Veterinary Debt Recovery: 3 Simple Tips to Generate Faster Payments!

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shutterstock_157769084Although you can never guarantee that a client will pay their bills on time, being proactive and following these three simple tips will help make sure you receive payment ASAP!

Tip #1: Lay The Proper Foundation

As every builder knows, only houses that are built on solid foundations will be able to weather the storms of life. This is particularly true when people encounter personal financial tempests. Here are a few ways you can prepare for those potential fiscal “storms”:

  • Credit Checks: Before admitting a patient, run the pet owner’s credit to gain an idea of their financial stability. Credit scores range from below 500 to 850. So, if someone walks into your clinic with a high-risk score of 550 or below, think twice about providing care for their pet unless you are able to secure funds by pre-authorizing a credit card or through some other payment method.
  • Updating Client Information: Train your staff to confirm your clients’ home address, email and cell phone number every time they come into the office. Most people won’t think to tell you of any changes and, if things get tight for them financially, you want to make sure that you have the correct information on file. It is also a good idea to have your staff call your clients periodically to check up on their pet’s health. Not only is this fantastic customer service, it will ensure that you have the correct phone number in your system!

shutterstock_157987610Tip #2: Earn Pet Owners’ Trust 

When people do not trust the person that they are doing business with, it takes the sting out of breaching integrity and skipping out on their debts. This is especially true if they feel like they were getting cheated to begin with!

  • Wellness Care Model: One of the best ways to earn pet owner’s trust is to prove to them (by your actions) that you care for their pet’s health. Think outside the box and go the extra mile beyond the run-of-the-mill recommendations many vets give. Doing things like giving your clients some literature on the latest, greatest research that can benefit their pet speaks volumes.
  • Preventative Care Model: To supplement your wellness care model, take a preventative approach to healthcare in lieu of a sick care model. By doing so, you are telling pet owners that your concern for their pets’ wellness trumps the money you make on repeated office visits because their pet gets sick frequently.

In essence, when pet owners grow to trust you as a doctor and as a person they are far more likely to treat you with the respect and integrity that you provide to them!

Tip #3: Taking The Pressure Off Of The “Money” Issue

To make sure that everyone is on the same page, accurately and clearly communicate proposed expenses before and after initiating care.

  • Fee-For-Service Transparency: A wise “best practice” is to have pet owners sign an informed consent document that includes an itemized list of projected fees. This will serve as a preliminary invoice and a signed affidavit confirming that they are aware that if they cannot remit on-time payment their account will be handled by a veterinary debt collection agency.
  • Clear Billing Statements: Provide accurate invoices (with no hidden costs or fees) that clearly account for every penny billed and that notify pet owners when payment is due. If your client has purchased insurance on their pet, make sure to provide a bill with the necessary information so that their insurance company doesn’t reject their request for reimbursement because of insufficient documentation and coding.

These best practices are fantastic approaches, but nothing is infallible. Rest assured that if a situation becomes unmanageable, veterinary debt collection help is able to take on the burden of managing your delinquent accounts!

YOUR TURN: How do you establish rapport with pet owners? What have you done to get pet owners to pay their bills faster? What worked? What didn’t? We want to hear from you, so share your experience!

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