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Tariffs, PPE, shutdowns, Sterilization and cleaning products…

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2020 PRESENTED A slew of new expenses to most small eyecare businesses. We wanted to know what clever ways they came up with to save a few shekels. From tightening the reins on inventory and overhauling staffing, to getting creative with vendors and making your own cleaning supplies, here are the ways, big and small, that ECPs found to save a few bucks. By INVISION Staff

Supplies

  • We charge a $5 PPE fee to all patients that get an eye exam. — Diana Canto Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL
  • I signed up for a state program to get PPE at cost from Staples. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • Bought a lot from Amazon, Sam’s and Costco in bulk when we were able to. All staff was checking stores to know where to get supplies. — Danielle Doniver, Heritage Optical, Detroit, MI
    We purchased spray bottles for each of the exam rooms in order to disinfect. We were purchasing so many wipes and they ended up taking long periods of time to come in. — Sarah Montes, Hockemeyer Family Eye Care, New Haven, IN
  • We went outside of “medical” for less costly items with identical functions. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • Online ordering office supplies versus going to the store. Quill.com is our favorite, they often had secret stashes for healthcare providers when everything was impossible to find. Plus, they have great deals! — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
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Inventory

  • We cut some staff hours, but slashed frame buying and whittled frame inventory way down. — Douglas Holle, OD, Sunset Eye Care, San Angelo, TX
  • Best way to save money is to control inventory; only ordered as needed. — Steve Burek, Metro Eye, Milwaukee, WI
  • We renegotiated payments to vendors. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • We had frame reps manage their own board space more often so we don’t get bills all at once. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IL I focused on selling frames we already owned. It reduced future invoices and gave us the opportunity to clear out some old stock. — David Greening, Astorino Eye Center, Newport Beach, CA
  • We slowed down on our frame buying. Found ways to incorporate using patients’ own frames. Like a BYOF sale. — Heather Aites, Family Vision Center, Westminster, CO
  • We cut more lenses in house and ordered less for patients to view. We also instated a copay for warranties that covers our shipping. Patients pay it if they broke the glasses themselves. If it’s a manufacturer’s defect we don’t charge it. — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI

Community Relations

  • We contacted our local independent pharmacies. The goal was to be a part of the solution, not the problem. They grabbed PPE, cleaning products and even made hand sanitizer for us, and only charged us their cost. — Blake Hutto, OD, Family Vision Care, Alma, GA
  • COVID meant less foot traffic; so, we decided to dote on our patients. Buying glasses needs to be fun and friendly and the extra time we spent with each patient really paid off. — Amie Robinson, Spring Hill Eyecare, Spring Hill, TN

When 2020 Got Tough, These ECPs Embraced Smart Frugality

Staffing

  • Changed office hours to the most profitable ones. Used rebates towards PPE purchases instead of lunches and other “fun” office things. — Kristina Jordan, The Eye Site, Mishawaka, IN
  • We lowered labor costs by going to a three 9-hour days per week schedule. — Robert M Easton Jr. OD, FAAO, Oakland Park, FL
  • We let staff leave early if it’s slow. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI

Lenses

  • Cut and edge in house to reduce cost and speed up delivery. — Adam Ramsey, OD, Socialite Vision, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • Use that tracer! Mounting lenses yourself can really add up some savings in your practice. — Lindsey Pulford, Insights Eyecare, Manhattan, KS

When 2020 Got Tough, These ECPs Embraced Smart Frugality

A Little Bit of Everything

  • Eliminated an employee who needed to retire and recall cards. Found doctors who were going out of business and purchased some inventory. Joined buying groups. — BJ Chambers, Carrera Optical, McQueeney, TX
  • We applied for assistance and grants for PPE and cleaning supplies. Our staff worked hard to file all of the paperwork correctly. We kept frame inventory down and asked for extended billing from vendors. Our staff helped keep hours in check. — Deb Jaeger, Eye Center of the Dakotas, Bismarck, ND
  • We are definitely watching the bottom line. From using package pricing with our lab, to buying groups, to closeouts for insurance work. — Nikki Griffin, EyeStyles Optical and Boutique, Oakdale, MN
  • We optimized staff, negotiated with all suppliers, and improved efficiencies by taking time and complexity out of each sale. — Steve Nelson, Eye Candy Optical, Westlake, OH
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More Truly Outside the Box Ideas

  • In the beginning, finding Clorox wipes was very difficult. Our doctor made our own from paper towels and Clorox disinfectant. It really saved money! — Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH
  • I make my own HOCl (hypochlorous disinfectant). — Kandi Moller, OD, Eye Candy Optical, Gig Harbor, WA
  • We bought UV sanitizing boxes from an infomercial! — Elizabeth Knaus, A to Z Eye Care, Arcata, CA
  • We needed to get new carpet and buying remnant saved us a bunch. — Sherry Morgan, Logan Eye Care, Lake Mary, FL
  • We found some out-of-the-box suppliers. Added hours to get more patients in the door. We offered second pairs at a better discount. We clean our own office now. And we turned the apartment upstairs into an Airbnb, which brings in more income than the apartment did. — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY

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