Similar to opting out, many doctors are falsely convinced that they can’t edge in-house due to the popular narrative that it requires a lot of space, technical knowledge, or taking on a disproportionate amount of risk. This keeps independent ECPs from taking advantage of fairly simple, straightforward strategies that give them a much stronger foothold in this industry.
Pivotal Group is the only group we’re aware of with strong lab affiliations that strongly recommend edging in-house. Why? Because even though it reduces our company’s profits dramatically, it’s hands-down what’s best for independent optometrists.
Edging in-house doesn’t require much space at all. Our co-founding optician used to edge in a room that had a standing space of 2ft. x 2ft., really only giving him the ability to pivot from one counter to another.
Edging in-house doesn’t require any specialized plumbing, nor any technical knowledge. Edgers are so highly automated these days that a 10-year-old could likely operate the machines. The jobs that are most profitable on an edger, such as easy single-vision lenses, are by far the easiest to edge, requiring only the push of a few buttons.
Edging in-house is one of the most effective ways for independent optometrists to capture patients and keep business from going to direct-to-consumer competitors because it gives optometrists the huge advantage of being able to offer many customers same-day glasses.
Finally, if you’re worried about the cost of an edger, the math for deciding whether or not that hesitation is justified is pretty straightforward:
Most practices will save $40 – $50 per pair on approximately 50% of their lens sales, so take:
- Your number of glasses sold x .50.
- This will give you the approximate number of single vision opportunities you see over any time period you want to look at (per day, per month, etc.).
- For example, if you sell 10 pairs of glasses, you’re going to edge 3-5 of those in-house.
- You’ll make between $40 – $50 in extra profit per pair of lenses edging in-house, amounting to an additional $120 – $300 profit per day.
- Even if you only edge 1-2 jobs in-house per day, your average increased profit per month would be $40 – $100 per day x 20.8 (the average number of workdays in a month) = $832 – $1,040.
- That’s almost $10,000 – $12,500 in extra profit each year.
- This easily covers the monthly payment of affordable and high-quality edgers, even within fairly low-volume practices.
Long story short: Could you cover a car payment with the money saved? If so, financing a new, high-quality edger for $20K – $30K that will last your practice the next 5-7 years is as close to a financial “gimme” as you’ll see in this industry.