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Thread: Purchasing an existing optical with no OD

  1. #1
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    Purchasing an existing optical with no OD

    Greetings all, I am trying some due diligence before diving in with bare feet.
    There is a tiny office/optical available in a terrific, high density area. However, there is no OD or MD in the same building or same street. The overhead is ridiculously low and the clientele are high end. What do you think this business would look like in a year?
    In another line of thought: I have been paying attention to the evolution of telemedicine and see that remote refraction are available in Florida. 2 part question. Where do you all see remote refraction heading? Does it take off? And secondly, how do you think being a board certified optician that fits soft contacts would add to a business? Especially in a highly transient, tourist area.
    Thanks in advance for the thoughts!

  2. #2
    Ophthalmic Optician
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    1. There is ALWAYS a reason the rent is low.
    2. No doctor, no business.
    Ophthalmic Optician, Society to Advance Opticianry

  3. #3
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johns View Post
    1. There is ALWAYS a reason the rent is low.
    2. No doctor, no business.
    Agree with #1

    This type of thinking has gone on long enough. Time to see opticians as not needing a doc.

    B

  4. #4
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    I agree with Johns on #1 and I agree with Barry.....As long as you have a perfect storm:

    * A loyal client base that will follow you there from where you're at right now.
    * A high foot traffic count that walks by your shop with a very visible windowed store front.
    * A referring OMD source.

    There are still non-Dispensing MDs out there ( I've got three, non affiliated to each other within a block of me). They usually hate fitting CLs and happily refer that out ( but more than likely already have someone they refer to). If you have the chops, you may be able to convince them that you're an ace at fitting CLs and dealing with low vision/difficult Rx's. Good luck!

  5. #5
    O.D. Almost Retired
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    The OMDs in my area who have optical mostly have pathetic frame selections. I get more patients from those guys than from O.D.s who have almost as pathetic opticals. If you have a very good frame selection in a highly visible location, you almost can't miss.

  6. #6
    Ophthalmic Optician
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    Eventually, there's got to be a doctor in the equation...either down the street, or down the hallway. I prefer to double down and utilize both.
    Ophthalmic Optician, Society to Advance Opticianry

  7. #7
    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    If it's a highly transient, tourist area, you'd better be able to provide finished lenses and contacts same-day.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  8. #8
    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    And be prepared for fully half of the people who walk in your door to ask for an emergency set of trial contacts.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  9. #9
    Master OptiBoarder CCGREEN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngeHamm View Post
    And be prepared for fully half of the people who walk in your door to ask for an emergency set of trial contacts.
    There is so little money made with contacts it does not justify the expense of carrying a inventory of them. I would rather let the person experience the inconvenience of not having a pair of glasses or even a Rx with them then deal with contacts. Most people if you advise them they need a back up pair of glasses they look at you like they you have just offended them soooo much.

    I know it sounds harsh but I worked 9 years with a big box store here on Panama City Beach spring break was awful. I lost count of how many times and how many different types of propositions I was offered for a trial contact or a box of contacts. Friday nights and Saturday was the worst. And they would do this with a straight face wearing a see though cover up and thong bathing suit underneath. I had to tell them that they did not bring enough money with them for me to lose my job on account of their lack of planning..............felt bad yes I did but when does it stop....or does it?

  10. #10
    Master OptiBoarder AngeHamm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCGREEN View Post
    There is so little money made with contacts it does not justify the expense of carrying a inventory of them. I would rather let the person experience the inconvenience of not having a pair of glasses or even a Rx with them then deal with contacts. Most people if you advise them they need a back up pair of glasses they look at you like they you have just offended them soooo much.

