People would ask me what a million-dollar practice looks like.
Initially I would let guys come in and sit in my waiting room and they’d wait until the end of the day. They’d say, “I don’t see a million-dollar practice here. It’s too relaxed. It’s not stressful. You don’t have a million people sitting in your waiting room. You rarely have more than three people in your waiting room at any time, maybe four.”
Most people hear “million-dollar practice” and go, “Oh my God!”
They’re doing $80,000 a year maybe, or $30,000 a year, and they look at a million dollars, “Oh my God, you’d be so exhausted, wiped out, in order to produce a million dollar practice.”
Not at all. That shows that they don’t have the right systems in place.
I developed systems over the years, from my earlier chiropractic practice, which I was able to modify to fit the nutritional practice, which made it very easy to see 25 or 30 patients a day.
30 patients a day, if you work a six hour day, is five patients an hour. That may be too much for some people. Initially, it took me 45 minutes to see a patient. I had to gradually figure out what to do and how to do it, to get down to my comfortable rate, which is 10 minutes per visit.
You have to learn how to do that. There is a system for how to do it.
I found that I was able to deliver more service by having a shorter visit, which was the right step to do, rather than trying to make the patient feel like I was giving them more of myself by spending more time. Spending 45 minutes or an hour didn’t improve the condition.
What improved the condition was the method of seeing people and knowing how much time I needed to spend on the clinical side. Check, are they improving? Okay. How is their body doing? Are they doing the diet? Are they having any troubles with the dietary guidelines?
I worked out the exact clinical steps, and generally that works out, ideally for me, to a 10 minute visit for many people. If it’s a 15-minute visit, well, a 15-minute visit is fine. Even a 20-minute visit is fine, but any more than that, what are you doing? If you were trained in Nutrition Response Testing®, you’d see that it would be hard to spend 20 minutes once a week with a patient.
What I discovered when I got down to the 20-minute visit, when I was having trouble shortening from 20 minutes to 15 minutes, I analyzed what was going on and discovered that I was wasting a bunch of my time doing the jobs that I could be paying someone else to do: setting up the room, getting the Test Kit vials out, putting the Test Kit vials back after I finished with them, making sure I had the right papers there for each patient. I needed a technical assistant.
Now this is kind of interesting math because I could hire somebody who would be there during the hours that I was seeing patients for $12, $15 an hour for a good person, and that enabled me to see two more patients an hour with no stress, actually less stress than seeing three patients. I could see five patients an hour with less stress than when I was seeing three patients an hour. When you take a look at the fact that I was averaging a $100, $120 per visit, getting those additional two patients brought me an additional $240 an hour into the practice, and it only cost me $15 an hour to have competent help.
I had to promote in order to get that competent help. I had to take my most experienced staff member, who would generally be a great front desk person and say, “Okay, you’re going to also be my clinical assistant. We’re going to hire somebody. You’re going to train them how to be you at reception. And then you will be the Clinical Assistant.”
So, we lost no quality, and the patients got increased quality of service.
When I stopped doing $15 an hour work as a practitioner, I was bringing in a few hundred extra dollars an hour into the practice.
That is my job from the viewpoint of business. I hate to think or talk in terms of money, but you have to think in terms of money with the viewpoint of you running a business. You have bills. You have cash that you have to pay. You have to pay people, etcetera.
So, what is my value? It’s at least a few hundred dollars an hour. What am I doing? $15 an hour work. Every time I did $15 an hour work, I was preventing the increased viability of the practice itself. So, by the time that I got down to three patients an hour, I knew I needed a clinical assistant, and that sped things up greatly.
The other thing that we did, even when I was seeing patients at 10-minute cycles, I had my front desk book five patients an hour instead of six. That gave me some breathing room. I could take a bathroom break or I could run over a little bit on some patient that I was really interested in getting more information about. Often, that was talking about some family member of theirs that was having trouble, that they knew needed my help. I was able to spend more time.
Excerpt from the webinar: Having a Million-Dollar Practice
with Dr. Freddie Ulan, DC, CCN
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