Why a monthly fee is better than a per visit fee, regardless of the amount

“What’s your adjustment worth?”

Typically, chiropractors will answer something like, “you can’t place a value on an adjustment, or, what’s your health or life worth?.”…..something trite or canned.

The average fee per visit varies around the Country, but for argument’s sake, let’s say it’s $65.

If the best way to use chiropractic, as I believe it is, is to go once a week, let’s multiply 65 x 50, which equals $3250.  If the patient has a wife who is also getting seen weekly, that’s $6500.

A well off couple might do that for a year, but they are unlikely to continue at that rate for too long after their initial symptoms improve.

Now, if the chiropractor is very good at communicating the relationship between the spine as a sensory organ, and the health and function of the brain, then they might shell out the coin…but, more than likely, at $65 per visit, selling the patient on care, one visit at a time, this couple is likely gone after a dozen visits or so.  Doc makes $1560, not bad, but he’s got to find new patients, because they’ve dropped out until they hurt again.  They’ll be back, stay a visit or two, Doc makes another $130.  See ya next year.

In the majority of patient’s minds, the fee for service plan is completely related to pain or injury, and they will more than likely NOT put the value on the chiropractic adjustment, but rather on their level of pain or discomfort, “Do I hurt $65 worth?”  By the second visit they may be feeling 75% better and have to wrestle in their minds if the last 25% is worth $65.

This is a terrible case scenario, and what makes it worse is that a large portion of the population would never have even sought chiropractic care at $65.

But then there’s another problem, if the chiropractor is a weak communicator of the principle or value of chiropractic care, then even if the fee was $10,  he’d go broke.

If you can’t communicate the  “Chiropractic: Better Brain, Better Life” message,  then the patient will ask the same question, “Do I hurt $10 worth?”

The better plan, in my opinion, is to charge a fair monthly fee for the practice member to come in weekly.

In my practice, I charge a monthly fee for clients to come in weekly, during my regular hours of Tuesday and Thursday, 10-12; 3-6, and Saturday from 10-11.  That’s 11 hours per week that people can come in for their weekly adjustment.

They are paying for the privilege of getting their spine checked and adjusted, during my hours, during the week.  If I feel they would benefit from an additional adjustment, I recommend that at no additional charge.

The benefit is that since this is a year-long commitment, and because we have educated them about the relationship between the spine and brain function, and the fallen world we live in, they come in….and if they miss a week, or two, or six, they pay the same.

The real value of this model isn’t as much in the bottom line.  There are practices that make 10X what we make, but we make it up in low overhead, low stress, lack of missed appointments, and many other tangible and intangible things that make our model well worth it.  It works for gyms, and car washes, and it works even better for chiropractic.  As a side note, many medical doctors are doing the exact same thing.

For me, it’s a no brainer.  On a potential member’s second visit, they are given the option of paying $50 per session, or $90/month.  My recommendation is always the same, weekly care, so the question becomes, do you want to pay, $1080, spread out in monthly payments, or do you want to pay $2500?  More than likely, if they go the per visit fee they’ll be gone after 12 visits.

I’m also very happy with the 90%, or so, practice members who continue with care long after their 12-month commitment is up.  They treat chiropractic as a utility that they wouldn’t want to live without, it gets budgeted, and we grow old together.

It’s as simple as that. 

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