Picture the savings

Picture the savings

Want a say in how owners spend the practice's money? Try saving a little first. Use these cost-cutting steps to increase efficiency, consume consciously, and add bucks to the practice's bottom line.
Jun 01, 2008

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Raring for a raise? Hungry for a new piece of equipment or even a cozy chair for the break room? It may well be within your grasp—if you're willing to pinch a few pennies to help your practice owners get there.

So where do you start? You can use last year's expense totals to evaluate the areas where you can cut costs this year. Then consider these tips. As you reduce expenses, keep in mind that your clinic's goal is to provide excellent client service and practice high-quality medicine. So never skimp on anything that improves client satisfaction or patient care.

Once you've developed your list of cost-cutting strategies, share your ideas with your practice's management team. Remember, the more thorough your suggestions, the more likely your ideas will be accepted. Let's get started.

1. Capture all charges.

Avoid giving discounts, and monitor the ones you give closely. Your services are valuable, and your billing statements shouldn't reflect your affinity for certain clients or pets with reduced charges. You may also suggest your managers bundle related charges to ensure clients pay for the personnel, equipment, medication, and overhead that each visit requires. Capturing just $10 more on half of your invoices could add $77,000 to your bottom line.

2. Embrace technology.

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Ask for clients' permission to send reminders by e-mail or text message. Of course, you'll want to review your phone service plan for the costs associated with text messages first. But chances are, they're less than the cost of postcards and postage.

Paying bills online and cutting those postage costs also can save your practice a chunk of change over time. If your bank doesn't offer free online banking and bill payment, switch to one that does.

3. Boost your efficiency.

You may not need to add or fill a part-time position if existing team members can each assume a responsibility associated with the empty position. Or perhaps you can uncover a new tool in your practice management software and teach your team to use it. Which technician places catheters perfectly every time? Enlist her to share her technique with the team. Thoroughly train team members so they'll master your practice's procedures and protocols sooner, which equals less work and better job satisfaction for the whole team.

4. Plant a tree.

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A tree on the south side of your building can provide shade in the summer and protect from snow and wind in the winter. While it may cost several hundred dollars up front to purchase and plant the tree, your practice can save up to 30 percent on cooling and 25 percent on heating costs each year.