by Erez Lirov
In the budget of a busy practice, credit card fees can add up.
Could Shannon handle credit cards better in her physical therapy practice?
Getting the family out the door in the morning was always a challenge for Mike and Shannon, but they felt like they had a great system. Each child had a hook for a jacket and a cubby for shoes at the door. Homework went in the cubby, too, and lunches were packed and lined up on the counter. The kids knew they had to stand touching the car door till Mom or Dad arrived to unlock it, and then they scrambled into their seats and waited patiently to be strapped in with seat belts before taking off. It was noisy and it sometimes felt chaotic, but things always went pretty smoothly and everybody got where they were supposed to go.
Once Shannon dropped off their youngest at daycare, she headed on into the office, thinking about that system. She knew that Mike would get the older kids to school on time before he went to the restaurant. Sometimes his schedule was different so they divided things up differently, but it always felt like good teamwork, and she loved that feeling.
Things had been going more smoothly at work, too. Shannon thought back to her conversation with Mike that morning as they both got ready for work. â€œIt seems like youâ€™ve got your team back together,â€ he had said, and that was just how it felt.
With that issue off her plate, Shannon could think about some of the other matters that had been on the back burner for a while. She knew the facility needed updating, for example, but that was going to need funds, so Shannon was looking at her expenses closely to see where she could cut costs and free up some cash.
It wouldnâ€™t take much, she thought as she parked and walked into the building. There were bound to be areas where she could streamline things a little bit and achieve some savings.
She asked Theresaâ€™s opinion as soon as she got inside, and Theresa immediately had an answer. â€œCredit cards.â€
Shannon was surprised. She had been thinking the free coffee in the staff room might be an avoidable expense, or that marketing costs could be cut. â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œI think the fees are higher than they should they be,â€ Theresa said. â€œI know itâ€™s a basic cost of doing business, but maybe we could shop around and see if thereâ€™s a cheaper alternative.â€
Shannon nodded. They really hadnâ€™t compared prices; when she first set up the practice, she had basically just asked the guy who installed their telephones for a recommendation, and they hadnâ€™t revisited the question since.
â€œPlus, since we post all the payments manually, thereâ€™s a possibility for error. Weâ€™re all careful, of course, but I canâ€™t swear that we catch every time when a card is declined, for example. Sometimes the person who takes the information is not the same person who posts the payment, and some are sort of automatic.â€
â€œSort of automatic?â€ Shannon hadnâ€™t realized things were so shaky in this area.
â€œWell, we have clients who have set up an automatic bank draft or we have all their information in the system already, and some who are newâ€¦â€ Theresaâ€™s voice trailed off. â€œI guess there are a lot of variables in the way we take payments.â€
It was a lot like the way they got their family out the door in the morning, Shannon thought, but in this case every little extra bit of chaos could mean extra costs, not just extra noise.
â€œThis might be the last piece of the puzzle,â€ Shannon said. â€œOr at least the next one. It sounds like a real opportunity for improvement.â€
â€œAnd we could finally get some new paint in here?â€ Theresa joked.
Shannon smiled. â€œThe first few hundred we save goes straight into the redecorating fund,â€ she promised.