The Cold Start: Frame Inventory Tips! - E6
Let's be honest my friends, when we get out of school we are good doctors, yeah we need a little more experience, but personally I felt confident and comfortable in the exam room. I did not, however; know much about running an optometric office. For example, I thought each frame line had its own individual vendor. This is obviously not the case, which I soon realized as I called vendors, and was laughed at when I asked who to call for individual lines (in case you didn't know, each vendor has reps that manage multiple frame lines). Lesson learned, so I set up meetings with some reps.
Now, this led to my next little issue. I was building my office out and did not have a place to meet all these reps. I was living at home and had to call a friend to borrow a conference room. Well, the conference room was at the office of a roofing company and I kid you not, the person helping me had recently had a BRVO with vitreous hemorrhage and was wearing an eye patch! So the reps got a call from an unknown newly graduated eye doctor, they were told to meet at a roofing office, and the newly graduated doctors “assistant” was wearing an eye patch! This is real!
That being said, let me give you a few tips when starting your new optical. 1. Do not go crazy with the number of frames you buy initially. Your most precious resource is cash and frames cost money. You should get 60-90-120 days terms, but you still have to buy the frames. Do not eat up all your cash when you do not have any cash flow. I would recommend 250-450 frames. 2. Make sure to get a lot of brand names to start. People buy based on familiarity, so the Nike pair of frames has more value to the person who has a Nike pair of shoes. The same with brands like Liz Claiborne, Kate Spade, and Ray-Ban. As you grow and develop a solid reputation, you can add a few more eclectic or generic lines to compliment your core. 3. Make sure to go with about 65-70% womens frames vs mens. Have a few kids and a few sunglass frames, but not too much to start. The reasoning is, men care more about functionality and durability. All their frames are gunmetal or black with the only nuance being a half frame or brow bar. Kids break glasses often, so parents usually go online for cheap ones and most kids over 6 are wearing smaller adult frames. Women like variety, color, style so have fun with that and cater to an audience that will appreciate all 3. The last thing is if you take VSP, get their consignment brands. This is a win all-around. You get name brands, fill your boards, and do not pay until they sell!
There you have it my friends, do not be the guy in the roofing office with a one eyed assistant, be the OD with a plan for their optical!
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