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Thread: My take on in-office edging. Do you agree?

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    My take on in-office edging. Do you agree?

    If you're going to pay a single employee to simply hit the auto button on your basic edger(no drilling, high-base, or step-bevel functions), then you might as well just have the surfacing lab cut your jobs. You'll get the same results and probably save money.

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    So very wrong

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post
    So very wrong
    whats your logic?

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    It’s not just about time and or expense.
    it’s really about convenience of the type people are willing to pay for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Santini View Post
    Itís not just about time and or expense.
    itís really about convenience of the type people are willing to pay for.
    I agree IF you hire the right person that will do good work. But if you have a guy thatís just auto everything then itís not worth it. Convenience isnít cost effective if you have a $30K machine and a $40K a year for meh work.

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    The right person. The right edger. The right consumables.
    Say your average edged/mount charge is $xx/pr to include basic metal/zyl, step, and drill.
    Your practice sells 75 pr/wk. Your expenses will be 97,500/yr for someone else to do the edging.
    Complete orders add 1-2 days to your turns, compared to
    uncuts. Plus, you can stock FSV to reduce your COGs.
    40K for a blocker and edger, assuming you have a tracer. Maybe 50K if not. Add labor @ $20/hr +/- based on your zip code. First year out of pocket would be about 100k. Depreciate the equipment over 5 years and ROI is positive in year 2.
    A great investment if you ask me.
    Last edited by lensmanmd; 09-05-2022 at 12:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lensmanmd View Post
    The right person. The right edger. The right consumables.
    Say your average edged/mount charge is $25/pr to include basic metal/zyl, step, and drill.
    Your practice sells 75 pr/wk. Your expenses will be 97,500/yr for someone else to do the edging.
    Complete orders add 1-2 days to your turns, compared to
    uncuts. Plus, you can stock FSV to reduce your COGs.
    40K for a blocker and edger, assuming you have a tracer. Maybe 50K if not. Add labor @ $20/hr +/- based on your zip code. First year out of pocket would be about 100k. Depreciate the equipment over 5 years and ROI is positive in year 2.
    A great investment if you ask me.
    wowzers, $25 is quite expensive. I think our lab charges $7-$10 for basic edging (which you could bake into your pricing)

    your estimate doesn¬ít include maintenance and utility bills which can get hefty. Also, what happens if that ¬ďright¬Ē guy quits? How many times do you want to explain step-beveling parameters to a new guy who might or might not get it? Plus you gotta pay health insurance yada yada

    again, if you can find the right guy etc. I think it’s totally worth it.

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    Average cost. Labs add for steps, drills, custom bevels. x-xx is contracted pricing. Many independents don’t have contracted pricing.
    Last edited by lensmanmd; 09-05-2022 at 12:57 PM.
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    I would have gone crazy without an edger. There were days when hiding out in the lab was the only thing that kept me from killing someone.

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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Guys, I want to know:
    1. What about PALs and other specialty type lenses such as FFSV? That's half of what I do.
    2. Aren't most practices at least 1/2 VCPs? I know you can opt out of contract labs in a few states.

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    There was a day that you needed a skilled lab person to do in office finishing, due to equipment limitations/accuracies. Today, a monkey can operate a modern blocker and edger. ( no offense to simian opticians..).

    Yes, you can provide most Rx glasses to your patients faster…A plus, but you will save substantially on COG’s on most all Rx’s, even considering spoilage, ( you screwed it up yourself), which is more rare with the newer equipment. I’ve talked to and heard, “ I don’t want to edge expensive lenses, I don’t want the risk of screwing it up and costing me more”.. If you’re going to have a finishing lab you should run dang near every lens though it. And Don’t be scared of drill/groove mounts. New equipment handles it professionally, programmable and automated most the time.

    Shelf bevel, safeties, high wrap, farm those out so you don’t have the headache, but that’s a small percentage. Then there’s the profit of other products you can do in house like Chem clips. ( they sell themselves). You can easily pay for the system in 2 or less years. My young grandson can run a modern edger on most Rx’s with maybe 2 hours of training.

    Bottom line, you’d have to be totally into lab choices ( insurance) with the vast, vast majority of Rx’s you fill for a lab not to pay for itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    I’ve talked to and heard, “ I don’t want to edge expensive lenses, I don’t want the risk of screwing it up and costing me more”.. If you’re going to have a finishing lab you should run dang near every lens though it. And Don’t be scared of drill/groove mounts. New equipment handles it professionally, programmable and automated most the time.
    This one I just don't get. If you have a finishing lab... you have to finish the lenses! Hire an educated monkey so you don't have to worry about spoilage on the expensive lenses. Seriously, why have the equipment if you're not going to use it for everything???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prentice Pro 9000 View Post
    I agree IF you hire the right person that will do good work. But if you have a guy that’s just auto everything then it’s not worth it. Convenience isn’t cost effective if you have a $30K machine and a $40K a year for meh work.
    Your argument has more to do with the cons of hiring a low-skilled worker to do mediocre lab work than the benefits of in office edging.

