Prepare clients for potential charges

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Jan 01, 2008

Q How can we prepare clients for unexpected costs that result from problems found during dental cleanings?


Adam Dixon
"Unforeseen problems often present themselves once a pet is anesthetized," says Adam Dixon, a veterinary assistant at Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital in Gibraltar, Mich. "We might discover a cracked molar or an exposed root, and we don't always have the luxury of identifying these potential costs up front. But a well-detailed and honest estimate can go a long way in forming a bond with your client."

Because it's difficult to predict exact costs, it's worth showing clients both low and high estimates for the procedure, Dixon says. Include an extra extraction charge and any subsequent medication charges on the higher estimate, and explain the discrepancy between the two totals. Then remind clients your estimate may change based on the pet's needs discovered during the procedure, he says.

"Estimates improve compliance and reduce clients' shock when you present the bill," Dixon says. "When you walk clients through the estimate and clarify each charge, clients feel you're treating them openly and honestly."