Q: What should we do when veterinary clients accept a treatment plan with an estimate and then, after the procedure is done, reveal that they can?t pay the bill?
“My guess is that you haven’t established a relationship with these clients and they don’t come see you year after year,” says Sheila Grosdidier, RVT, a consultant with VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. “In these cases, ask for a deposit that reflects at least 50 percent of the client’s total bill before proceeding.” Some practices even ask for the total amount up front if it’s an emergency procedure or the client is new to the practice, Grosdidier says. Just be prepared for a few pet owners to raise an eyebrow—or two. “While it’s important to be compassionate and understanding with clients, remember it’s not your job to provide free services,” Grosdidier says.
Many clients may understand this but simply don’t know where else to go for financial assistance. That’s where you come in. “This is a great opportunity to talk about third-party payment plans and help clients explore their options without your taking on their payment responsibility,” Grosdidier says.