Should Your Aesthetic Clinic Charge for Patient Consultations?

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It can be tough to decide whether to charge for patient consultation fees in the competitive aesthetic services industry. Covering your time and costs while managing your patients’ cost expectations can be a very difficult balance, particularly when you’re just starting out. Ultimately, the answer will be different for every clinic, but here, we offer some ideas of the pros and cons of patient consultation fees to consider for your aesthetic practice.

Charging Consultation Fees Is Good Practice

The practice of charging for consultation fees is most common in clinics that offer cosmetic surgery in addition to non-surgical treatments. This is because surgical treatments may meet resistance among potential patients who are interested in these procedures, but are perhaps still wavering on the commitment.

Depending on your target market and service offerings, you may want to charge at least a nominal fee for aesthetic consults. If you’re seeking a more discerning clientele, charging a consultation fee is necessary to increase the perceived value of your services. This will also help you to weed out any patients who might be no-shows, lowest-price shoppers, or not fully motivated buyers.

In fact, some practices have found that charging a consultation fee increases their conversion rates of prospective patients. At the very least, it makes good business sense to at least cover your overhead for 30 to 60 minutes of valuable staff or provider time.

How to Avoid Deterring First-Time Patients with Client Consultation Fees

The drawback of charging for an initial consult is that you may deter some prospective patients, including those who would be persuaded to move forward by the expertise and care on display in your office or during their initial call. One way to counter these potential reactions may be to offer to apply the consult fee toward their first treatment. This way new patients who are serious about seeking treatments will likely be more persuaded to book with your clinic, knowing that they won’t be losing their initial deposit.

Alternatively, you could consider more creative ways to reward your loyal patients by offering cards for free consults so they can refer their friends. Since those referrals are likely to already have a positive impression of your practice, there is a higher likelihood those consults will turn into treatments. To further entice them to offer your name to curious friends seeking first-time treatments, you could offer loyal patients a small discount on their next treatment if they bring in a new patient using your free consultation cards. However, if you’re seeking a more discerning clientele, avoid offering promotional discounts to ensure you’re consistently marketing your clinic as established in your marketing plan.

Interested in learning more tips for drawing in prospects and converting them into paying patients? Download our invaluable eBook, “Mastering the Art of the Aesthetic Consult” today for more expert advice on online marketing, consultations, and conversions.

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