Post by Affiliate: Mercantile
Discounts and Rewards for Your Practice
(Are you using them all?)
Running an opticianry practice is challenging, by any measure. Margins have always been slim, and costs just keep increasing, so getting the best pricing you can on the products you carry is crucial to your practice’s profitability.
And yet, most practices don’t assess their pricing very often. As a result, they often don’t notice the changes in volume or trends that might make you eligible for substantial discounts through various channels. There are several sources of potential savings that every optometry practice manager should check out.
It can be very helpful to set a calendar reminder every 12-24 months to review ordering volume. You’ll want to look at what you’re currently paying for each product, and also what you’re charging patients so you can review your margins. Here are three key places to check for better pricing based on your latest ordering numbers:
1. Vendor Discounts
There’s been so much corporate consolidation in the last decade that it’s likely you’re ordering a lot of frame lines or contact lenses that come from the same parent company or distributor. If you reach certain tiers of ordering volume, there’s usually a price break. Often there are periodic incentives or promotions, too, that might earn you even more savings or cash back.
Start by running the numbers for the past year, and see how many units of each brand you’re selling. Then, set up a call with your representative at the distributor (if you have one) or simply call the company’s sales department directly, and tell them you want to continue ordering from them, but are hoping to get better pricing based on your increased volume. Many companies will work with you to make sure you’re getting the best possible discount they can offer. (Authorized distributors should generally be able to offer the same deals as the manufacturers whose products they carry, as well.)
2. Buying Groups
Buying groups can be a great way to get volume discounts by pooling together your ordering volume with other optical practices to get a much larger discount than any of you could get alone.
These groups charge membership fees, but often that includes other things—like CE programs, webinars, or a practice management software subscription, for example—that may offset the cost if they’re valuable to you. (Some of these groups even offer special rates on things like phone service and health insurance for your employees.) Otherwise, make sure the discounts you’re getting are still worthwhile after you factor in the membership fee.
Some of the buying groups are owned by major distributors (like EssilorLuxottica), and are likely to have exceptionally good pricing on their own products, so it definitely pays to look into the discounts of each group very carefully to find the one(s) that will save you the most money on the products you order most.
3. Rewards Credit Cards
Some small business credit cards can be a useful way to earn cash back, or rewards like airline miles, the same way you can earn these things through a standard consumer card. You’ll want to be careful to understand exactly what fees and total costs might be associated with any card you choose, to make sure it’s really benefiting you and saving you money overall.
For opticianry practices though, there’s a card (with 1.5% cash back* and there is even a $750 signup bonus!☨ ) developed specifically for your needs. One of the benefits is that you get a dedicated expert—with years of experience in optometric price negotiation—to work with all of your vendors and ensure you get the best possible pricing. You can find out more about the OAA Business Card right here.
Conditions apply. Subject to approval. Mercantile Financial Technologies, Inc. is a financial technology company, not a bank. The OAA Credit Cards are issued by Hatch Bank pursuant to a license from Mastercard. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Review the cardholder agreement here.
* 1.5% rewards on all purchases, no cap on rewards. You will not earn rewards on returned, disputed or fraudulent transactions. We will reverse rewards associated with the return, credit or adjustment.
☨ Get $750 Signup Bonus in statement credits when you spend $10,000 or more in the first 4 months after account creation. This includes the $115 OAA dues for the first year. Your Card account must not be canceled or in default at the time of fulfillment of any offers. After the 4 months, Rewards points will be credited to your account if you have met the threshold amount. If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse or gaming in connection with the welcome offer in any way or that you intend to do so, we may not credit Rewards points, we may freeze Rewards points credited, or we may take away Rewards points from your account. We may also cancel the Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.
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