The cost of veterinary treatment and preventative care for pets of all types can soon become very expensive, and many pet owners choose to purchase pet insurance in order to be able to cover the necessary costs.
Different parts of the country also tend to have huge amounts of variation in terms of their pricing structures to meet the needs of their local communities, but when it comes to comparing the like-for-like costs of the same service at different local clinics, you may well find that the prices vary considerably from clinic to clinic too.
There are often easy to understand reasons behind why the pricing from clinic to clinic within the same area can be variable, and knowing a little more about these things can help you to make the right choice about where to take your own pet, and understand what is on offer.
In this article, we will look at some of the reasons behind potential price differences from clinic to clinic in the same area, and how to assess the best service for you. Read on to learn more.
Vaccinations for cats and dogs are something that all clinics offer, covering the same conditions and generally using exactly the same products. The price like for like for say, a full set of vaccinations or boosters for a given pet tend to be fairly similar across clinics within the same area, but because this is the most common service offered by clinics, it is also one that might regularly be subjected to price promotions or run as loss leaders.
A loss leader is a product or service that is offered at a reduced price-sometimes close to cost price, or even lower-in order to encourage customers to sign up and come through the door. Once you have joined the clinic as a customer, you will then of course be more likely to use them for other services too; and so in some cases, promotions and loss leaders will provide an immediate saving, but these costs may be recouped in fees for other services.
The same often goes for things like prescription diets and microchipping services, which may be subject to promotions from the manufacturer or again, used by the clinic as a loss leader.
If you phone around a number of local dental clinics and ask for the price for say, a sedated dental procedure, you will likely gather quite a variety of numbers! However, making an informed decision about which clinic is actually cheaper involves understanding what your quote actually covers.
Dental procedures are another area in which clinics often run loss leader promotions, both in order to get clients through the door but also to encourage pet owners to invest in their pet’s preventative healthcare.
However, check carefully what you are actually getting before you pick the cheapest offer!
A higher priced dental procedure may include things like medications for aftercare, any necessary tooth extractions, and all of the necessary other fees. Cheaper offerings on the other hand may charge separately for medications or per extraction, so check these things carefully before you go ahead!
If you are checking out prices for a service at every client within say, a twenty mile radius, you might find that some of the price variation is caused by the location of the clinic and so, their associated costs. A clinic located in the middle of a town in a busy high street will have to pay more for their property than a clinic in an out-of-the-way location that costs petrol money or taxi fees to get to, and so you will have to make the choice between the additional travel (and potential costs) involved, or the convenience of going somewhere closer.
All persons practicing as veterinary surgeons in the UK must be qualified and licenced by the RCVS, but some vets will have spent a significant amount of time and money gaining additional qualifications and specialisations. This in turn attracts higher salaries, which will then be reflected in the cost charged to the customer.
Also, if your clinic is an accredited training practice, this also means that they will employ qualified veterinary nurses and also, train and support students. This means that you can be assured of the consistency and quality of the nursing care in the clinic, which is very worthwhile, but may in turn increase the clinic’s running costs, and so, prices.
A state of the art modern clinic that has their own ultrasound and X-ray facilities will usually charge a slightly higher rate than a clinic that does not have these things, but this in turn means that if you ever need these services, they will be cheaper than going to a clinic that has to refer you on.
A well-equipped clinic is a good thing, and it is worth paying a little more for a full service!
These are just some of the potential variables involved from clinic to clinic, and may not apply to all practices-and of course, there are many other reasons that justify the prices that you may not know about too! If one clinic’s price for something is noticeably higher than others, it is fair to ask why this is, and listen to how the charge is determined. Cheaper is not always better!