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Thread: Mobile Optician

  1. #1
    Bad address email on file DiLa's Avatar
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    Mobile Optician

    I am a Mobile Optician in Louisiana. I would like to talk to other opticians in the US who do the same. I am wondering if there are any who post to this board.

    Are there some of you who work out of your home or car?

  2. #2
    Sawptician PAkev's Avatar
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    DiLa,

    Welcome to the board! You will find lots of useful info here to use in your daily practices as an optician and business owner.

    As far as the "Mobile Optician" thing:

    I close my shop every Thursday and go "on the road" to make house calls and service health care facilities. I do the house calls as a service end to our retail shop but the mobile optical services to health care facilities is a seperate entity.

    I also bring things "on the road" and demo sunwear at fishing tournaments several weekends throughtout the summer. This usually includes a few sheckles as a sponsor it is by far the best form of advertising I have done since it brings participants, their friends, and their family into the shop for their ophthalmic sunwear and eyewear.
    Kevin

  3. #3
    Bad address email on file DiLa's Avatar
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    Mobile Optician

    Thanks, Kevin. I started my business last April. I cater to business people, and the clientel that I have been building for 15 years. I work almost everyday...if I want to. I am finding this to be very lucrative. I started with about 150 frames retailing from $100.00 to 250.00. I sell mostly high end. I love working by appointment only. My customers have appreciated having me come to them. I save them time and stress which is valuable to them.
    I would like to see more opticians do this. The more it becomes known, the better it will be for my business. If anyone has interest in this, I would be glad to help. Go to your search engine and type in mobile opticians. There are several people doing this....successfully. ( I don't have a website up yet). I haven't had to advertise either. I am finally free of the Doctors offfice and I am loving every minute of it!

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    Sawptician PAkev's Avatar
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    DiLa,


    Glad to see things are working out for you,
    Also glad to see you are selling a professional service rather than a discounted commodity. If I were to do things over again I would probably take the same route. Ie. I have dispensed lots of eyewear just because folks were too lazy to come in for dispensing or didn't want to pay a taxi to come back to our office only to find out that they wrote me an wothtless check. I have found folks respecting the profession and maintaining a professional relationship are loyal to their ECP rather than bouncing around to a different place with each RX.

    I know of a few other folks doing mobile optical services and even know of a guy in the Ohio area that has been attempting to franchise his program to the tune of about 15K. I've been doing mobile services since 1992 and with experience as my best mentor, I have learned what works and what doesn't work. It is definately not easy work but affords a nice change of scenery with each day.

    Kevin

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    kevin , question

    hey kevin, on the health care institutions do you contract with them for a fee, or just go off eyewear sales?

  6. #6
    Sawptician PAkev's Avatar
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    Pre HIPPA I was not contracted. Since I need access to (the chart) medical and billing information I am considered a business associate and therefore per HIPPA have a contract for each of my 27 health care facilities.

    Although there are no watchdogs on the retail side of the optical business here in PA, things change drastically once you begin servicing health care facilities.

    Kevin

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    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    What is mobile .............................

    Quote Originally Posted by DiLa

    I am a Mobile Optician in Louisiana.
    Could you please explain what a mobile optician is in your definition?

    Is it one that is fully mobile = shop and lab

    or

    hop in your car and see some customers that want to be seen at home or office?

  8. #8
    Bad address email on file DiLa's Avatar
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    mobile optician

    Chris.....
    I was a dispensing optician for 15 years. I have never worked in a lab. So I am essentially doing the same thing I have done for years. Fit frames, take orders, and take them to the lab. Sometimes I wait for them to be made and take them back to the customer..same day. I have a case on wheels that holds about 200 frames...like frame reps have. In the back of my truck, I have everything I had in the dispensary. I have an Opthalmologist who gives me referrals, but mostly I work from old clients and it grows from there..... just word of mouth. People love PERSONAL service. It is "pampering" to a baby boomer. I know, because I am one. I thought to begin with my customer base would be women.......I was wrong. Men love it too. Especially, doctors, lawyers, and business owners.
    This is perfect for me because I don't like sitting at home, but I don't want to commit to a full time job at this time in my life. I can get out of it whatever I put into it.

  9. #9
    Sawptician PAkev's Avatar
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    Chris,

    We are considering the term "Mobile" as in a sense of removed from the traditional retail setting. This might be a patients home, workplace, health care facility, ..... etc. etc.

    However, I know of a few setups that do indeed include a small lab in the back of a RV or truck. The folks I have talked to with these have indicated they find the size of the vehicle needed to facilitate the "mobile" lab feature do compromise their ability to go many places.

