Well, the summer holiday season is now done for most of us and that great break fades into the memory as quickly as our sun tan. The credit card bills are landing now, and most of us don’t really give it a second thought, but for many of you how much has that holiday really cost you as an owner of your practice?
Just a really quick “back of a fag packet” calculation could horrify you, and if nothing else, really highlights the importance of booking an excellent locum to cover you whilst you are away from your practice and thinking ahead and booking the very best locum you can, in as much advance as you can could save you thousands of pounds in lost revenue, and damage to your practices reputation.
A simple example I have used over the years to highlight the true cost is below, based on a small animal practice, two to three full-time vets including you as the owner, of undertaking a two week holiday of a lifetime with the children to Disneyland. These figures are based on a weekly turnover (ex VAT) of £10,000 per week and a Margin of 80%:
This is what happens in so many practices across the country, whether they be private or corporate, the owner steps aside, and the practice turnover nosedives. It’s not a slight on all locums, many are excellent, and sometimes it is just the effect of you being away and your clients not wanting to see another vet, or the skills gap left by your absence limits elective procedures, there are many contributing factors, but you owe it to yourself, your clients and your patients to cover your vacancies with the very best locums you can, and that means planning in advance.
It’s a sad fact of life that often the poorest locums are the only ones available at short notice, as they haven’t been booked in advance, and then perversely they are then in a position to ask a premium fee for their services.
The best manager I ever worked with gave me the wise words that: “A sign of a good leader is that your business runs equally effectively whether you are there or not.” And never has a truer word been said.
Christmas comes at the same date every year, yet so many people get caught out not planning their locum requirements, manage your team’s holidays, make sure they book well in advance, and plan your needs at that point. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day every year pencil in the bank holidays, work out your rotas, book your locum needs!
The moral of this story is think months in advance, plan your absences and those of your key players in advance, and work with us to make sure you book the very best locums you can. Maybe consider a bonus payment if certain thresholds are met in terms of revenue. But whatever you do, don’t fall foul of that expensive holiday again.