Many pet owners would like to know how much mobile vet services cost, so this will provide a general overview comparing the cost of mobile veterinary services with the cost of veterinary services at a traditional vet clinic. It is important to first understand the differences in expenses and volume between mobile practices and traditional clinics.
Mobile vet practices have less expenses and overhead than traditional vet clinics. While they have to pay for a company vehicle, regular maintenance (oil changes, new tires, brake pads), occasional vehicle repairs, automobile insurance, and gasoline (or electricity), that is the majority of their overhead.
Traditional vet clinics have to pay for a building lease/mortgage, which is considerably more expensive than a vehicle lease/loan. They also have to pay property taxes and insurance, which are usually more expensive than a vehicle lease/loan and automobile insurance. There are utility expenses as well such as electricity, gas, water, garbage, phone and internet service. The additional upfront expenses such as kennels, examination room equipment, and furniture for the waiting room, front desk and staff area are also a very big factor that contributes to more debt resulting in higher costs.
To decrease expenses even further, mobile veterinary practices generally have less staff. There is usually only a veterinarian and an assistant, so there are less expenses but the workload is greater. When you compare those staff costs to a traditional clinic, you’ll see they typically have one or more receptionists, front desk staff, and kennel assistants.
However traditional veterinary clinics have one very big advantage – they can see a lot more patients every day and are equipped for services that generate a lot more revenue such as radiographs, dental cleanings and general surgeries. While a mobile vet can only travel to around 5-10 houses a day (depending on their service area and how far they travel), a veterinarian at a traditional clinic can easily see 2-3 times that amount within the same time frame.
Even though mobile vets have less overhead and expenses, they have a lot less volume and lose out on significant revenue generating services. The lower volume and lost revenue generally outweighs the savings from decreased overhead, so mobile vets usually charge a house call fee or raise their exam cost to make up the difference. However most other services, vaccinations and tests are priced the same, so the only main difference is the examination cost or travel fee.
Some mobile veterinary practices charge one flat examination fee that is around $20-50 higher for the first pet than an examination fee at a veterinary hospital. Examination fees for additional pets are usually discounted. Other mobile veterinary practices charge a variable travel fee based on how far they have to travel. This house call fee can range anywhere from $15 to $55.
Owners who have multiple pets however usually end up paying less money in total for all of their pets than they would have paid at a traditional vet hospital. Since the travel fee is a one time cost and the exam fee for additional pets is discounted, families with 2 or more pets can oftentimes save money when using a mobile vet. In addition to saving money, they can also save time by not having to travel to the vet or wait in a lobby, while enjoying the added convenience and comfort of staying at home.
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