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    So it sounds like high quality work isn't your concern. Basically you want to know what the cheapest way to get just barely passable work out the door is?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwill212 View Post
    So it sounds like high quality work isn't your concern. Basically you want to know what the cheapest way to get just barely passable work out the door is?
    This!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwill212 View Post
    So it sounds like high quality work isn't your concern. Basically you want to know what the cheapest way to get just barely passable work out the door is?
    Oh sorry I didn't make myself clear. My main complaint is about offices that have an edger and a "lab guy" and yet they just spit out garbage work constantly. I've seen it many times and I just thought to myself "why even have an edger".

    For me, I do everything custom and I am in love with good shop-work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prentice Pro 9000 View Post
    Oh sorry I didn't make myself clear. My main complaint is about offices that have an edger and a "lab guy" and yet they just spit out garbage work constantly. I've seen it many times and I just thought to myself "why even have an edger".
    Because you can buy cheap stock lenses for very cheap, and sell them for high margins to the unsuspecting public if that's your game. High volume low cost. And TBF there are plenty of that same "lab guy" at the wholesale labs spitting out bad work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prentice Pro 9000 View Post
    Oh sorry I didn't make myself clear. My main complaint is about offices that have an edger and a "lab guy" and yet they just spit out garbage work constantly. I've seen it many times and I just thought to myself "why even have an edger".

    For me, I do everything custom and I am in love with good shop-work.
    How do you know what offices have a "lab guy" and that all they spit out is garbage? Do you inspect a significant amount of their jobs? Because it would never EVER be like a customer to mess up their glasses and blame someone else... Do you randomly pay money for FSV lenses at other local eye shops to know exactly how bad their quality is? How do you know those jobs, the "many times you've seen it", were finished in office and not finished at a lab?

    I call BS.

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    Time to lower the thermostat for a minute.
    Large wholesale labs are pretty much all automated, with auto edgers. However, they do have quality and maintenance teams that test and tweak the settings to maximize fit in the frames first time, every time. They also have specialty lines to handle drills/steps/etc.

    Mid-volume labs aren’t as fortunate due to size and volume, but many of their techs are cross-functional, as is the management team, to address these issues.

    Now, the individual mom/pop owners do not have that luxury at all. Many are not willing to pay a finish tech that has all of the above skills. So, they hire affordable McLabtechs with just enough experience. The really good ones eventually find positions with larger labs or manufacturers, if they’re that good.

    As a hiring manager, I’ve come across all types.

    As a lab manager, I work with my bench staff to address the 20% of work that require custom beveling. Then, there’s a handful that will require a lead to handle, or myself. Yes, I’m a hands on lab Manager.

    The majority of labs work hard to produce quality work. But, we are not mind readers. We follow all national standards. And at times, standards of known accounts, within reason.

    How many small practice owners can say that? How many are willing to invest in a non-revenue creating position?

    Food for thought.
    I bend light. That is what I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NAICITPO View Post
    How do you know what offices have a "lab guy" and that all they spit out is garbage? Do you inspect a significant amount of their jobs? Because it would never EVER be like a customer to mess up their glasses and blame someone else... Do you randomly pay money for FSV lenses at other local eye shops to know exactly how bad their quality is? How do you know those jobs, the "many times you've seen it", were finished in office and not finished at a lab?

    I call BS.
    I'm glad that you are skeptical. More people should be!

    Anywho... I've worked in many offices in my career. More than 80% of them put out work that is "just fine". Probably about 50% of that put out "just fine" work if they are lucky (they're insanely high-volume and stuff is coming out upside down, sized wrong, too far forward on the bevel, temples all splayed. But for a -1.00 OU job it will probably be fine).

    Hey, your mileage may vary! Maybe you're in a location where good work gets churned out at all the local shops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optical24/7 View Post
    There was a day that you needed a skilled lab person to do in office finishing, due to equipment limitations/accuracies. Today, a monkey can operate a modern blocker and edger. ( no offense to simian opticians..).

    Yes, you can provide most Rx glasses to your patients faster…A plus, but you will save substantially on COG’s on most all Rx’s, even considering spoilage, ( you screwed it up yourself), which is more rare with the newer equipment. I’ve talked to and heard, “ I don’t want to edge expensive lenses, I don’t want the risk of screwing it up and costing me more”.. If you’re going to have a finishing lab you should run dang near every lens though it. And Don’t be scared of drill/groove mounts. New equipment handles it professionally, programmable and automated most the time.

