Frames

Right-Size Your Dispensary with Multiple Opticians

By Oliver Lou, OD

Maximize dispensary profitability by hiring a second–or even third–optician. You willefficiently process moreorders for eyeglasses andimprovepatient service.

ROB Bottom Line: Three Opticians

Optician number three salary
$30,000 annually in salary and benefits

Combined annual salaries of three opticians
$120,000 (including two certified and more tenured opticians)

Eyeglasses orders now able to process
Can now handle $200,000 more in annual optical revenue

Overall dispensary revenues

Over $600,000

Annual Practice Revenues
Over $1.5 million

Overall Staff
Two-doctor practice with 8 employees (2 receptionists; 3 opticians; 3 technicians)

A key practice priority should be having enough staff to serve patients and meet business goals. Opticians can be expensive to payroll and sometimes hard to manage. But I have noticed that when my optical is understaffed, growth is tremendously stunted. The practice would not enjoy the success it has today–more than $600,000 in annual optical revenues–without the diligent and excellent work of my opticians.

Multiple Opticians = Increased Revenues

It is always costly to invest, but without investing, there is no way to handle future growth effectively. I know by adding a third optician, we are able to handle at least $200,000 more in annual optical revenue.

Reduce Optical Wait Time
I believe my patients deserve the service and expertise my opticians can offer without having to wait too long. Being staffed for growth is the best way to grow. Thus, when it was a stretch to afford two opticians versus one, I stretched my practice finances to make it happen. With the growth we have seen by having two opticians, it was time at the beginning of this year for me to consider hiring a third optician. I made the commitment and investment to hire a third optician.
Increase Optical Efficiency
Having three opticians is handy because with two doctors practicing and our walk-in traffic, we often have three or four patients in the optical needing help with eyeglasses at the same time. There are at least one or two rush hour periods per day when all three opticians are working with patients in the front of our optical. It also is great that all three of our opticians are cross-trained and can make eyeglasses in the optical lab.

Thus, any of the three opticians can break free for a few minutes to get a pair of eyeglasses started in the lab even while working with a patient on frame-styling in the front part of our optical. I am very proud of my opticians that in their rush periods they can sell five or six pairs of eyeglasses and make three or four pairs of eyeglasses all within an hour. Patients are impressed that as busy as we are, they get prompt and personal attention on their eyeglasses and that is only possible because we have three opticians fully trained and integrated.

Improve Quality of Service
When my opticians are over extended their work suffers. It is counterproductive to patient service and the generation of sales for my opticians to feel stressed and rushed. With three, each optician is able to give patients the attention they deserve. They can point out why one frame is more suitable for a patient rather than another or why it is worth the added expense to add AR to eyeglasses or explain the benefits of polarized sunwear.

Related ROB Articles and Multimedia

A Few Minutes in the Dispensary Can Increase Profits

Maintaining an Upscale Practice

Encourage Patients to Choose New Frames with Lens Updates

Oliver Lou, OD, owns Signature Eye Care in Cedar Park, Texas. He also is adjunct professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry. To reach him: olou7@yahoo.com

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