Array ( [id] => 27826 ) When Should You Increase Your Fees?
Acupuncture Today – May, 2001, Vol. 02, Issue 05

When Should You Increase Your Fees?

By Kevin McNamee

When providing a service, your income is restricted by two internal factors: the number of days you see patients each week, and the number of patients you can physically see each day. There is a cap, or maximum number, of patients you can physically manage to treat before exhaustion sets in and the quality of patient care drops.

For example, the maximum income you could generate if you say four people per hour; working six days a week; 52 weeks a year; at $50 per visit, would be $624,000. This means seeing 240 patients per week, which is very difficult physically, depepnding on the type of care you provide.

As your practice grows, you will hit a point at which you find a comfortable limit on the number of patients treated daily and weekly. When you hit this point, you will have maximized your income potential. Even after you have maxed out, there are three factors that will increase your income. One factor is a reduction in your expenses (rent; salaries; insurance; etc.). Another factor is an increase in the number of patient visits you have already established. The third factor is an increase in your fees.

When you have a steady flow of patients for one to two years at this maximum patient volume each week, and you wish to work less and make more, consider raising your fees. The result will be that some patients will go elsewhere to receive care, while some patients value your care and will stay with you. When a practitioner increases his or her fees, a slight initial dip in patient volume frequently occurs, followed by a patient volume that meets or exceeds the previous total.

Here's an example. Let's say you see 60 patients per week and charge $50 per visit. This would amount to $156,000 per year. You increase your fees from $50 to $65 (a 30% increase). You also see a 20% drop in patient flow, from 60 visits to 48 per week. This change results in an increase in annual income to $162,240. You are working 20% less, but you're making $6,240 more.

When raising fees, though, take caution in that you do not increase them too much, nor give inadequate notice to your patients so that no one will come in. A move from $50 per visit to $175, for example, may result in the elimination of an entire practice.

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