Should cosmetic surgeons charge for consultations? It’s a question that should be on the minds of cosmetic surgeons nationwide. On one hand, you’ve trained for a specific profession and are esteemed by colleagues and patients alike and you should charge for your expertise in the same way as a C.P.A. or an attorney.
On the other hand, competition is fierce in your market, and you should use every opportunity to bring in new patients. One of those opportunities lies in offering free consultations – here are some things to consider when considering whether to charge for your consulting services.
- With consultation fees ranging from $75 to $250 and even more, fees add up for patients who are shopping around to find the ideal surgeon for their needs. Offering free consultations keeps prospective patients open to deciding on your practice without burdening them with fees.
- If your practice is thriving (or at least growing) then chances are, you are receiving a healthy income from the services you offer, and can easily offset any losses incurred from waiving consultation fees.
- It’s very possible that a prospective patient might feel pressured to select a surgeon who has already charged a consultation fee, even if that surgeon might not be the best choice for the patient’s needs. Fee-free consultations remove this pressure.
- Patients who receive a free consultation might assume that your practice is desperate for patients or that you do not have the expertise to treat them. Take the opportunity during the consultation to assure the patient that, on the contrary, your practice is a thriving business that doesn’t need to charge these fees. Convey to them that, with your success, you can afford to be generous with your patients.
- Surgeons are professionals, and just because they charge fees doesn’t mean they’re cheap or greedy, it means that patients are paying for their time and expertise. It helps them maximize their time with patients, whether a patient needs 15 minutes or an hour to have all their questions addressed adequately.
- By charging a fee, surgeons do not cut into existing patients’ time by sacrificing their time for potential patients who may not even decide to be treated by that surgeon. Further, patients who are willing and able to afford consultation fees are less likely to be “lookie-loos” who take up appointment time without committing to a procedure.
- Many practices deduct consultation fees from a future procedure.
- Paid consultations are rarely sales-related, as some fee-free consultations can be. The patient has already paid for the surgeon’s time. They are learning opportunities for the patient-to-be as well as the surgeon so each can determine the ideal outcome for the patient’s procedure and if the surgeon/patient pairing is mutually beneficial.
There is no right or wrong answer as to whether you should charge consultation fees or not. Your practice location, its age, its budgetary health, and your patient load all factor in as to how you choose to bill your patients or not.
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