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How to ask for a raise
With veterinary team salaries largely stagnant, it can be a challenge for your boss to find room for a raise. To earn the raise you're looking for, you might need to find new revenue streams. Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member Bash Halow, CVPM, LVT, owner of Halow Consulting in New York City and Wyalusing, Pa., suggests these steps:
1. Start the conversation with gratitude. “Many practice owners are sole proprietors, and that's hard. So sincerely let them know that you understand that,” he says. “On a daily basis, your employer weathers the risk of lawsuits, malpractice, business failure, unhappy clients, horrible web reviews, fines, interpersonal problems with staff, and more. Through this, they've managed to build a business, provide the community with wonderful service and care, and give a great number of people a secure livelihood. That's no small feat, so let your boss know you recognize that.”
2. Announce your intention to do more for the practice. Consider what else you can do to help your boss grow the business. Halow suggests planning a meeting and bringing a list of suggestions. “Demonstrate how taking on more responsibility helps your owner, offers you the chance to do something you love, and improves the business,” he says.
3. Get the owner's buy-in. You want your owner to say your ideas are good ones. If she's not ready to commit to your plan at this point, Halow says, you should offer to follow up soon so the owner doesn't need to worry about scheduling another meeting. He also recommends offering the practice owner a way to monitor your work as you move forward with your plan.
4. Thank the owner. Tell your boss you appreciate the opportunities he or she has offered to let you grow with the company. “Leave the meeting knowing when you can start and the employer's expectations for the first deadline or check-in,” Halow says. “Then ask if it would be alright to review your wage at that time.”
5. Know your numbers. When it's finally time to discuss your wage, demonstrate that you know what it means in terms of weekly pay, monthly pay, or annual pay. “It's also important to show that you understand how much more responsibility you have in building the business to pay for the wage increase,” Halow says.
6. Give your owner time to consider your proposal. Your boss may need time to consider the proposal. And if the answer is no, don't mope, Halow says. Moping only underlines the validity of your owner's decision. A pleasant attitude, on the other hand, increases the chances they'll reconsider at a later date.
Ask for a raise: sample script
Before you ask your boss to show you the money, you've got to demonstrate you're a team player who can help boost the practice's bottom line.
Directions: Start by asking your boss for time to speak privately. Collect your best ideas for improving practice revenue. This is critical. If you're asking for more money, it's important to show how you're going to help your owner afford the increase. For example, you might suggest a block party with other local businesses or plan an open house. For a list of ideas to get started, see www.dvm360.com/earnraise.
Once you've outlined your ideas, you'll say:
”With the changes I'm going to make, I think I can increase our monthly new client average by four clients. If we add these new clients and generate an average invoice of $150 with an average number of two visits a year for the next 10 years, we can generate an extra $144,000. My 50-cent raise, on the other hand, costs you $1,040 annually. My goodness, now that I think about it, maybe you'd better invest a full dollar in me. I seem to be too good of an opportunity to pass up!”