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    I am curious, what lines did you decide to take on? do you feel that 200 frames is diverse enough to serve most people... I just recently found out about the iPoint Kiosk that allows patients to try on all the frames in the frames catalog virtually... hope this helps with diversity if needed 18664933511

  11. #11
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Prior to my retirement I spent 60 hours a week doing on site safety Rx work in New England. Our vision vans were Ford E450's heavy duty with dual rear wheels. As far as edging goes, forget it. You have to level the van and the edger which in many locations is impossible. And then, dispite the heavy duty suspension you still do not have a stable enough platform should someone come aboard while you are edging a lens. Also consider schlepping around a construstion site or the Massachusetts pot holes with dye tanks. I guess you could solve these problems but the solution would be more trouble than it's worth and, at best, the resulting product quality would possibly be compromised.

    Dick
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MVV_0004.jpg  

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    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    200............500...........1000 Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by slaboff

    I am curious, what lines did you decide to take on? do you feel that 200 frames is diverse enough to serve most people...
    Before the 1960's opticians in Europe and I guess everywhere else would not display the whole stock on a frame bar. You would display them in the shop windows but not show them dispayed on the wall inside the shop.

    Frame manufacturers organized and paid for sales psichology courses how to guide the customer to the right frame, considering financial status, profession, looks, shape of face and so forth. Then you would pull out THE PERFECT frame for them if you were good. And you used the right phrases to make them believe your choice. If they wanted to see more choice you showed less favorasble models and they usually went for the first frame.

    Today's frame displays are psichologically confusing to people. To many shapes, models. price ranges ect. The more they see, the longer it takes them to make the wrong decision.

  13. #13
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    At our office we stock over 1200 frames and occasionally I have trouble finding that perfect frame for a patient... and its not because i do not know what i am doing, its because the patient has very specific needs or desires in the type color size or all the above... I was pointing out that having 200 frames might be somewhat restrictive in patient options and offering an alternative...

  14. #14
    Sawptician PAkev's Avatar
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    When frame vendors come into my shop to show new frame styles they don't bring in every style in every color, and every size.

    Asking a few questions of what the patient has in mind helps to narrow the choices quite a bit.

  15. #15
    Pomposity! Spexvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slaboff
    At our office we stock over 1200 frames and occasionally I have trouble finding that perfect frame for a patient... and its not because i do not know what i am doing, its because the patient has very specific needs or desires in the type color size or all the above... I was pointing out that having 200 frames might be somewhat restrictive in patient options and offering an alternative...
    We have to balance "will I lose a sale if I don't have a representation in every category or niche" VS "God I have a lot frames underneath that I'm not showing."

    I know what I have underneath and make a sale from those frames about twice a week. When a man wants a 58 eye tortoise/gold metal frame with a unifit bridge, I have it - but it's not out there for all to see, believe me.
    ...Just ask me...

  16. #16
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spexvet
    We have to balance "will I lose a sale if I don't have a representation in every category or niche" VS "God I have a lot frames underneath that I'm not showing."

    I know what I have underneath and make a sale from those frames about twice a week. When a man wants a 58 eye tortoise/gold metal frame with a unifit bridge, I have it - but it's not out there for all to see, believe me.
    That's a cool idea. Is it disco product, though?

  17. #17
    Bad address email on file DiLa's Avatar
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    How Many Frames Are Enough?

    Chris, you answered the question for me. I don't let the customer see everything. If I am selling to a man, I may pull out only one or two trays.
    We confuse people by showing them too much. When I was in the Optical shop, I always tried to get my customers away from the boards. If they wanted to look at the boards, I would tell them to pull what they like and come get me when they finish. Why should we waste our time while they are looking at something they know nothing about. Besides, a good optician...in my opinion...would not start by showing frames. We must first interpret the prescription and sell the necessary lens and ad on's. That is how I got them to sit down.
    I use that same technique today. I am the one in control. That way I can control the sale.
    So far as diversity goes, I mostly sell to the same type of people. The people who want cheap glasses....or just want something to see out of, don't call me.
    Most of my customers call me because they want glasses made right, fitted right, and looking good!

  18. #18
    OptiBoard Apprentice mobileoptic's Avatar
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    Oregon Mobile Optician

    Quote Originally Posted by DiLa
    I am a Mobile Optician in Louisiana. I would like to talk to other opticians in the US who do the same. I am wondering if there are any who post to this board.

    Are there some of you who work out of your home or car?
    I am also a mobile Optician in Oregon for the past 13 years. I got my start that way and worked out of my home for 2 years before evolving and opening a retail location. Having a retail location was not my original goal but I did want to seperate my work and home spaces...(became a workaholic). I also go a step further and have an independant OD that does mobile examinations. They are very comprehensive as I have invested in portable ophthalmic equipment. We use a Retinamax AR, and even take out a phoropter with a specially designed portable phoropter stand (of my design, and available for sale), tonopen for IOP, battery powered hand held SL, BIO, ect.... It could not be more comprehensive if it where done in our store. I have heard of other OD's doing mobile eye exams but with minimal equipment which I believe compromises the quality of the service. I have never persued the high end sales. I work mainly with working class, disabilities and seniors. Most are on state assistance so the payment is not as high but the volume is there. I may consider tackling the upscale sorts in the future. I have made a nice living with mobile service and wish you all the luck.
    :cheers:

