April 13, 2016
Miki Lyn D’Angelo, OD, and Jessica Fulmer, OD, FAAO, of Twin Forks Optometry and Vision Therapy in Riverhead, NY, have opened a specialty practice with a different concept: all vision therapy, medical services and contact lenses, but no optical. Their business model has dramatically lower costs, and their referral stream from local doctors and optical shops is enhanced because they do not sell eyeglasses.
Establishing a Specialty Practice With No Optical
Developing a Business Model
OFFER UNIQUE SERVICE. Offer a service, such as vision therapy, not currently offered near where you plan to open your office.
EXAMINE DEMOGRAPHICS. Analyze the eyecare providers and optical shops in your area to determine if you can function without an optical.
CONSULT WITH MENTORS. Talk to ODs who have been in practice for years about what they may have done differently if they could go back in time.
GAUGE COSTS. Crunch the numbers on how much it will cost to offer additional services, such as an optical. Consider costs like inventory, equipment, space and staff.
PLAN TO REFER. If you don’t have an optical, or other needed service in your office, determine where you will send patients.
CONSIDER WHAT WORKS. Even if you don’t offer an optical, it may still make sense to sell contact lenses given the low inventory costs, and no need for additional staff. Devise as plan to build a specialty contact lens niche that ties in well with your other specialty services.
MEET OTHER DOCTORS. On slow patient days, go out into the community and introduce yourself to area ODs, MDs and optical shop owners. Let them know of your services, and that you are currently accepting patients.
SET COMPETITIVE FEES. See what the closest offices in your area charge for the specialty service you are launching, and set your fees in the same range, or a little more, but be competitive.
OFFER PAYMENT OPTIONS. Allow patients to pay for services by visit, by a discounted lump payment, or through patient financing.
Miki Lyn D’Angelo, OD, and Jessica Fulmer, OD, FAAO, own Twin Forks Optometry and Vision Therapy in Riverhead, NY.