Practices have been urged to focus on new marketing ideas toretain clients, as new figures suggest some are relying on feeincreases to beat the recession.
The latest Fort Dodge Index (FDI) report, which has analysed figures for a range of practice trends in the first half of 2009 and compared them with last year’s statistics, show turnover growth has fallen by two per cent compared to the same time last year, and transaction volume growth remains negative at -0.7 per cent, compared to -0.4 per cent in June 2008.
On average, the 142 practices involved in the FDI were also seeing fewer new clients and patients. However, average and annual transaction revenue has increased over the past six months, by 2.4 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively, as owners continue to pay for clinical care and practices maintain their prices.
The report warns that, despite good average transaction prices, profits will need to be improved via greater retention of clients and through the sale of preventive care items if turnover in veterinary practices is to keep up with inflation in the sector, which sits at six per cent.
The report states: “Growth is being maintained by high transaction values, primarily from increased prices. However, this is being eroded by declining client and patient numbers overall. Practices need to identify where they can most effectively improve practice performance beyond just increasing prices.”
For more on this story, see the August 31 issue of Veterinary Times, out this week.