  19. #19
    Bad address email on file DiLa's Avatar
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    mobile optician

    Thanks for the encouragement. This is why I posted here. I feel that there may be others reading this who are ready to make a change in their job scenery. The more "normal" this becomes to the general public, the greater the demand for our services. Some people are still afraid of it because they don't know what to expect once I get in their homes. I can't blame them for that.
    This could be no different than having someone come in your house and measure for carpet. They give you an estimate and you don't have to feel obligated to buy. However, that is a plus for selling upscale. They are not price comparing. They just want a certain product, our expertise, and excellent service.

    It is great what you are doing also. I am sure you serve many people who it would be a hardship to get to the Dr.'s office. 13 years proves your success.

    Stay on the go! It is great out there!:cheers:

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    Reviving the Mobile Optician Post

    I don't have a clue how I landed on this old post but I was encouraged by reading it. I too, am a mobile optician. Started my biz almost 3 years ago and I am loving every second of it. I am as busy as I want to be and when I need a day off, I have no one to ask. I just don't schedule on that day. I cater more to the population who most need this kind of service, the elderly and everyone in between. It's been hard at times getting people to trust you but once in, they love the convenience of it. About the frame selection, I asked questions before hand and not once have I lost a sale for lack of frames. After 25 years of doing this, it's not really hard to pick frames for someone. To DiLa and mobileoptic, are you still doing it? it's been about 6 years since you posted..just wondering...

  21. #21
    OptiBoard Apprentice mobileoptic's Avatar
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    after all these years

    To: roset,
    To answer your question "no". I have moved on with my life after being an optician for 20 years. I left the industry in 2008 when I sold both retail locations (including mobile services) to another optician. I still continued the mobile services to the end. Took an early retirement due to burn out and moved to the Philippines for the low cost of living, nice climate and cheap beer...hehe. I still am an optician here on a part time basis as a volunteer for EyeCare WeCare Foundation, Inc.....I am a part time medical missionary....so I guess the answer to your question is actually "yes", I am still a mobile optician....after all these years....

    wish you the best, hope it is as good to you as it was to me.

    derekjb2001

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    I guess once an optician, forever optician, uh? I know exactly what you mean about the burnout, thus the reason I now work for myself. You never know, maybe one day I will move to the Phillipines too :). As far as volunteering, I know exactly what you mean. I do tons of volunteer work in my community and in about 2 weeks, meeting with the head of the Lions Club to see how can we help "our own" in better ways. The foundation you are with, are they local to Phillipines or are they world wide?
    Thanks for your well wishes. I do hope so too :)

    Quote Originally Posted by mobileoptic View Post
    To: roset,
    To answer your question "no". I have moved on with my life after being an optician for 20 years. I left the industry in 2008 when I sold both retail locations (including mobile services) to another optician. I still continued the mobile services to the end. Took an early retirement due to burn out and moved to the Philippines for the low cost of living, nice climate and cheap beer...hehe. I still am an optician here on a part time basis as a volunteer for EyeCare WeCare Foundation, Inc.....I am a part time medical missionary....so I guess the answer to your question is actually "yes", I am still a mobile optician....after all these years....

    wish you the best, hope it is as good to you as it was to me.

    derekjb2001

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    Wow, I truly have to learn from you.

  24. #24
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    from where i can buy this case on wheel?

    I want to buy frame holder ( or a case on wheel that holds 50 or more frames) which can fit in to my nissan sentra car and . I am considering to start bussiness as mobile optician. Will you u please suggest me from where I can buy it?

    QUOTE=DiLa;89918]Chris.....
    I was a dispensing optician for 15 years. I have never worked in a lab. So I am essentially doing the same thing I have done for years. Fit frames, take orders, and take them to the lab. Sometimes I wait for them to be made and take them back to the customer..same day. I have a case on wheels that holds about 200 frames...like frame reps have. In the back of my truck, I have everything I had in the dispensary. I have an Opthalmologist who gives me referrals, but mostly I work from old clients and it grows from there..... just word of mouth. People love PERSONAL service. It is "pampering" to a baby boomer. I know, because I am one. I thought to begin with my customer base would be women.......I was wrong. Men love it too. Especially, doctors, lawyers, and business owners.
    This is perfect for me because I don't like sitting at home, but I don't want to commit to a full time job at this time in my life. I can get out of it whatever I put into it.[/QUOTE]
    I
    want to buy frame holder which can fit in to my nissan sentra car. I am considering to start bussiness as mobile optician.ll u please suggest me from where i can buy it?
    Last edited by Torontooptician; 01-09-2012 at 09:28 PM.

  25. #25
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Java99's Avatar
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    framedisplays.com sells them, but they're not cheap. Ebay?

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