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California Pharmacists - The Real Story on Job Outlook

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by PharmDTop5, Jan 22, 2012.

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  1. PharmDTop5

    PharmDTop5

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    1st -- Before you jump on me, understand this: I am only speaking about what I know from extensive analysis of the California market (maybe some of this will translate into other states but again this is for California people primarily). If you attend, UCSF, USC, Western, UCSD, etc this job market post is for you.
    2nd -- Feel free to disagree but cite your numbers/evidence
    3rd -- My analysis is meant only to help new people coming into the field seriously understand the job market.
    4th -- This analysis is based on my understanding of the graduation numbers from the following schools of pharmacy: USC, UOP, Loma Linda, UCSF, UCSD, Touro, Western, California Northstate. This does not take into account the 3 other planned school openings within the next 2 years and the high potential school at UCR. Also, I can tell you as my family are donors to the UC system, I know there is a heavy push especially within the UCLA medical campus community for a school of pharmacy there. This is low radar still but point is the same...we have 8 operating schools, 3 potentials in the pipeline and potentially even 1 more. This is insane on so many levels and it doesn't take a genius to figure this out but I'm going to give you my two cents.

    My background - my family owns 8 independent pharmacies in the state of California. Two are very big operations within hospitals. I am not rich (the business is divided among many partners, cousins, uncles, etc)...I myself own about 12% of the show as I am new on the scene (and FYI I draw less than 40,000 dollars of personal salary a year and put many hours of sweat equity for this stake). Yes, it is a family business and I am taken care of but I just want to share this detail because I think some people will be able to see that I am not some spoiled kid trying to rain on the pharmacy parade here. This is a true warning form someone in the know. My family is connected to many other owners in the state and many of my comments are not just for my business but for other owners as well.

    All the prime counties in the state are literally saturated with pharmacy labor right now. 100% saturated. Floater jobs only. 6 out of 8 of our pharmacies are in prime counties (one in SF, some in LA, one in Irvine, OC etc) and 2 are in the less desirable areas (San Bernardino county). 4 out of the 6 in the last 1.5 years needed new staff pharmacists (due to retirements etc)...we hired about 6 full time pharmacists in the last 18 months essentially. 5 at the prime locations and 1 at a not so prime location. **I am younger and in the business (have a BA in Finance and a CPA before pharmacy school and so am involved with all contracts and accounting for the entire operation). For the 5 prime locations for work comparable to a chain (40 hours a week etc) we paid an average annual wage of 81,000 a year. Are benefits package costed us another 11,000 per employee and we incurred other costs (payroll taxes etc) that added to the total employee cost for us. But that is beside the point...you should focus on the 81k. The employees we hired had minimal loans (parent help or whatever, but that is the truth) but one of the employees did have up to 70kish in loans. For the non prime location pharmacy, we paid 102,000 for a new staff pharmacist with 4 yearsish experience.

    The 81k a year was the average but most were around that average. My family is not cruel...we were able to get these employees fairly easily we did not sell ourselves etc. After interviewing/hiring we found out that we could have easily paid 75k (but probably not lower) and have got these people to sign our contract. All 6 people we hired were graduates of USC/Western so I can't generalize to all schools but I can say we did get applicants from nearly all California schools we just settled on these two schools because we liked the folks and thought they would stay at our pharmacies for many years etc.

    From a business perspective, we cut 6 pharmacists that were at 130ish in salary to 5 pharmacists at 81k and 1 at 102k. Substantial savings and we are getting more productive, better educated labor here. However, we don't feel good about paying the wage we do. My parents are the first to call our association networkers to try to protect pharmacy from over satuartion etc. But at the same time, they run a business and they are going to get what they can get especially in a recession when we have 2 pharmacies barely breaking even after all the costs.

    My opinion on the California job outlook for Pharmacists is that it is BLEAK. Extremely extremely bleak. I am telling you 80k a year for a pharmacist wage isn't some future saturation myth...it is here now...we PAY it...that's our new rate, we don't pay a dime over 85k and won't in our new store openings either...doesn't matter about your experience. We don't need experience, we need a license (until pharmacists are able to bill for real services). I hate it, I don't like to cheapen our profession but with the margins the way they are this is what we have to do to survive. And with the new schools opening up, with cut throat people...I am telling you all...your classmates will take a job at our pharmacy for 75k. I know it for a fact. Heck some may go lower. That should scare you...it scares me!

