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Red Flags in Your Corporate Optometry Employee Contract

You can always seek the opinion of professionals within the industry. They will tell you what is reasonable to expect and what isn’t.

Another thing to note is that you need to be patient and let your employers bring up the contract themselves. Don’t get ahead of yourself; wait for them to start the conversation.

You need to be honest and straightforward when you’re making an agreement. Remember, there is no reason to be hesitant or embarrassed because it applies directly to you.

Ask questions every step of the way if something is unclear to you. Ask about the frequency of reviews, compensation, bonus and factors that will influence promotion.

Similarly, when you’re becoming a corporate OD, there are some things you need to watch out for things like the number of patients you will see an hour, hours of operation, holidays, weekends, staff support etc.

No Transparency

You need to know that in a corporate setting, it is completely normal to talk about growth opportunities, raises and bonuses, among other things.

If the employers at your workplace of interest are not keen on going into details about their business procedures, chances are that it is not a good sign.

Some element of transparency should be there when you’re negotiating a contract, and withholding of relevant information on any end is a huge red flag.

Ambiguity

If the contract language and the context aren’t completely understandable, you should always ask for clarification. You can easily misinterpret ambiguous statements and the organization can hold you accountable. It is best to avoid signing something you’re not sure about.

Certain language as, “it depends on the store and region”. There are protocols from the corporate level. Make sure all your requests and agreements are in writing. Some other ambiguity could be that anything that you develop during that time that you are an employee is property of the company. As an employee, doing eye exams intellectual property is your own property not the company. If you have this clause it needs to to be removed.

Non disclosure agreements in an employee contract can be a red flag. If you are an employed OD at the store level many times sensitive information is not provided to you. If you are in this position you should not sign an agreement that is not specific to a certain situation or doesn’t have a time frame.

Verbal Agreements and Cues.

Anything that you and your employed have agreed upon needs to be clearly stated in your contract. If you’re denied this, then you should take this seriously because when something isn’t contractually binding, it is easier to get out of. What was verbally agreed upon needs to be in the contract. Many times if a contract is being “sold” as it is a great opportunity that you don’t want to miss because there are other ODs, don’t rush into it. Take your time to review, you don’t want to rush into something that might be hard to reverse.

Long Notice Periods and Restrictive Covenants.

Beware of notice periods that are extraordinarily long. There is something to take notice about any organization that requires you to have a notice period longer than 60 days or if they require to help find a replacement.

Restrictive Covenants are very common in Corporate optometry. A typical covenant is 1-3 miles over a year. Beware of vague covenants without an address to start with and longer than a year. If you are a traveling OD make sure that you are not required to not work 1-3 miles from all the locations because that can limit you to certain locations in your state.

Now that you know some of the warning signs in a contract, you will be able to negotiate in a way that benefits you in the long run. It is necessary to go over the best and worst-case scenarios that can happen during your term of employment and request for amendments accordingly.

When you’re signing a contract, you need to take your time and understand every clause. Consult a lawyer to help guide you. Very contract is negotiable.

Why Being The Lowest Priced Eye Exam Won’t Bring In More Revenue for your Sublease

It is common for individuals to get attracted to things that are priced at lower rates. However, when it comes to spending on more important things like dental checkups, purchasing medicines, or getting eye exams done, individuals do not always get drawn to the cheapest priced options.

Cutting the prices down drastically can make your practice look less appealing. It could draw in more patients that are not as loyal to your practice. In the long run you need to understand how much your chair time costs. How much effort and time will that patient take on your practice and will that patient refer other patients to your practice.

Patients usually go to the higher priced eye exams because they are independent practices and they expect close personal attention and good customer service. Patients want a good value and the latest technology. Many patients have insurance and are not looking for the most affordable eye exam.

There are certain factors that can help make a practice more attractive for the patient even if there’s a high price tag attached to the services. The physical environment should be comfortable, the staff should be educated and friendly, the working hours should be convenient, and the brands you offer should be of top-notch class. With so many better things to look forward to, price always becomes a lesser important consideration.

Set low prices for the excess/old items

If you over-ordered certain products that did not get sold, place them on sale. If these items are about to go out of style, place discounts on them so they can get sold for lesser money instead of no money at all. Materials should be discounted but not services. Many corporate opticals have “burst events” that can attract a patient that wants value eyewear.

Make seasonal sales

Just by placing seasonal discounts on products, you will notice how there is a significant increase in the sales. It is important to sell out seasonal products during the season. Usually in corporate optometry, we will see an increase in patient value based on marketing trends. Styles change and new trends are always being introduced which is why it is important to make room for products that are aligned with the latest requirements.

If you sublease in corporate optometry, make sure that you are practicing at the highest standard of care that your license requires. When it comes to health, individuals do not look for the cheapest alternatives; rather, they look for the option that will provide them with the best results. Utilize the resources that you have in corporate optometry with technology to be able to present a quality eye exam to your patients and not have to be the cheapest eye exam to bring in patients, because many times it doesn’t bring in more volume.

Corporate OD Myths: Take 2

Starting a sublease in corporate optometry may seem like a daunting venture.  Based on what you’ve heard from friends, colleagues, and the internet, you may have heard a variety of conflicting opinions, leading you to doubt whether you are ready to start a career in corporate optometry and whether it is the right fit for you.  Here, we address some corporate optometry myths to eliminate some of the doubts you may have.

