterinary services versus the value of veterinary services.
The contrast between the cost and value of an item or service
Profitability can be increased by having an understanding of the disparity between cost and value. Let’s spell out the distinction between the two:
- Cost is the amount of money that goes into producing any good or service, whereas price is the financial incentive for supplying a good or service.
- Value is the amount the consumer places on the product or service.
The shifting nature of cost and value
People tend to brush over cost when making choices regarding their pets' medical treatment, even though it is a significant factor in veterinary medicine. Most clients strongly believe that the less expensive veterinarian cannot provide services on par with those offered by the more expensive veterinarian.
A veterinarian or veterinary facility's value to its customers is the same as that offered by any other type of business. As a result, both high-end and budget-friendly options should be allowed to coexist in the same area so that you can adjust the price-to-quality ratio to accommodate each pet owner's specific requirements and preferences.
However, there are three main problems with this. In veterinary medicine, the concept of value is complicated by the fact that the system of specialty is always shifting. Plus, there tends to be a lack of openness regarding these changes.
Thirdly, the level of care provided has started to vary so widely from one community to the next that several clients and even the veterinary staff are beginning to question whether or not they are working in the same field.
Because of the nature of the veterinary field, pet owners who wish to give the best care possible for their pets typically have three options. They can either:
1. Pay a premium for quality pet care they might not be able to afford,
2. Choose a less expensive care alternative, or
3. Choose not to provide care.
Balancing between the cost and the value
Whenever it is in the business' power to do so, try to establish rates reflective of the value delivered rather than the costs involved.
Routine evaluation of the worth of what is offered
Pricing should reflect the magnitude of the company's advantages for its clients while also considering the prices that other businesses in the market charge for similar goods and services.
To better understand the value of the services you offer, consider the following questions:
- What positives do the clients acquire from utilizing the product or service?
- What factors do the customers use for buying decisions, such as how quickly they receive their orders, how convenient the service is, or how reliable the business is?
- How much do the clients value being able to make use of the benefits offered?
The issue of cost is on the minds of all individuals. The vast majority of clients who visit a veterinary practice are primarily concerned with the price of an item or a service. Still, the value is determined by considering not just the cost but also the quality and level of care provided. The same is true when it comes to taking care of domesticated animals and pets. It is not an easy process. Being a pet owner and a provider requires financial resources to take care of them, especially when they get sick or hurt.
Considerations made regarding the value of veterinary care
How does a pet owner effectively assess the value of veterinary care provided by different veterinarians, hospitals, and organizations instead of simply comparing the pricing of these entities?
The fact that the expenditures associated with caring for pets have gone up is hardly breaking news to those who own pets. Undoubtedly, many pet owners do not truly understand why; all they know is that the price has increased since it was introduced. One cause for this is the increased level of expected veterinary care due to the availability of more sophisticated medical treatments for animals in today's world.
Pet owners all want the animal hospital taking care of their pets to have highly trained staff members, cutting-edge veterinarian services and equipment, surgical expertise, and ongoing educational opportunities for its employees. However, unless one is a qualified medical practitioner, it may be difficult to evaluate the level of medical care provided by the veterinarian or the veterinary hospital where the pet is getting treated. So, veterinary practices need to showcase these qualities clearly to potential clients.
Quality of services
Another factor considered when assessing the value offered by a veterinary hospital or practice is the extent to which it is dedicated to providing its clients with excellent service and utmost convenience. By always showcasing quality service from the first interaction with a client to the last, you’re better able to increase your prices.
Hospital values and beliefs
If clients have the opportunity, they will investigate the core beliefs held by the practice and determine whether or not those beliefs are reflected in how the practice is managed. A veterinary facility that places a greater emphasis on its revenue will be handled differently than a facility that focuses more on the health and happiness of the animals in its care.
It is essential to strike a balance between the costs involved and the benefits received by the client to provide a service that is both high in quality and convenience. In the profession of veterinary medicine, it is only essential to place a higher priority on the health and happiness of the patients than on the profit. Still, finding a way to strike a healthy balance between the two is preferable.