    I know it sounds harsh but I worked 9 years with a big box store here on Panama City Beach spring break was awful. I lost count of how many times and how many different types of propositions I was offered for a trial contact or a box of contacts. Friday nights and Saturday was the worst. And they would do this with a straight face wearing a see though cover up and thong bathing suit underneath. I had to tell them that they did not bring enough money with them for me to lose my job on account of their lack of planning..............felt bad yes I did but when does it stop....or does it?
    Oh, I agree 100%. I wasn't suggesting providing this service, just pointing out that it's going to be requested. A lot.
    I'm Andrew Hamm and I approve this message.

  11. #11
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCGREEN View Post
    There is so little money made with contacts it does not justify the expense of carrying a inventory of them. I would rather let the person experience the inconvenience of not having a pair of glasses or even a Rx with them then deal with contacts. Most people if you advise them they need a back up pair of glasses they look at you like they you have just offended them soooo much.

    I know it sounds harsh but I worked 9 years with a big box store here on Panama City Beach spring break was awful. I lost count of how many times and how many different types of propositions I was offered for a trial contact or a box of contacts. Friday nights and Saturday was the worst. And they would do this with a straight face wearing a see though cover up and thong bathing suit underneath. I had to tell them that they did not bring enough money with them for me to lose my job on account of their lack of planning..............felt bad yes I did but when does it stop....or does it?
    Here's how that works. No trial/diagnostic lenses without the purchase of an order and payment up front. Most of us can get C/L within a working day or two.

    It is unfortunate that you were forced to work under such horrific conditions. Eyes straight ahead and soldier through it or provide terry cloth robes.
    I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. Mark Twain

  12. #12
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    Yes, living in south florida, we are constantly getting the contact lens emergency. What we also run into is the international tourist who has an invalid contact lens rx for american standards. I think performing a fitting and providing a legit contact lens rx would be desirable to the canadians and south americans.

  13. #13
    OptiBoardaholic CNG's Avatar
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    Where does it say that a Canadian rx is less valid than an out of state one?

  14. #14
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    I see the remote refraction becoming bigger and bigger each year. These doctors don't want that because they will lose 60%-80% of there business regarding refraction. This will filter over into the optical regarding loss in revenue. Using the remote refraction model you can get the refraction but get final approval from the Dr. All you need to do is find a Dr. through your network that will sign off on these prescriptions. This can be tricky but attainable. You then have the opportunity to garner the patient optical needs all for yourself. As a side note, currently 60% of practice profits come from the optical. This number will grow year over year because insurance companies are reimbursing less and less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CNG View Post
    Where does it say that a Canadian rx is less valid than an out of state one?
    Canadians are used to being able to pick out whichever contacts they want. My understanding is that in Canada only an eyeglass rx us required.

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    I challenge the notion that you can't make money doing contacts. If you have decent fitting and refitting fees, you can do ok. On the "sale" of the lenses themselves, there's really no significant labor involved in dispensing soft lenses (they are just handed to the patient) so as long as there's a markup that is in line with others in your area and 800 contacts, it's not bad. Of course more complex fittings require higher fees to make it worth while.

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    I am in negotiations on the purchase of remote refraction equipment for our dispensary. My wife, an optician of 12 years, and I are opening a new business and decided to have the remote refraction as an option for our customer/patients, along with a doctor on site. Because we will have to develop our patient base over time, we do not expect to be able to keep a doctor in store full time, so the remote refraction services will be used in the days the doctor isn't available. For the more complicated exams, we will schedule appointments with our doctor who will be available every Monday and every other Saturday.

  18. #18
    Ophthalmic Optician
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouSpectacle View Post
    For the more complicated exams, we will schedule appointments with our doctor who will be available every Monday and every other Saturday.
    Just curious...what is your definition of a "complicated exam", and how do you determine whether or not it fits that category when you are on the phone with the patient?
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  19. #19
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    Reminds me of Cleo Laine's "Send in the Clowns?"

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    Comprehensive is the term I should have used, Johns. My apologies.

