Are pet health plans worth it? If you’re a vet or a practice owner, this might be the very question you keep asking yourself and your customers keep asking you, too.
Are pet health plans worth it? What does it do for my business? How does it help pet owners and pets? Does it do both? What is the true cost to me and what do I get for it?
When you take a moment to pause on a Friday afternoon between consultation, surgery or even simply catching up with CPD requirements, the topic enters your mind as you think about the future of your business, but the thought leaves you quicker than your dog chasing its favourite ball in the park.
You forget about it, move on, it’s nearly the weekend after all and you carry on with your busy day because no one has ever truly outlined what it might cost you and therefore you don’t know whether the service that you receive is driving value for you and your customer.
In an industry littered with different pet health plan solutions, insurances and other options, this article will take you through the factors that can affect the price, what you are likely to receive and how these elements can support you and set you up for success. Most importantly, what this means for your business finances.
By the end, you’ll be ready to decide what’s right for your clinic and avoid the confusion and fear that can come with worrying about cost and the introduction of something new.
What is a pet health plan and what does it cost?
A pet health plan is simple – it’s a monthly subscription service, allowing your clients to easily budget to cover essential routine preventative healthcare for dogs, cats and rabbits such as vaccinations, flea and worm treatments and regular health checks.
As you know, pet health plans differ to pet insurance, but they can work together. More on this later…
What determines the cost: There is not a one size fits all cost to a pet health plan, but you should be aware of the following costs when looking into a provider:
- A monthly pet health plan fee: This is what your clinic charges per pet to your clients. This fee can vary depending on size and species and is typically reflective of prices of goods/services in your location. Expect to charge somewhere between £10 – £25 per pet.
- Service charge fee: Subject to what services are agreed for a health plan provider, a percentage of the above is charged at a cost to the practice to account for the set-up/ongoing management of the plan. This is variable because it is determined by how much support your practice chooses to receive from a pet health plan provider.
For example, you might wish to use the technology that a service provider offers, customer insights and e-learning courses but you want to run the marketing of the plan in-house as well as the customer service. The plan can be tailored to your wants and needs.
- Client joining fee: Each pet owner is subject to a one-off joining fee. This is usually charged at a standard rate of £10.
- Home delivery: This is an optional, but an extremely popular add on to a plan, which enables the pet owner to receive their products to their door.
Obviously, this is subject to change and will fluctuate depending on the level of service/support your provider gives you plus the cost of goods through your respective wholesaler/pharmaceutical company.
Why should I pay a provider to set this up and manage the process?
If the first thing that you think when you read this is, why am I giving away my profit to a third party, I could do this on my own… that’s okay. You absolutely could set up a health plan on your own, but there a several reasons why it can be beneficial for you to enlist support.
- Technology: With more than a decade of research and development, Premier Vet Alliance has created a user-friendly portal system that is easy to use. Enabling you to focus on clinical work. The sort of thing that could be included in a package is a live banking tool, pet owner/practice app and home delivery solution.
- Customer Service: Dedicated support team for both customer and practice. We have a team of more than 16 staff, ready to answer queries from your practice or direct from customers. On average we speak to more than 80,000 pet owners per year, so we are well versed in how to help both needs.
- Expert Advice: We’ve owned clinics, we’ve been in your shoes and faced some of your challenges. Our aim is to be a trusted partner and relieve some of the administrative burden from your practice. With your staffs’ time being a valuable asset, administration can prove costly, from a time management and workload perspective.
- Training & Support: Access to the PVA Academy which is a blended learning solution that works together with your dedicated business coach
- Increase Compliance: Our plans are proven to increase preventative health care compliance by around 130%. Up from around 30% if you do not have one. This leads to happy customers and happier pets.
- Time: It saves your practice team from an administrative burden, allowing them to fulfil other clinical duties.
- Cost: It would cost more per pet for your inhouse team to deliver all the above.
What your clinic risks by not having a health plan:
- Lost guaranteed/forecast revenue: Without a health plan in place, you risk losing a guaranteed income of £75,000 annualised income*based on 350 pets on plan
- You can struggle to secure client loyalty because your customers are not tied to your clinic.
- Clients can/will
- Purchase preventative healthcare from another source (online/retail)
- Manage their own pet compliance (data suggests this equates to less than 30%
- Visit you ONLY for an emergency.
What’s the downside?
We truly believe there are huge benefits that come from taking out a pet health plan with us, not least for your business but for your customers and the health of their pets, but if all this sounds too good to be true, there are a few perceived downsides to consider when making your decision.
We provide health care plans for over 1.8 million pets and here’s a few of the things we have heard as well as our solution to that potential problem.
- I have a high staff turnover and teaching them the system is difficult.
- This is an issue in practices, but we provide a full training and customer service package to help you ease into running a pet health plan, whilst supporting you to reduce admin. The feedback we have received suggests the benefits far out outweigh the effort required from your team.
- I’m giving up profit to a third party.
- We would look at this with respect to the value you are gaining rather than the income you are giving up. By using a pet health plan, you are fundamentally increasing compliance, increasing guaranteed revenue and client loyalty.
- I’ll still have debt to chase, it’s easier for clients to pay when they come in.
- This can be true, but our research shows 70% of your clients are either non-compliant or buy treatments elsewhere.
- Payments are automated and if a payment is not collected, goods are not shipped.
- We’re in the process of launching an app, which will enable you to send a payment request directly to your clients.
- I won’t see my customers as much, so they will forget about me.
- On the contrary, a pet health plan offers a great opportunity to help you create bonded clients as it enables you to engage regularly and gain loyalty by providing great customer service to them. With home delivery included, the perceived value of your practice services is hugely enhanced.
You guessed it, pet health plans are totally worth it. But there is no one size fits all – each plan needs to be bespoke to fit the needs of your practice.
The type of pet health plan and the scale or degree of support you enlist is totally up to you and dependant on your aims and objectives. One thing that is for certain, is that if you want to drive value for money for you and your clients, we, at Premier Vet Alliance, are the only provider specialising in healthcare plans with experts who can build a suitable solution for you.
You now know the rough costs, the potential pitfalls and how we use our technology and industry expertise to work together with you. We have felt your struggles and been in your shoes, so if you’re feeling the need to make a change and you want to explore the idea of setting up a pet health plan at your practice, contact one of our advisers who can work alongside you to help build a plan that is right for you.
For more information contact us HERE.