    Shelf bevel, safeties, high wrap, farm those out so you don’t have the headache, but that’s a small percentage. Then there’s the profit of other products you can do in house like Chem clips. ( they sell themselves). You can easily pay for the system in 2 or less years. My young grandson can run a modern edger on most Rx’s with maybe 2 hours of training.

    Bottom line, you’d have to be totally into lab choices ( insurance) with the vast, vast majority of Rx’s you fill for a lab not to pay for itself.
    I'm very skeptical of Auto-mode for high-minus. Is it better with the new machines? I got a job the other day from a certain lab, -12, nothing crazy. The temples were so splayed it was ridiculous

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    To the OP's opinion regarding just simple edging, (barring drilling, high-base, step-bevel, chemistrie, and faster service that all certainly change the equation), I still think an edger can be profitable if you use it right. If you are even contemplating an employee just to run the edger, than you need enough work to keep that person busy. Simple edging from a dedicated person, even on a slow edger, should be 10 minutes per pair. If you have enough work to give this person 6 jobs per hour, assuming the $7 edging fees you quoted, you've saved $42 per hour. If you hire a true monkey at $20/hr, plus 30% overhead to $26/hr, you're still saving $16/hr. If that edger is running full time, that's a $32,000/yr. You can get a simple edger for this price. Paid off in one year. If you don't have that much volume you can hire someone part time to edge for 20 hrs and do 1,000/yr. Paid off in 2 years.

    If you factor in buying finished SV lenses, which can be bought for 30-50% less than having the same lens surfaced, the savings get a lot higher.

    More realistically you don't have the volume to justify a dedicated employee. (I don't.) Unless your opticians are working at capacity they can incorporate some easy push-button edging into their daily routine. Instead of using your savings to hire a monkey, use it to give a raise to your existing opticians for the additional work. Or if your opticians are working at capacity and can't take on any additional work, I would hire another optician and train them all to use their new-found extra time to do the edging.

    Edging, training, and maintenance are a bother. You have to be willing to take on that bother in exchange for some cost savings in the long run, and extra capabilities that practices without edging do not have. If you can't be bothered, then don't and let your lab work for you. Just make sure you're using your time from NOT edging, training, and maintaining to generate other revenue

    Quote Originally Posted by Prentice Pro 9000 View Post
    I'm very skeptical of Auto-mode for high-minus. Is it better with the new machines? I got a job the other day from a certain lab, -12, nothing crazy. The temples were so splayed it was ridiculous
    That's not a to-edge-or-not-to-edge question, that's a question of edger setting and capability. Good advanced edgers can handle step or high curve bevels nicely, if you know what you're doing. You lab's edgers certainly can do it too. Their monkey was the problem, not their edger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanLiv View Post
    To the OP's opinion regarding just simple edging, (barring drilling, high-base, step-bevel, chemistrie, and faster service that all certainly change the equation), I still think an edger can be profitable if you use it right. If you are even contemplating an employee just to run the edger, than you need enough work to keep that person busy. Simple edging from a dedicated person, even on a slow edger, should be 10 minutes per pair. If you have enough work to give this person 6 jobs per hour, assuming the $7 edging fees you quoted, you've saved $42 per hour. If you hire a true monkey at $20/hr, plus 30% overhead to $26/hr, you're still saving $16/hr. If that edger is running full time, that's a $32,000/yr. You can get a simple edger for this price. Paid off in one year. If you don't have that much volume you can hire someone part time to edge for 20 hrs and do 1,000/yr. Paid off in 2 years.

    If you factor in buying finished SV lenses, which can be bought for 30-50% less than having the same lens surfaced, the savings get a lot higher.

    More realistically you don't have the volume to justify a dedicated employee. (I don't.) Unless your opticians are working at capacity they can incorporate some easy push-button edging into their daily routine. Instead of using your savings to hire a monkey, use it to give a raise to your existing opticians for the additional work. Or if your opticians are working at capacity and can't take on any additional work, I would hire another optician and train them all to use their new-found extra time to do the edging.

    Edging, training, and maintenance are a bother. You have to be willing to take on that bother in exchange for some cost savings in the long run, and extra capabilities that practices without edging do not have. If you can't be bothered, then don't and let your lab work for you. Just make sure you're using your time from NOT edging, training, and maintaining to generate other revenue



    That's not a to-edge-or-not-to-edge question, that's a question of edger setting and capability. Good advanced edgers can handle step or high curve bevels nicely, if you know what you're doing. You lab's edgers certainly can do it too. Their monkey was the problem, not their edger.
    You basically said it perfectly. Unfortunately there's not a lot of training that goes on in my area and I've seen some real nightmares.

    With regards to the high rx edging: people are saying that it's all automatic these days, but as you pointed out, it takes somebody that knows what they are doing. sooo. It's not automatic if somebody has to interviene.

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