Great expectations

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Apr 01, 2008

Q. In the past, I occasionally gave discounts to friends and family. Now they expect the same generosity every time they visit. What do I do?


Pamela Stevenson
Some veterinary practices do offer their team members a discount on veterinary products and services. "And it's wonderful when we can extend that discount to family and friends," says Pamela Stevenson, CVPM, a consultant with Veterinary Results Management in Durham, N.C. However, as with all favors, you may not be able to extend this privilege all the time.

Perhaps your practice's policy changed, and you no longer offer discounts to team members' family and friends. In this case, you can explain your practice's new guidelines for discounts and who is eligible to receive them. If you've been extending your own discount to family and friends without the practice owner's knowledge, consider this: Many practices earn less than 10 percent net profit. So when you extend your discount, you hurt the practice's profitability and decrease the practice owner's ability to anticipate and institute raises.

Explain to family and friends that you're simply unable—not unwilling—to continue helping them with their veterinary expenses. And it's a good idea to announce the change before they visit for products or care. They'll likely feel upset if they've been depending on your discount and didn't prepare for the change.