Veterinary Franchise Medicine Offers Convenience, But Also Expensive Workups, WHY?

There is no doubt that Veterinary Franchises work, from a consumer-convenience standpoint. If you look around there are shopping center Vet clinics that are open practically ALL the time, with Vet-staff on hand ready to give vaccinations, or patch up a scrape. Perceived profit-margins against cheap vaccine and second-rate preventatives has drawn the interest of numerous franchisers and corporations. The days of the “mom and pop” veterinary clinic are coming to an end and should practically disappear within less than a decade.

Pay rates in the franchise-setting for Veterinarians are highly pressurized to keep the clinics profitable, driving up-sells, suggestive invoice strategies, and marketing material that could sell tomato-popsicles to women in white gloves. Commissions are changing the experience of Veterinary Medicine for consumers, and here’s why:

Not all veterinary franchises pay their veterinarians the same. Some pay more than what follows. Some pay considerably less.* References at the end.

In franchise medicine, a veterinarian is put under rather intense stress to “produce” in order to earn commission.

The most common pay structure involves a reduction in pay if the candidate veterinarian does NOT hit quota numbers. And a 15% commission if the veterinarian DOES his the quota numbers.

In a manner of speaking, it’s like saying

  1. “We’ll pay you $100,000 per year, and 15% of that will be commission.
  2. If you don’t earn the commission it will be like a 15% to 20% hold-back.
  3. But the potential commission is $108,000 a year. So there’s that.”

This means that a veterinarian generating $700,000 gross revenue in one year (entirely possible) would almost DOUBLE their income to $218,000 per year.

But if they do NOT hit their quotas, they go home with $94,000

Needless to say, over 60% of veterinarians surveyed in 2022 said they wanted to LEAVE Veterinary Medicine because of the gross imbalance of work/life ratio. When the “gun is in your back” to produce like that, you need to be at work ALL THE TIME and you need to be PUSHING goods and services as hard as you can.

As a consumer, THINK ABOUT IT:   When a veterinarian is standing in the exam room with you, at a veterinary franchise, thinking about what tests to run, and he or she is facing commission hurdles as outlined above:  Do you think you’re going to have MORE tests recommended, or LESS?

Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022

Author: Dr. Erik Johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson is the author of several texts on companion animal and fish health. Johnson Veterinary Services has been operating in Marietta, GA since 1996. Dr Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Dr Johnson has lived in Marietta Georgia since 1976.