make Vet Answers my homepage

Sow's Ear to Silk Purse Episode 2: Week 4 and there's change a trotter!

Posted in Sows Ear to Silk Purse Challenge @ Jul 3rd 2018 1:47pm - By Judy Gillespie & Dr Diederik Gelderman, Turbo Charge Your Practice
From Sows Ear To Silk Purse Episode 2 Theres Change A Trotter

Welcome to the 2nd episode in our series: Turning a veterinary practice from a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

It’s the veterinary version of the ‘The Block’ and ‘Grand Designs’ mixed together!

What’s been achieved in the first four weeks?

Interior changes & branding:

1. New lighting

2. Interior painting

3. Feature wall planned

4. Artwork organised

5. Shelving added for OTC stock

6. Old poster’s removed from walls that adverted worming products etc. 

Still, think you need them in your practice?  Here’s a question for you – how many of your clients have come to you saying pointing at the poster and saying “I need that worming tablet?”

7. Uniforms ordered and are on their way. 

NO scrub tops at reception – studies have shown that clients do NOT want to see your staff in scrub tops at reception, they want to see a uniform

8. Name badges!

Long-term (8yrs) client has already commented that it was nice to see name badges as she struggled to remember staff names

Click here to download the FREE TOOL: Through the Eyes of the Client Worksheet


Client service & communication

1. Introduced an iPad for use during consults with positive feedback from clients

  • Used to illustrate issues and send emails with attached information to clients

2. Produced our monthly one-page, double-sided newsletter

Website and social media 

Both Facebook Page and website both live however no business has been generated as yet

1. Visit website here:

2. Visit Highlands Veterinary Hospital Facebook Page here:

  • 1 major educational based video case study is uploaded each week on Monday or Tuesday of each week e.g. this week it was a large mammary gland mass removal
  • Also posting 2 to 3 lighter topics each week and intend on ramping that up over the next few months including some Facebook Live videos – Facebook Live really drives business
  • These videos will also be tied to a YouTube Channel and our own TV Channel: HVH TV

KPI’s – focus on dentistry

  • Focused on dentistry to start as it can quickly have an impact on profitability
  • Aiming to achieve 10% of total income = 1 dental per vet per day
  • Previously, the practice was doing 1 to 2 dentals per week 

How? Procedure to follow:

  1. Set up a Grade 1 Dental Package (anaesthetic, day in hospital, etc): Cat - $247; Dog - $279
  2. Examine the patient in front of you and if you determine it needs a dental, explain to the pet owner that their pet has dental disease and what that means for their pet's health and well being
  3. Walk out with the pet owner to reception and say to your receptionist, “Michelle, please book the patient in for a dental” and 9 out of 10 times the client will agree
  4. All dental cases return within a week for a complimentary follow-up – booked in as part of the discharge process
  5. During follow up, discuss with the client a home preventative/maintenance dental program for their pet   
  6. Book client in for a complimentary dental review within 6 months (appointment made before they leave)

Results so far 

  • Food and OTC dental products have increased
  • Dental procedures have gone up dramatically and everyone is very happy – clients are not refusing to have dentals done when they understand the implications of untreated dental disease in their pet
  • 100% take-up of 7-day complimentary follow-up
  • 80% take-up of pre-booking for 6-month complimentary follow-up

Was doing 1 dental week NOW doing 4 to 4.5 dentals per week

Click here to download the FREE tool: The 7-Day Dental Home Care Worksheet


Update on overall Practice Figures:

1. Previous average weekly income around $8,900/week

2. Current target is $11,000/week

  • Note: it’s winter and the quietest time, therefore, income would normally be below the average of $8,900/week

3. Actual  weekly income is now just over $13,000

4. June 2017 gross fee turnover was $36,800

5. June 2018 gross fee turnover was $57,500

6. = $20,000 increase – attributed to the few changes already implemented

  • Reminder: 1 vet, 1 nurse practice opening hours 8.15am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and 9.15am – 12 midday on Saturdays
  • No fee rises except for revisit consultation rate increased from $44 to $48

What can the $20,000/month increase be attributed to?

Cosmetic changes to the practice eg. painting & signage haven’t really had time to kick in so reasons for the increase in turnover can be attributed to:

1. New clients:

  • More new clients than June 2017 because they can now see that there is now a vet practice is there

2. Increase in revisits

  • Diederik has a list of pet diseases/problems and if a pet is diagnosed with something on that list then a follow-up appointment is automatically booked for them BEFORE they leave the clinic
  • The client isn’t given the option to “See how it goes and come back if it’s no better” rather they are told that “Diederik needs to see Fluffy in 7 to 10 days for a review so you can be confident that the problem is fixed or on the way to being solved”

3. Focus on dentistry

  • 1 dental per doctor per day = 4 to 5 dentals per week

Watch the videos..

The information in this post was taken from these two videos:


Tools from Diederik:

1. Through the Eyes of the Client Worksheet

 2. The 7-Day Dental Home Care Worksheet 

3. Veterinary Business Academy

Tips from Vetanswers:


Time for a rebrand of your business? Contact Jess at Veterinary Branding for a one-stop full re-branding service.


Time for a refresh but not sure what colours to choose? You could consider making use of the Dulux Colour Design Service, phone: 132525 (or similar service offered by other paint companies)

Stay tuned for the next instalment of 'From a sow's ear to a silk purse' and if you have any questions for Diederik, ask them in the Comments section below...


You can also click here to read the previous posts in the series: The Sow's Ear to Silk Purse Challenge

About Diederik

Diederik Gelderman BVSc, MVS graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in 1977.

Besides his veterinary work, Dr Gelderman is also a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer and world-renowned coach to veterinarians wanting to improve their profitability. He has coached and consulted with more than 350 small to medium enterprises in a diverse range of industries, and has also held workshops/seminars around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, USA, South Africa and around Europe, both for smaller organisations and through his Turbo Charge Your Practice Workshops.


There are currently no comments.

Add Your Comments

All comments will be submitted to the administrator for approval.

To prevent spam, please type in the code found in the red box to verify you are a real person.
  Required fields

Blog Categories


Recent Blog Entries

follow us on twitter