The subscription model offers vets the opportunity to stabilise cashflow and tap into new revenue streams without increasing your administration workload. Shane Conroy reports
From Netflix and Spotify to Threadbox and Hello Fresh, consumers have wholeheartedly embraced the subscription model. Whether for movies, music, our wardrobes or even our dinner tables, you’d be hard-pressed to find an Australian consumer who doesn’t hold an account with at least one subscription service.
Now, vets are getting in on the deal. Dr James Ramsden, former president of the Australian Veterinary Association and founder of Pet Pack, points out that attitudes to pet ownership have changed dramatically over the last decade or so. He believes the subscription model is an ideal way for vets to catch up with Australia’s modern $12 billion pet care industry.
“There’s a huge opportunity here for vets,” he says. “Today, pets have a much higher status in our lives than in years past. Many pet owners value their pets as a genuine part of their families, and there is growing demand among committed pet owners for a more proactive, preventative approach to the health of their pets.”
Dr Ramsden’s Pet Pack is one company that is helping to modernise Australia’s veterinary industry with a range of online marketing services that help vets grow their practices and compete more effectively in a digital world.
“Vets tend to focus on the technical aspects of healthcare and neglect taking a consumer approach to how best to deliver this care,” he says. “That can lead to a more reactive approach when it comes to every-day practice management.”
Dr Ramsden believes adopting a subscription model can also help vet practices foster a more proactive approach to practice management. While pet wellness plans have emerged over recent years, he says that vets could maximise their income from preventative healthcare through adopting subscription pricing.
“Vets could charge a certain monthly subscription fee that would cover a specified range of wellness services. This could encompass an annual check-up, vaccinations, food plans and even grooming services.”
While emergency treatments, specialised tests and surgeries would likely need to remain on the traditional transactional model, Dr Ramsden says that putting preventative services on a subscription model comes with two major benefits.
The first benefit is a more stable cashflow. On a monthly subscription model, vets will know in advance how much revenue is coming in and when it is coming. This will add stability to the business, and assist with planning, budgeting and decision-making.
“The subscription model takes the pressure off by establishing
an ongoing financial relationship between the practice and the client that essentially sits in the background.”
Dr James Ramsden, founder, Pet Pack
“Secondly, it takes the economic conversation out of the consult room,” says Dr Ramsden. “Vets are not salespeople. We’re trained to provide the best treatment possible and many of us don’t like talking to our clients about money.
“The subscription model takes the pressure off by establishing an ongoing financial relationship between the practice and the client that essentially sits in the background. The client clearly understands what they get for their monthly financial commitment, and the vet can focus on executing the wellness plan without having to give their clients the hard sell on individual services.”
New revenue streams
Nathan Harris, co-founder and COO of Knose, couldn’t agree more. Knose designs and manages vet practice subscription plans via an innovative software platform. Large corporates have been experimenting with subscription models for some time, but Knose is now making it possible for smaller independent practices to get in on the action.
Vets can test the waters with a simple parasite prevention subscription, opt for preventative wellness plans or work with Knose to create subscription plans that can bundle any services you choose. Every plan is customised to suit the practice and the practice customers, and even branded to the practice.
In addition to stable cashflow, Harris says Knose helps vet practices tap into new revenue streams with no additional admin burden.
“For example, you might choose to include a food delivery service as part of a wellness subscription plan you offer to your customers,” says Harris. “Knose will send the food directly to your customers, so you don’t need to handle the ordering process or find space in your practice to stock the food.”
Knose also handles payments and provides all the marketing materials vets need to advertise their subscription packages, so the service essentially allows practices to create new monthly revenue streams with very little extra work to do. Knose can even work in your existing website like those provided by Pet Pack to allow customers to sign up to your subscription plan online.
“A good first step is to start with your current recommended parasite prevention protocol plan,” says Harris. “We’ll send scheduled parasite medications directly to your customers while you receive monthly subscription fees. It’s a great example of how we can help you bring passive income into your practice by turning what is usually a one-off transaction into ongoing revenue. You can also choose to offer your customers more of our proven subscription plans, or create your own custom subscription plans that can bundle any services you want to offer.”
As consumers embrace the subscription model across a wide range of industries, it’s high time for vet practices to get onboard. It offers an opportunity to stabilise your cashflow and add new revenue streams to your business, while ensuring your customers get the best preventative care for their beloved pets.