    All I can say is-- if you are pre pharmacy in California ...RE CONSIDER now until things get resolved. Lots of other healthcare professions are not having it as bad as we are right now in California.

    If you are in pharmacy school -- do something to distinguish yourself. The people we still pay well are either extremely good at running a compounding operation or essentially business managers doing pharmacist staff work as an extra. Complain to the associations, the state board...anyone that will listen. GET up and GET involved fast ladies and gentleman becuase I am telling you we are in a free fall and there is an influx of graduates right now and the supply and demand is all out of whack. DONT listen to all that bull**** about MTM jobs and healthcare reform and baby boomers. This is absolute garbage. This is California...everyone wants to live here, work here etc...we have one staff Pharmacist who essentially came to California to work 25 hours a week, live in Newport Beach and die after working 30 years in Arizona. The California job market for pharmacists in prime areas is completely shot. The chains haven't dropped their new salaries yet (they're just cutting hours, benefits and bonuses etc) but they will...

    As someone involved in the pharmacy business, I can tell you for a fact that in the last 2 years many people are getting into the pharmacy labor market at 85k or less. Chains are simply just not going to hire...but then what you have to go to a hospital staff pharmacy or independent or clinic and take 85k and that day where that is the standard is coming. Be careful everyone. God bless and I hope we can fight this trend, we need pharmacists to bill for clinical services and we need to stop the school openings. Do this and business owners will be happy to pay 130s and up for the pharmacist.
  2. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    Interesting....

    Never heard the UCLA or UCR rumor for pharmacy schools, the UC system (SF aside, it's different) has always been "too good" for pharmacy schools. The other planned schools are in their infancy (that one in Signal Hill) and/or have been shelved (Samuel Merritt) due to $$ issues.

    Everyone I know who was hired for retail got hired at the $58-$61/hr price point, a few others on this board I've PM'd with were in the $54-$59 range for non-retail work.

    Market for residency trained clinical staff still seems pretty good, maybe not 1st shift in a big city teaching institution, but still good.

    Recruiters for Target and CVS were still touting availability in San Diego and outlying SF Bay Area counties.

    Historically central valley has always had positions open.

    IMO, the staff you hired at $85k were either a) damaged goods jettisoned by other retail establishments or b) could have done better had they kept looking. I could be very wrong, you know them better than I do.

    Anyhoo, market is bad, but if you're well connected and have the right experience, salaries are still good and job availability is fine. I think nursing is just as bad right now.
  3. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex

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    Good post. It is exactly what is going to happen everywhere. Simple supply and demand. A job at 75k or 80k is better than no job at all especially if you hav 100k plus in loans to pay.

    The good news is if we can survive than next ten years things should swing back again. Pharmacy will look very unattractive. Applicants will drop and diploma mill schools will be forced to close.

    The bad news is I do not think we will be able to survive the next 10 years. Community retail pharmacy is dead.
  4. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    OP... Good information in your post. I do have a question:

    If you are so bent out of shape with regards to decreasing pay of pharmacists in your region - that you are urging pharmacists to call any association, boards, pharmaceutical organization to complain against the the potential free fall of your profession, then why don't you set an example and pay a better wage? Seems contradictory to me.

    You'll probably answer something along the lines of business is business or you will pay what the market will bear...
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  5. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex

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    Hmmmm....very good point. Seems a bit hypocritical to call all of us to action and then do the very thing you want us to take action on.

    Set the example and pay your Pharmacists a reasonable rate.
  6. jasonkido

    jasonkido

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    set an example? It would be one small example my friend. We need to shut down all these schools that are coming up promising six figure jobs. We need to be realistic and realize that the demand for pharmacist are going to be just marginally better in the future and will not keep up with the supply. Also the profession of pharmacy needs to be expanded to a more clinical role in both community and hospital setting. I don't see it happening in the near future and it may not happen at all with how the profession is "growing" these days.

    Also, offering 130k vs 81k is a huge difference in profits. No one would increase salaries that much or at even 10-20k to make an example for our lowly thought profession.
  7. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 "I hear the WMD is the bomb."

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    If you did that to me, I'd just start my own pharmacy with everyone else you laid off for cheaper labor and make it my damned goal to put you the hell out of business and into the poor house.

