161 - What Is Your Account Policy?

 

If you were standing in line at the local grocery store and a stranger walked up and asked you to pay for their grocery items because they didn’t have any money, would you reach into your pocket and hand them the money they required, and then trust they’ll pay you back next month when they get paid?

I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty confident you would say no, and if that’s true, why would you give a stranger an account in your podiatry business?

Is it really any different to paying for the stranger's groceries at the store? 

My Account Policy

I know podiatry is practised and regulated differently worldwide, so what I'm about to explain may not entirely relate to you. However, I still think you'll understand the message I'm trying to convey.

Also, when I'm referring to accounts, I'm talking about private paying patients, not government agencies, insurance companies or defence forces personal. 

In my podiatry businesses, I chose to adopt the same account policy as Woolworths, Aldi and all the other larger grocery chains; I do not give accounts, and I made no apologies for taking this firm stance.

Did it annoy my patients? Yes, it did annoy a few patients, but not my A and B type patients. It only annoyed the C's and D's. 

Interestingly, my A and B patients never asked for accounts; it was only ever my C's and D's. 

Confession

I have a confession to make though, when I opened my first podiatry business on the Gold Coast in 1989, I gave patients accounts because I thought that's what I was supposed to do; I knew no better.

And every month, without fail, my receptionist or I would be chasing up outstanding accounts. 

SIDE STORY: On the podcast recording, I share a story about phoning a patient at 2 am. 

Moved to Cairns

It was when I moved to Cairns in 1992 that I took on the no accounts policy, and after 25 years, I had..........wait for it........zero outstanding accounts. I'll say that again; I had zero outstanding accounts. 

Can you imagine having a podiatry business with a seven-figure turnover and zero outstanding accounts?

Having no accounts is a great feeling but what's more important is my team was not wasting time chasing accounts; instead, they were doing more productive tasks, which I feel was a huge part of the success of my podiatry business. 

Mental Drain

Chasing accounts is mentally draining, and as I've said in my 12-Week Podiatry Business Reboot and marketing workshops, you only have a certain amount of mental calories each day. When you burn them up, that's it. 

So you can burn them up chasing accounts, or you can burn them up on more productive, patient-focused tasks, like developing a cracking recall system. 

Some People Don’t Pay

Have you ever considered why big companies like Woolworths and Aldi don’t give accounts to the average person in the street? Because they know some people will not pay their bills and do not want to have to employ a whole department of people to chase them?

I felt my team worked hard, and both them and I wanted to be paid; it’s that simple.

If you want to protect your future, you need to value your services, charge accordingly and expect payment. 

It’s Starts With Changing Your Thinking

As I mentioned earlier, I understand that worldwide, podiatry is practised differently, and sometimes accounts cannot be avoided, but they can be controlled.

If someone owes you money and has gone past your normal payment terms, meaning they are now an overdue account, you've got to take immediate action. 

I know some podiatrists still give out invoices with payment due in 30-Days written at the bottom. What this says to the patient is you have up to 30-days to pay the account.

Even though that’s not what you mean, they know they have until 30-days before it becomes an overdue account because that’s what the invoice says, and that’s how you’ve taught them to behave. 

Are you using 30-day invoices because everyone else does, or this is how it was done where you used to work? If so, maybe it’s time to Change Your Thinking. If you must give an account, why not change it to 7, 14, 21-days…then overdue, thereby getting your money faster.

And never forget...it's your money. 

Your Good Clients

Every podiatry business has good patients who always pay for their treatment at the time of the appointment, and they never complain about your fees. These are the type of patients you want to build your business around, not the patients that complain, want accounts and then have to be chased for payment. 

Payment Plan Policy

I have one more confession to make before I wrap up; I developed an extremely robust Payment Plan policy for patients who needed orthotics but could not afford the full payment immediately. Instead, they could pay them off over six or eight weeks. 

If you want a copy of my Payment Plan and a link to a video explaining how I used it, please send me an email at email/tf)(tysonfranklin.com

We had well over a hundred patients take us up on our Payment Plan policy, and once again, we never had an account not get paid. 

So I'm not saying you can never give out an account to a patient, you can, but you need to have strict rules around when they are used and who they are given to. 

There's a big difference between a patient asking for an account and you offering an account. 

If you have any questions about this episode, one-on-one coaching or any of my group coaching programs, please send me an email at email/tf)(tysonfranklin.comand we can arrange a quick ZOOM call. 

Competitive Advantage

If you're looking for a Competitive Advantage over other podiatrists in your area, please visit my EVENTS PAGE, and consider joining my next group coaching program, the 12-Week Podiatry Business Reboot or join the Podiatry Business Owners Club on Facebook.  

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