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The Big Survey 2020: Performance

This section would typically be a celebration of the best business practices of eyecare providers, where we find out what sort of rewards you’ve earned as a result of your hard work. COVID-19, of course, changed all that. This year, we look at the financial damage caused by the virus and the recession it spawned.




7. What were your total sales in 2019? (If you have more than one store, please tell us the average per store. And if you’re Canadian, please convert to U.S. dollars).

Less than $100,000
$250,000 to $499,999
$500,000 to $999,999
$1 million to $1,499,999
$1.5 million to $2,999,999 
$3 million to $5 million
More than $5 million

8. What percentage of the inventory you own (not consignment), do you now believe to be over one year old?

Less than 10%
10 to 20%
21 to 30%
31 to 40%
41 to 50%
More than 50%

9. How would you assess the strength of your business right now?

big survey 2020-business strength

10. As a vision business owner, what did you earn (salary + share of profit) last year?

big survey 2020-owner earnings

Note: Our data showed 52% of the men reporting an income over $150,000 a year vs. 23% for women. Note, however, that female owners were more guarded about disclosing their earnings: Only 54% of the women volunteered the information vs. 85% for men.

11. As a vision business manager, what did you earn (salary + share of profit) last year?

big survey 2020-manager earnings

Note: For managers, men again outearned the women, with 70% reporting an income over $60,000 compared to just 21% for the women. The rates for respondents opting not to answer the question were high though at 59% for men and 45% for women.

12. Have changes to tariffs affected the cost of anything you buy for the store?

Yes, significantly
Yes, minimally

With 63 percent of respondents reporting that tariffs affected their cost of goods to some degree, we’ve included a few comments on exactly how they were affected and the actions they took.

  • The tariffs for Chinese goods has impacted the cost. I suspect even if these tariffs are repealed, the cost will remain high as many will hedge their bets … depending on the next president.
  • Some frame companies charge $5 per frame and stock lens companies 13%.
  • On frames but we adjust our price accordingly.
  • When placing orders overseas over X amount, homeland security has me fill out special forms. It’s frustrating but I also think small independent companies are not doing the proper paper work.
  • We raised our retail prices in January in anticipation of COGs increase.
  • There are tariffs on about half our frame purchases now. Amounts vary from $1 to $12. We pass those along to the consumer without markup.
  • I purchase less from the companies that charge tariffs on their merchandise.
  • It seems almost every frame has increased by $3-$5. We’ve had to increase prices to factor that in.
  • We’ll pass these tariffs on starting next year in our frame pricing.

13. What do you estimate COVID-19 will cost you financially in 2020?

big survey 2020-man holding umbrella against corona virus

14. What’s had the biggest impact on your financial performance this year? Please rank the following, starting with the most impactful. (Scores reflect weighted averages out of a maximum of 5.)

big survey 2020-COVID impact on finances


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