I just read an email from a well-known consulting duo. One of their pieces of advice was that you should NEVER be the bank...that you should NEVER loan money to a patient.
I'm calling BS.
- At the very bottom of the email was a logo from a well-known patient finance company...they're getting PAID to provide the advice they do to protect the interest of their "sponsor" and their own wallets.
- It's bad advice.
There's usually a story behind every consultants sometimes vehement language and position about NOT financing patients or lending them money.
Of course it's a popular, easy position for these paid-off consultants to take and easier still to rattle off, and not have anyone argue with you. (Except me.)
Thing is...You're actually not lending your patients money when you extend financing. You're simply delaying the receipt of your profit (makes sense when your cash flow needs are strong) and in exchange, making a very nice added income in the form of interest and potentially late payments (one of the cornerstones of our successful patient financing system).
A loan to a patient would be giving them money and establishing a repayment plan with the patient. Here, you're providing treatment in exchange for a down payment (another cornerstone of our successful patient financing system) and a stream of income (a financing agreement -- you see, you're CREATING valuable "paper" that Care Credit and other patient financing cos. create themselves!) that will cover your overhead and provide you a very tidy profit, to a patient/Guest that might well have otherwise NOT accepted and started treatment (not to mention, these patients/Guests are incredibly grateful for the financing and readily refer friends and family vs. those not financed and skipping or delaying treatment).
There are a couple things I want you to consider before you accept mine or anyone's position about extending credit or ANY advice for that matter:
- Look at WHY they are telling you what they are. Is it self-interest or truly educational and empowering to help you decide what's best for you?
- Not every patient in every practice should have financing extended to them (yet another cornerstone of our system -- and a critical one!)
- When you do choose to extend financing, your financial policy must be sound, defensible and enforced. (You guessed it...another cornerstone!)
Don't let some consultant who has no skin in your practice (money invested) tell you what you should or shouldn't do based on their OWN financial windfall.
Do what's smart business...and that includes FINANCING your Guests when appropriate for you and for them. Why would you turn down the chance to make 12% or more per year on your outstanding accounts? (If you have $50,000 in A/R averaging just 1% per month in interest charges, that's $6000 per year in interest revenue that goes right to the bottom line!) In my office, we charge 18% (1.5%/month) and enforce late fees and have automatic payment programs set up in advance to avoid many of the challenges associated with collecting money. Would you do more treatment in your practice if it was financially easier for a patient/Guest to say, "Yes!" based on available financing?
To learn more about extending financing to your Guests, reach out. ClearPath Society Members have ongoing access to our patient financing system to include support.