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Clients experience sticker shock at these price points
A study of 1000 pet owners and 100 veterinarians revealed client expectations about cost of pet care
Content sponsored by CareCredit
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Well, hello, everybody and welcome. This is going to be a fantastic conversation that we're going to have. My name is Dr. Adam Christman, Chief Veterinary Officer here at that dvm360®. And joining us today is the one and only Dr. Peter Weinstein. Thank you so much for joining us.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: Thank you, Adam. Pleasure to be here with you.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: We're very honored to have you. We want to give a huge thank you to our friends at Synchrony, CareCredit, and Pets Best for supporting today's session because we're gonna be talking about the pet lifetime of care. And what does that mean? So there's so many great conversations and questions that we're going to be bantering back and forth on. So if you've been living under a rock and don't know who Dr. Peter Weinstein is, just a little bit of information about our friend. Dr. Peter Weinstein attended Cornell University undergraduate and the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine to receive his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. After graduation, he worked as an associate for 3 years before opening up his own practice. While he was managing and practicing full time, he attended the University of Redlands received his MBA degree. Dr. Weinstein provides small business and corporate consulting via his company PA Consulting. He was the 2018 speaker of the year for the Western Veterinary Conference Practice Management section and in 2021, for VMX. Congratulations, by the way. And he was the chair of the veterinary economic strategy committee of the AVMA. He coauthored with Michael E. Gerber, the E-Myth Veterinarian: Why Most Veterinary Practices Don't Work and What to do About it. And if you haven't read that book, you have to read it. So wonderful. So alright, we have a lot to chat about my friend. Absolutely looking forward to it. So to the viewers that may not understand or have not heard about the lifetime of care research study, talk to us a little bit about what that is and what it means.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: So Synchrony commissioned a study of 1000 pet owners and 100-and-some-odd veterinarians, to look at what it costs for taking care of a pet, all encompassing: food and toys and tchotchkes and veterinary care for the lifetime of the pet. From the time it's adopted, or rescued or purchased, to the time it's put to sleep or dies naturally. And I don't think there has ever been a study that was that encompassing, to look at all of the different cost factors, put them together in one study and analyze them over the lifetime from womb to tomb.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: I've never seen a study like this before, actually, it's pretty incredible and powerful. And let's talk about some, you know, high level topline findings that we've said. One thing that resonated with me that was talking to before we started filming is $250 was the bill enough to trigger anxiety about pay. So let's talk to a little bit more about what that means.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: So in our cases, when we're seeing pet owners, and we're talking to them about a treatment plan, or health care plan or an estimate, and we give them that estimate, and they look at it, if 25% of the people surveyed saw a cost of $250, they would have an anxiety because it was outside of what they expected in terms of the cost of care. And even more significant number to me is 46% were triggered at $500, which means one out of every two people that you're talking to across the table over the phone will have a little bit of uncertainty about their ability to pay for their pet's care at a $500 level. And we do know that the average American only has about $400 in their savings account. So the the significance of veterinary costs in the eyes of about 50% of the consumers of veterinary services are something we need to be aware of and discuss with our clients, as well as with our staff members.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Absolutely. You try to go over like a treatment plan or an estimate, you know, you go over a dental cleaning, for instance. And sometimes they'll just say, "Yeah, sure. Okay, that sounds good." But in the back of our mind, now that I know that this study is here, I'm thinking maybe they don't have the means to really do it. They're just yessing me because they don't want to have that conversation where they feel almost embarrassed, if you will, that they don't have the funds to do that. Right.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: Yeah, I mean, we should probably be hooking up our clients to a blood pressure monitor when we go over the estimate with them, so we could actually see their anxieties from a measurable standpoint. Yes, I think we take a lot for granted because we know how significant pets are in people's lives. I think the study indicated that 90% or some number, and I'm sorry, I don't remember the number off the top of my head, indicated that pets were part of a family.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: And they sleep on the bed and their significant other sleeps on the floor.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Right.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: So I do think that that number is something we need to be sensitive and sensitized by.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Right.