Frames are not expensive to manufacture, even when following strict quality guidelines, so why do independent ODs pay high-two-figure to low-three-figure prices for practically every frame they acquire?
Leading-quality generated lenses are no longer “locked down” by proprietary designs like they once were, so why are ODs still regularly paying $150 – $200 for high-quality progressives with AR when there are identical options for $50 – $60?
Brands have a place in every independent optical. They’re a valuable marketing tool that you can leverage to create opportunities with prospective customers, but building a business around other companies’ brands, often with no difference in quality to the final consumer, is sacrificing your business’s health for theirs.
Doctors have the choice of doing business with frame vendors who don’t have massive marketing budgets, inefficient supply chains, or greedy profit margins that devour all of the profits before arriving at your door. There are frames that allow for 5 – 8x markup instead of the industry average of 2 – 2.5x, with ZERO difference in quality or performance to the final consumer.
The same is true for generated lenses. There was a time when high-quality lens designs were patented by the highest-cost brands, but that’s no longer the case. Most doctors have the option of working with independent, modern laboratories that will save them 30%, 50%, or 70%+ on their monthly lab bill, again with ZERO difference in quality or performance to the final consumer.
Even with these equal-quality options, independent optometrists continue to build their businesses around brand-heavy products that feed the corporations killing our industry.
Reconsider whether your business is overly-dependent on brands. Are you using them as the backbone of your business, therefore sacrificing the lion’s share of profits, or as a supplementary tool that attracts patients to your optical so that you can create opportunities for your staff to sell?
NOTE: We’ll dig a bit deeper into selling house brands in the section titled “Improve Your Optical Sales Strategies” later.