    The remote refractive exam will be just that, a refractive only exam which would be primarily walk in customers/patients. Those patients will fill out a medical questionnaire and based on their answers we will move forward with the refractive exam or schedule an appointment with our doctor. The intent is to schedule the call-in patients for when the doctor is at the office. As our patient base grows, and we are able to schedule additional appointment days, the doctor will work additional days to fill that demand. Our doctor is not interested in sitting at our retail store waiting for a patient to come in off the street. The remote refractive exam satisfies that need.

    Your earlier comment in this thread: No doctor, no business. The inverse is true as well: No business, no doctor. Remote refraction is my solution to that circular problem. Eventually there has got to be a doctor in the equation, you said. I agree and I would love to have a doctor full time the opening day of our store, which will be in three weeks or so, but I do not.



    I had to look up the Cleo Laine reference, Dick. She was sending in the clowns a little before my time. Whether you agree with tele-medicine or not, it is coming.

  21. #21
    Master OptiBoarder tx11's Avatar
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    If you are not tethered to some sort of refractionist in some way ...the only way to make it is to have an alternate stream of income coming out of the same building or have a specific draw to a specific type of consumer. (see restaurants, hairstylists) to help cover overhead and living expenses.

  22. #22
    Master OptiBoarder optical24/7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouSpectacle View Post
    Comprehensive is the term I should have used, Johns. My apologies.

    The remote refractive exam will be just that, a refractive only exam which would be primarily walk in customers/patients. Those patients will fill out a medical questionnaire and based on their answers we will move forward with the refractive exam or schedule an appointment with our doctor. The intent is to schedule the call-in patients for when the doctor is at the office. As our patient base grows, and we are able to schedule additional appointment days, the doctor will work additional days to fill that demand. Our doctor is not interested in sitting at our retail store waiting for a patient to come in off the street. The remote refractive exam satisfies that need.

    Your earlier comment in this thread: No doctor, no business. The inverse is true as well: No business, no doctor. Remote refraction is my solution to that circular problem. Eventually there has got to be a doctor in the equation, you said. I agree and I would love to have a doctor full time the opening day of our store, which will be in three weeks or so, but I do not.



    .
    I would consult a lawyer prior to offering "refraction only" exams. Many states have a minimum of care standard which means more than a refraction is required. Below is from the Louisiana Optometric Act...




    C. Minimum standards for an optometric examination
    are necessary in order to insure an adequate examination of a
    patient for whom an optometrist signs or causes to be signed,
    a prescription.


    D. In the initial examination of the patient the
    optometrist shall make and record the following findings of
    the condition of the patient:
    1. complete case history (ocular, physical,
    occupational, medical and other pertinent information);
    2. chief ocular complaint;
    3. aided and/or unaided visual acuity;
    4. external examination (lids, cornea, sclera, etc.);
    5. internal ophthalmoscopic examination (media,
    fundus, etc.);
    6. neurological integrity (e.g., pupillary reflexes,
    direct, consensual);
    7. far point subjective refraction;
    8. near point subjective refraction;
    9. tests of accommodation and binocular coordination
    at far and near, test preferably made with Phoropter;
    10. tonometry.

    http://www.doa.la.gov/osr/lac/46v51/46v51.pdf

  23. #23
    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    I think telemedicine is great. In fact, as a patient, I use it myself daily. However, certainly not for any clinical component of a comprehensive eye exam.

    Now, if you are willing to separate the refraction from the comprehensive eye exam equation, go for it. You can do no physical harm by generating a bogus spectacle Rx.
    Last edited by rbaker; 02-23-2016 at 11:05 AM.

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    I am aware of Louisiana law and the minimum standards of exam requirements in Louisiana.

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    I am not sure why you feel the Rx is bogus. Can you explain that to me?

    You seem pretty passionate in your feelings about this, so I am very interested in what your thoughts are.

    The accusation of generating a "bogus" spectacle Rx in a public forum is a bit slanderous, isn't it, Dick?
    Last edited by BayouSpectacle; 02-23-2016 at 11:43 AM.

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