Let’s talk about cheap veterinary fees . . .
So you’re considering lowering your fees to compete with vaccination clinics, and big box retailers like Pet Supplies Plus, Tractor Supply, Petco, etc. . . . thinking that cheap veterinary fees are the way to attract your ideal client?
I sat in on a few lectures at the AVMA convention the first of August, more about those in an upcoming post, and they seem to be encouraging the lowering of veterinary fees as a business model for veterinary clinics. Low profitability, higher volume, competitively priced, more affordable, cheap veterinary fees – prices for goods and services similar to Amazon, and the Walmarts out there.
Short term, it might give you a much-needed boost of cash. But long-term, I’m not convinced. I believe such a business model will further devalue the services that veterinarians and veterinary hospitals provide to their patients.
Here’s what Seth Godin says about the Pursuit of cheap. I think it applies to cheap veterinary fees.
In Pursuit of Cheap
The race to the bottom is unforgiving and relentless.
I ordered some straw hats for a small party. The shipper sent them in a plastic bag, with no box, because it was cheaper. Of course, they were crushed and worthless.
I wrote a note to the company’s customer service address, but they merely sent an autoreply, because it was cheaper.
And they don’t answer the phone… you guessed it, because it’s cheaper.
Of course, you have competition. But the big companies that are winning the price war aren’t winning because they’ve eliminated customer service and common sense. They’re winning because of significant advances in scale and process, advances that aren’t available to you.
Organizations panic in the face of the floor falling out from under their price foundation, and they often respond by becoming a shell of their former selves. Once you decide to become a cheap commodity, all of the choices you made to be a non-commodity fall victim to your pursuit of cheap.
Cheap is the last refuge for the marketer who can’t figure out how to be better.
The alternative is to choose to be worth it, remarkable, reliable, a good neighbor, a worthy citizen, leading edge, comfortable, trusted, funny, easy, cutting edge or just about anything except, “the cheapest at any cost.”