As chiropractic business owners, the holidays are not always the best times for our bottom line. While we all enjoy a little rest and a break from the usual routine, missed days, missed appointments and scheduling nightmares threaten to put a damper on the holiday season for many.

But with some proactive steps and a bit of planning it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, the holidays can turn from crunch time to increase cash time! Here’s a few simple tools and steps to help you get there:

Help Your Patients Maximize Their Insurance Benefits:  most patients don’t really think about the fact that the end of the calendar year (for most plans) means the end of the benefits they have paid for. In other words, if their insurance plan allows for 12 chiropractic visits per year and they have only used 10 to date, they are essentially throwing away the benefits they have paid for! So why not remind them with a quick letter or email stating that obvious fact? Over the years, we’ve had great success using our Unclaimed Chiropractic Benefits Letter to give a friendly reminder and gentle prod to patients to use their benefits before they expire.  You can do the same and benefit from the boost as a result. (If you don’t feel that writing is your skill and/or you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, you can purchase a copy of our letter here.)

Have Your Own Sale — it’s amazing how many offices let nutritional supplements expire or products gather dust on their shelves. Rather than throw these things away or let the dust accumulate, have a holiday sale and get your nutritional supplies, products and other items sitting on your shelves to get moving.  (Then don’t bother re-ordering them next year, if you could barely get rid of them this year).  A sale is also a great way to bring attention to your most popular products that your patients aren’t using (yet) so do it!

Big Presents & Pillows Sell More During the Holidays – sometimes it’s tough to convince patients to “splurge” on a decent pillow or new mattress or pair of orthotics.  Even though their neck or back pain may be easily and obviously aggravated by their poor pillow or old bed to you, the patient just can’t bear to pay cash for these helpful items that are generally higher priced than many of your products.  If you have someone that falls into this category, this is the time of the year to give them, their spouse or their family a helpful hint that these things would make an excellent gift opportunity.

Sell Massage Gift Certificates to Your Patients — whether you call them a gift certificate or a gift card matters less than getting them into the hands of your patients as holiday presents.  Make sure you put up some signs around the office announcing that you sell massage gift certificates.  And, even better, talk it up to your patients.  This isn’t a hard sell.  A simple question asking your patients what they are getting their loved ones and family members will do.  When they don’t have an answer or ask you why you inquired, you’ve got a great response: massage gift certificates!  The best time to start is…NOW.  Mid-November is when you will see sales start well and you can enjoy six weeks of massage cash flowing in…

Don’t have massage in your office? (Or have a massage department that is limping along and not doing a great job at being a profit center in your business? You are missing out!  Every single Chiropractic Economics salary survey over the last several years has indicated that massage adds profitable income to chiropractor’s offices! offering massage paid a full-time therapist an average wage of $18,000 per year.  In our experience, a full-time massage therapist can perform 25 sessions of 60-minute massages per week (without feeling like they work in a sweat shop). Presently, the average cash massage price around the country is approximately $70/hour.  That means, this massage therapist has an income-generating potential of $87,500 per year with an average pay of $22k per year — that’s a lot of room for profit AND patient satisfaction (I’ve yet to see a clinic that had to discontinue massage because patients just didn’t like it).

To start massage in your practice (or get it going much better than you currently are doing), check out our best-selling program – Build a $300,000 Massage Practice in Your Chiropractic Clinic. This program has helped build massage departments in chiropractic offices in every state of the US and in 8 foreign countries and counting — with or without insurance reimbursement!

Advertise Massage Gift Certificates to Your Community — why stop at just providing a convenient gift idea for your patients?  Chances are, there are plenty of folks in your town that don’t know what they are going to get their loved ones for the holidays either.  Give them a solution as well and, since they are not current patients, let it be a simple way to introduce them to your office. You can easily accomplish this by having a sandwich board sign, a banner or any other means of getting the word out that you offer massage gift certificates.  Want to take it one notch higher?  One of our clients hired a sign dancer to advertise massage gift certificates for his office last year during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas and WOW, check out his results!  (Don’t know what a sign dancer aka sign flipper is? Check out this sign flipper with 5M YouTube views!) Here’s the breakdown of what he did:

  • Sign dancer pay:  $10/hr x 20 hours total = $200
  • Cost of sign design and production (at local copy store): $48
  • Sign dancer bonus pay:  $150
  • Total number of NON-PATIENT gift certificates sold:  137
  • Total dollar amount of NON-PATIENT gift certificates: $10,686
  • Total cost (of advertising) = $398
  • Total cost if all gift certificates redeemed (after massage therapist pay) = $3425
  • Total minimum profit = $7261

Tom’s Comments on the sign dancer experiment

These are great results considering the sign dancer only advertised on four separate occasions.  The sign dancer bonus was instituted to motivate the dancer to sell more gift certificates, which worked (note: his bonus pay nearly equalled his regular wage!) In addition, one year after the experiment, a small percentage of the gift certificates were not  redeemed (even though an expiration date was given), so the doc’s profits were even higher.  Finally, the sign dancer experiment total profits were even greater as the DC estimated that approximately 1 out 10 of those gift certificate patients turned into repeat massage patients AND/OR chiropractic patients. 

Let the Massage Therapists Give the Doctor a Break!  Instead of shutting your office down during the holidays so you can take a little break and enjoy some fun, why not keep massage going or offer a limited schedule for you, and supplement it with increased hours for massage.  We’re not trying to imply your massage therapist can replace your chiropractic care.  But rather than take the income loss from shutting everything down, keep massage running or offer it as an alternative to your patients if you are not in the office.

Next Steps

To get these ideas moving, you’ve got to act quickly.  The good news is that none of them are complex, so get moving. Regardless of which of the above methods you choose to utilize to increase your sales this holiday season, your final step is to get going! Delays diminish profits. Act now to end this year on the best note possible!