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Start up business reception. Queries

Discussion in 'Practice Management' started by Footpath, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Footpath

    Footpath Member

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    Hello. I was wondering and interested please, to know how podiatrists whom are now fully established initially did patient booking, taking payments before they became an established practise. Clearly there is the option of moving into a building with reception staff but if this is not available.
    Did you allow longer appointment times for payment and bookings?
    Pay someone to carry a phone and take bookings for you while your treating? I don't like the idea of have patients sessions interrupting answering the phone, nor do I think that in the first couple of months I could afford to pay a wage to a possible receptionist.
    I have chatted to a couple of local pods one of whom used an answer machine service, while treating and check it regularly ?

    You thoughts, opinions most welcome please.
  2. Mark_M

    Mark_M Active Member

    Hi Footpath,
    I wouldn't be too worried about it at the start. It would be nice to think your phone will be ringing all day but the reality is probably only a few calls a day for the first few months.
    There are plenty of options
    most clinic software has online bookings at no extra charge
    divert your land line phone to a mobile (leave it with your partner/friend)
    answering machine as you suggested
    hire a virtual receptionist

    Hope that helps, good luck
  3. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    i have 3 reception staff they book appts on the telephone but always interupt me if clinics are full as i then book the patients in as extras on the day I KNOW which patients are easy and thus can judge the best places to double book. Never turn a patient away who wants an appt its lost income that person might come 6 times per year. remember people want to speak to you an ansa phone will lose you clients and money. my appts are booked full for the next 10 weeks but i never turn a client away. just work longer hours if the patients will come in14 hours a day i work 14 hours a day. the patients want what they want and they want it now.
  4. Mike Plank

    Mike Plank Active Member

  5. Footpath

    Footpath Member

    I appreciate your input, though I was more thinking along the lines of the first six months of practice, I'm guessing you having 3 reception staff means that you were instantly super busy as soon as you opened practice. I'd love to dream that this is or will be the case with me but somewhere along the line I need to be realistic, also double booking patients would be a last resort for as one of the many reasons for setup on my own is not to be another 'shearing shed' getting as many patients in and out as possible and as fast as I can, I'm more about quality of care, I'd like to cover my costs make a decent profit in years to come but not interested at all in being the biggest practise with the most employees in town. I have worked at one of these places for the last ten years, my employer has had his hand operated on twice, depression moments and has troubles keeping employees two have left since I was there. Im not out there to get myself four holiday homes, the cars the boats and overseas trips. Thanks for your help though I know your just trying to tell me not to turn away patients.
  6. MJJ

    MJJ Active Member

    There are a lot of companies that you could outsource your reception services to. If you used a cloud based scheduling system they could book appointments for you and they would show up immediately on your end. Online booking is also a nice option but you still need somebody answering your phone.
  7. terigreen

    terigreen Active Member

    What we did when we first opened to have our phones forwarded to an answering service. We gave them our schedule and they made appointments for us. As we became busy then we hired a receptionist. Also what made us seem busy was to book patients all in a block so they see people coming in and out. Hope this helps.
    Teri Green
    Atlas Biomechanics
  8. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    I think Fishpod has a point. Patients don't want to speak to a machine, they want a person. Go mobile phone. leave it with your husband/wife/partner/mum when you are busy.
  9. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    Hi Footpath i have lots of receptionists because i work out of a 10 partner gp practice i employ no other foot care staff. i was fully booked from day one seeing 25 patients per day i work at least 10 hours per day always have i love it patients want a personal service immediate call backs and excellent service those who can deliver this get their just rewards. don't aim to break even aim to make a good hourly rate then choose how many hours you feel is right for you. I seem like a work o holic but never work at weekends and take between 7 to 10 weeks annuall leave per year so work hard 5 days a week to maintain my lifestyle I will go part time in the next few years and will be looking for a young pod to take up the reigns. all the best fishpond.I do not advertise no website no cards i am old fashioned and word of mouth is king i get 10 referrals per week 2 are nail ops i hate spending on things like marketing even 20 years ago yellow pages was a joke.the one thing i do is free talks to local groups like 50 /50 groups pensioner groups its brilliant they que for appts.
  10. fishpod

    fishpod Well-Known Member

    Yes mike i am suggesting the odd double booking and working 14 hours a day how do you think successful businesses get built not great if you are 50 isn but if you are young it won't kill you just make you stronger.how many hours do you think the greedy bankers put in it would blow your mind I've worked in that industry 11 pm finishes. ps still looking good feeling good my old man worked peace time on a factory heavy work he's 80 and as fit as a butchers dog all my other relatives were miners 12 hour shifts shovelling coal doing feet is easy by comparison they breed em strong in the north.
  11. Heather J Bassett

    Heather J Bassett Well-Known Member

    Hi, in my first days, I had the phone diverted to family friends. i did take the money and make the bookings, this meant seeing clients 1/2 hourly.

    With the wisdom and gifts of learning I would recommend not being the one to take the $'s.

    If you see 2 clients an hour having to do the admin, it is not an effective use of your skills.

    Seeing 3 an hour instead would well cover the wages of admin and allow you more time to work with clients or work on your business and that is where the real value lies.

    I highly recommend seeking a mentor who can guide you and or learning some biz skills early. Many of us do not do that.

    Working the long days takes can have massive toll on our health, energy and relationships with loved ones. I know this story very well.

    Good luck may you have much success and enjoy the journey.


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