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Letters: Veterinarians are in the service business


I would like to comment on Dr. Allen's letter in the January 2009 issue. I am a 1974 graduate.

I would like to comment on Dr. Allen's letter in the January 2009 issue. I am a 1974 graduate. Letters such as Dr. Allen's have been written since I started reading veterinary publications as a student, and I suspect they were being written long before I became a student.

The speaker that Dr. Allen referred to had one invalid presumption. We are not in the retail business—we are in the service business. I do not compare a veterinary facility to either the Mayo Clinic or Wal-Mart. I compare it to a vehicle service station. Do we just pump gas? Do we decrease our profit per transaction by selling gas at a nickel a gallon less than the competition? This may increase our monthly profit, or will it? Do we sell food items on the side? Do we have a towing service? Do we have service bays? Is there a mechanic on staff? What hours are we open each day of the week? People who own vehicle service stations look at their profit centers and their loss leaders.

Individuals in veterinary medicine need to decide three things: First, what services do they want to provide; second, how many hours do they want to work; and third, how much money do they want to take home. Then they simply bring these three factors together, which requires compromise. Stated differently, if you want to make more money, then you simply do one of two things: Work longer hours, or invest in specialized services that will generate more income per hour.

Dr. William D. Carpenter

Fairmont, W. Va.

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