1. Patients will not follow you if you leave your current practice.

You may be afraid to leave the company you are currently working for due to fear that you will lose all of the patient relationships you have built.  That being said, the majority of patients are loyal to the doctor, not the brand. Having built a foundation of trust through continued visits and recommendations, you may be surprised how many patients are willing to move with you.

2. ODs rely on optical to keep their own business alive.

Another common myth is the idea that corporate optical supplies ODs with their patients in order to keep the business running.  Now, it may be true at first that corporate will supply some of the initial client-base, but it is the OD who keeps the patients coming.  The quality of care, comfort you provide, and relationships you build with your patients are what truly affect whether they continue to provide you business.   In other words, the doctor makes or breaks the business, and you don’t necessarily need corporate optical to survive.

3. It is too difficult to start your own practice.

While it is certainly a challenge to start your own practice, there are a variety of initiatives you can take and personal skills you can use in order to kickstart your business.  Once again, the possibility of success is truly in your hands. You need to be an entrepreneur in corporate optometry and use your resources to grow. Starting your own practice will not be easy, but it is certainly not impossible, especially with a good work ethic and business mindset.

4. The lowest-priced eye exams and vision plans will bring in more patients.

It may seem that, in order to gain patients, you need offer the lowest-priced eye exams and vision plans amongst your local competitors.  This method, however, is neither the only strategy nor the best strategy to bring in patients. Word of mouth and the power of recommendations from your current patient-base is crucial, and whether you are receiving this praise will depend on the quality of your care.  In addition, the convenience in scheduling, such as being able to make appointments online, will attract new patients searching for an optometrist.

5. Adding more hours and days creates more patients and income.

While you may assume that increasing the amount of hours in the office will, in turn, increase the amount of patients coming in, this is a huge myth.  Working 7 days a week won’t necessarily bring in more patients. Rather, you should consider what an optimal schedule for both you as the optometrist and your patients may be, as well as how many hours you need to be in the office to accommodate your client-base and to profit.  

6. The income potential in corporate optometry is tremendous.

Income potential is corporate optometry is highly variable depending on a variety of factors, each of which you can look into when considering starting a sublease in corporate optometry.  For example, the location in which you will be working highly influences your income potential. In addition, whether you are working with a new vs. established brand will affect the amount of revenue you are able to bring in.  

7. Contracts are absolutely set in stone.

Simply stated, everything is negotiable.  If there is a part of a contract that you are uncomfortable with or that you feel should be changed, express this and work to make a agreement that benefits both sides.  Don’t settle for less than what you believe you deserve!

The Growth Potential of a Sublease in Corporate Optometry.

Corporate Opticals and Optometrists can have a mutually successful business, with each party focusing on their strengths. Optometrists tend to give priority to the needs of our patients forgetting that we are a business that needs to be profitable as well. To make sure that our practice remains successful some ODs have partnered with corporate opticals.

Optometrist enjoy is diagnosing, treating and serving their patients, but running a business is in some ways is something completely different. Opportunities need to be recognized and captured while managing risks along the way. Corporate optometry can be a great way to practice the way you want and have your own business with minimal risk practicing next to a corporate optical.

Optometry is still divided and many ODs underestimate the potential of a successful business and career in corporate optometry. Usually, some private practices have a heavy flow of cash but they lack effective management. Corporate opticals understand that there is a possible opportunity there but with a small manageable risk factor. Optometrists can capture the same opportunities that opticals recognize and benefit from. All we need to do is, think outside the box, and apply business strategies, like a CEO. Everyone has the potential to unleash the CEO from within.

We need to change our perspective in the following ways:

Prepare a Business Plan

Just as a you would set up a business plan for a private practice, write up a business plan for the corporate location. Have the regional manager and store manager provide you with information on the business metrics to help you set up your plan. Construct a plan for a few years to build and grow the business.

Value Growth

Optometrists sometimes overestimate their corporate practices. The wiliness of the number of ODs to take over your sublease defines its value. We need to build value in our practice by spotting growth opportunities. Corporate opticals see that they can expand with strong management, overall services, budget control, objectives, and vision. Having that partner will help grow your value in your sublease as well has expanding to the medical model.

Seek Potential

Corporate opticals expand rapidly in urban and rural areas. In over saturated areas patients get divided and there is a huge risk of your practice to fail. Partnering with the right corporate optical that has a unique value proposition, your sublease can be very successful even in the most competitive areas. Rural areas and places where there are underprivileged people need more medical attention can be a lucrative business for an OD with minimal rent and less competition.

Look at the Bigger Picture

Optometrists shouldn’t miss opportunities in corporate optometry because of what they hear. Think bigger. Many corporate opticals have a diverse portfolio and have different brands, unique products, services and insurance plans to attract and retain patients. A sublease owner can be comfortable that in competitive markets that these factors with help keep their sublease successful as well.

In conclusion, corporate optometry can provide great benefits to an optometrist that would like to go down the path of a practice owner but not have all the risks that a private practice does.

Podcast

Dr. Ryan LeBlanc Discusses the Misconceptions of a Corporate Optometry Sublease

Corporate Optometry Nation interviews Dr Ryan LeBlanc. Dr LeBlanc has four subleases with National Vision Walmart in North Carolina. Listen in to to learn about the subleases in corporate optometry and debunk those myths.