Veterinarians offer alternative payment methods to cash-strapped clients


Some of your clients are struggling financially. Here's what you should and shouldn't be doing to help them pay for pet healthcare.

Your total is $369.78. No cash or credit? No problem. How about I give you a discount? I can also hold your personal check for two weeks. Perhaps you'd like to work off your bill by cleaning cages." If you don't offer these solutions to clients' financial hardships, you're in the minority. Almost 90 percent of survey respondents say they've offered to hold checks for clients in the past 12 months. More than half have discounted services. And, yes, even a few—8 percent—let clients work off bills in the clinic, in the front yard, or with bartered services. But before you start offering these options, know that these alternatives to payment carry financial and legal risks for your practice, says Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Longview, Wash. See what your colleagues are doing, and look below in related links to learn why Dr. Salzsieder says some of these payment alternatives are lawsuits and unrecoverable debts just waiting to happen.

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