Q&A #4


Here are some questions from a new practitioner that may be better answered by a few different people. If you do not mind talking to this young man personally, mention in your reply that he should e-mail you to set up a time to talk but most of his questions can be answered online and others can benefit from your responses.

Dr. Strauss.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on the phone this morning. I have a few questions that you can either post on the forum, answer here, or pass along to another doc.

1. What are your thoughts about adjusting or not adjusting a new practice member on the first visit?

The next questions may best answered by docs who offer a monthly family fee, and may be better answered with a 10 minute phone call with one of those docs than through the blog Q & A.

2.What are some doctors currently charging as a monthly family fee? (And I ask this with the understanding that it can vary based on the economic climate of the community that a doc is practicing in.)

3. Should there be a nominal fee charged for each additional family member, or should the fee be the same whether it’s one person or a family of 4?

4. Does anyone charge an initial membership fee on top of the family fee to be collected each month after that?

5. Should practice members be encouraged to have these payments made through automatic recurring credit card payments or should payment be collected directly from the practice member each month?

6. And finally, how are docs handling questions about insurance and their affordable monthly fees when they meet someone out in the community and haven’t yet had the chance to educate this person on the value of regular chiropractic care?

Thank you again for helping me learn how to practice chiropractic.

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This article has 5 comments

  1. Todd Jolibois, D.C. 08/18/2011, 4:11 pm:

    1. I adjust on the first visit. I can’t think of a reason not to.
    2. I charge $100/mo for individual, and $180 for family.
    3. See answer to #2. Family fee is the same no matter what size.
    4. I charge $50 for first visit of each adult. No charge for kids with parents.
    5. I have done it by bank draft since 2005. It’s worked beautifully so far and it keeps it very simple. My practice members appreciate it and it’s very inexpensive to do.
    6. When asked if I take insurance, I tell them “no, I have a membership practice”. That usually leads to a conversation about why folks need ongoing chiropractic care.

    Looking forward to hearing how things go for you. I wish you the best in serving chiropractic to your community! Study the Blue Books and find yourself a set of Reggie’s CD’s on Chiropractic Philosophy.

    If you’d like to chat, call me at (225) 293-2931.

  2. Bob Vano, DC 08/18/2011, 10:34 pm:

    1. I agree with Todd. People come to you for adjustments. To not give them one is taking something away from them. Some practice mgmt consultants have historically taught DCs to not adjust on the first visit so they can build the anticipation, I guess, of that first adjustment. Or so you can pretend that it takes more “analysis” than it really does and make it more important — just my guess.

    2. I believe in giving people choices. Therefore, I give them three choices of monthly plans. I can share the details of them with you over the telephone (724) 695-8090. Each plan is based on how much they want to make chiropractic visits a part of their lifestyle.

    3. My family fee is my family fee — covers all children up to age 24 and still living at home. That way, college students (considered still living at home) are still part of the family plan. Hopefully, when they graduate from college, they will be living a chiropractic lifestyle and choose to do it on their own.

    The first visit fee is $75 for the first member of the family. I then open the door to other family members at no initial cost. But they do not know this until after the first person is seen. I can discuss more clearly why I do this on the telephone.

    4. I’ve heard of plans like that. I don’t agree with them. I’ve seen DCs “bait” people with really low monthly fees of $69/month but to get that fee, they charge you an upfront initiation fee of $200-$300. Not my idea of practicing with integrity. On that note — I do not feel that making people commit to a 6 month or 1 year contract is the way to go. People choose chiropractic because something in their gut makes them feel they should do it. There’s nothing much worse than locking someone into a relationship that might not want to be there. It is better to let them decide how they want it and leave the door open to them. I find that more people stay with a plan when they are not locked into it. And……when something shifts their priorities away from having their spine checked, it’s nice to see them return because they didn’t feel like you were forcing them in some way.

    5. 95% of my memberships are set on an auto charge through my merchant account. There are a few who like to pay by check or cash and I don’t let that get in the way. I have an excellent automated service that only runs me about $10 a month to have things done automatically. http://www.eprocessingnetwork.com is the service I use. You will have to check with your merchant people to see if they can tie your account to their recurring charge service.

    6. I don’t think one can have conversations like that successfully out in public. I almost never get into discussions with people in the community about my office. That is, in very much detail. I think it’s best to be professional and courteous and when they show up someday at the office, they get to learn more about things in detail when there. People already have different ideas about chiropractic and the last thing I want to do is confuse them more. They almost always come in thinking exactly the opposite of what we do and why we do it. (Other than the referrals) – well, honestly, even some of the referrals come in thinking the wrong thing too. I feel I cannot discuss a fee system or membership until after I let them talk out their thoughts on why they are coming AND AFTER I educate them on why I do what I do. I learned that from Reggie.

    At this point in my career, I do not let myself get upset or attached to what people decide. It really is up to them.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Kyle 08/18/2011, 11:28 pm:

    Check out Phil Yamamoto at http://www.joinpct.com. He’ll get you dialed in on all those answers.

  4. joey k 08/19/2011, 3:45 am:

    be cautioned about signing with ANY coaching group or practice manager. do your homework and for someone that’s been there before, avoid practice managers at all costs. what’s old is new again. check joe strauss’ practice building set and the free one he just put out. joe is one that realized that chiropractic is becoming a consumer’s market again, not a 3rd party payor market. therefore the membership practice is exactly where you want to be.

  5. Don 07/10/2012, 5:32 pm:

    Read this old post and had a question…
    Does anyone have any other method or automated service provider
    other than http://www.eprocessingnetwork.com that can do recurring auto-debit transactions?
    I love the idea of a low monthly fee and may give it a try.
    I want it to be as simple as possible and also as cost-effective.
    I know the Box on the wall system is the simplest. Hopefully, someone knows a way. Thanks.

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