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Every business is composed of various cost centers and revenue generators. While the proper term for revenue generators is called profit centers in finance or accounting, we’ll stick with something simpler and more accessible for the sake of this post.

Your veterinary technicians, kennels, or other “service departments” within your organization? They’re important pillars of your practice and contribute to your profits. They are revenue generators. However, there’s something much smaller, cheaper, and likely unexpected at your practice that’s equally as important to your revenue.

What is it? Postcards. Well, postcards and a few other things. Let’s find out why.

Division of Labors

As we touched on earlier, each department within a business can be categorized by its ability to generate profit. Sales and marketing are considered revenue generators at companies like PetDesk because these departments generate their own profit. Without them, the rest of the company would sink. Simple enough.

Human Resources or customer service are considered cost centers because these departments have no direct impact on profits and don’t generate their own profit. “Overhead” is a term that’s tossed around when referring to these.

Of course, this is all viewed through the categorical lens of an accountant. Every department in a business is as important as the next. You can’t remove the helm from a ship and expect smooth sailing. The same goes for your veterinary practice.

The Grand Scheme of Things

Now, let’s talk about postcards and reminders.

For most veterinary professionals out there, these are considered necessary costs — overhead, even. And if you were a walk-in only clinic, you’d be mostly right (even walk-in clinics send health service reminders). But for everyone else, overhead isn’t the correct term. It is a fatal mistake for reminders to be treated as such. Without the postcard, your clients wouldn’t know when to come back into the clinic. Without clients, you wouldn’t be in business. Overhead departments don’t have the ability to completely stop your ability to make a profit. That’s what a revenue generator does.

Since postcards and reminders, in general, are some of the only ways you get clients back in the clinic, then it’s time to reassess our views on them. The $0.75 postcard might bring in a $125 appointment. In theory, each additional postcard you send out per month brings in one additional client. More clients equal more money. This is why client reach is so important, but we’ll save that for another time.

So why are we still treating reminder systems as cost centers? Are these really “overhead”, necessary evils even, when they’re the initiator of appointments? It’s better to categorize reminders as revenue generators, capable of filling your practice with clients or turning out the lights.