    And if that didn't work, I'd burn down every pharmacy you owned.

    But that's just me.
  8. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    The OP owns 12% of the business but only pays himself $40,000?
  9. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    Yeah this is standard, you pay yourself as little as possible from the business to avoid the double taxation that comes with dealing with an S Corp.
  10. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    Can you elaborate further? I have my own business, but it's not a corporation. I still haven't figured out how to pay myself. :laugh:
  11. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    Haha sure, if you have your own business but it's not a corp, that means you're probably a sole proprietor or an LLC--the former requires nothing really more than a registration with your county, the latter requires a filing with your state secretary. Both of these are pass through entities so any income earned simply goes on to your personal tax returns (schedule C).**

    C corps require registration with your state, formal incorporation papers, etc... you're actually setting up a whole separate entity (it's like a person, except it can theoretically live forever). Any money that enters the corporation is taxed. If you pay yourself from the corporation, that money gets taxed as personal income on your end.

    So if I buy $100 worth of trinkets from All4Mydaughter, Inc., that $100 gets taxed as income to the corp. If you then "pay yourself" from the corporation, that now becomes personal income and is subject to income tax. Since you own All4Mydaughter, Inc. you're better off just keeping that $100 in the business and taking out just enough to pay your bills.

    **exception, S-corps, which are corporations with pass-through provisions similar to an LLC...not discussed here.
  12. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    I'm not saying pay them 130 but give them something that shows that you do care and that you're against the dilution of the field. You're already saving significant numbers considering you no longer pay 130x6.

    Give them 100, show me something that says you're for the field instead of acting like every other corporate retail giant out there.

    All talk, do some action.

    Your response was exactly what I had predicted.

    Yes, oversaturation and too many schools are key... But if YOU believe that the pharmacist pay is not 81K, then set an example. If a pharmacist running an independent pharmacy does not pay the appropriate amount, then why expect retail giants to think otherwise?

    The point of this thread is that YOU believe that the true base pay for pharmacist is well above 81k and that we should have pharmacists do something about it. You should too. It is about principle.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  13. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    Yup, way to seize the opprtunity to push out the old employees who brung you there and take advantage over your colleagues by lowballing them. $40,000 per year my ass. whats the total compensatiin at the end of the year including the increase in your personal asset thats not taxed? business like yours is worse than the chains. you aint no different than the people opening up new schools.
    Youre cutting off your own limbs by paying your pharmacists that low.
  14. R xxx

    R xxx

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    While 81K is low for what pharmacists are used to getting paid, I do think that the amount is correct for what a pharmacist does. You can use tuition cost and years spent in school as your argument, but my optometrist friends spent even more money in school and I know one of them is only making $65K a year starting out.

    The salary for pharmacists increased drastically over the last 15 years causing a lot of people to go into the profession, and now the salary is starting to correct itself, but it probably will not go below $80K, at least I hope it won't. But I didn't think it would happen so fast and so soon. It's such a drastic decrease to go from $130K to $81K.

    With all that being said, I still don't like where this is heading. I work with someone who's been a pharmacist for 42 years and he told me that this is the worst he's ever seen and he is worried for the profession.
  15. SWSF

    SWSF

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    I am a recent graduate and I have recently worked as a pharmacist in CA. I tell you that none of my pharmacist friends are making 80 k a year. We may not get 40 hours a week but our hourly rate is still comparable. More pharmacists are graduating this year so there will be a lot of competition but we are still doing OK (not great but OK). Just watch out on your student loans.
  16. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Exactly. California is saturated with professionals. PERIOD. If you want to live in a resort...then prepare to get paid less. Simple supply and demand. I can work in southern california as a private practice OD and make 65k-80k or w/e it is or I can work in Western Canada or Alaska and make 150k. Or just choose something in the middle. You know what they say about real estate...location, location, location.

    Also search for "Significant Discrepancies in Physician Hourly Wages Exist Across Specialties" in google. Its an article with physicians' salaries for those of you bitching about making $50-$60 an hour.
  17. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    Exactly.

    The OP titled the thread "the real story on job outlook"... Anyone in pharmacy already KNOWS that there is a supersaturation in coveted areas like California and that there are an excess number of schools.

    However, while the OP tried to re-emphasize this well known fact of a dismal job outlook - the real story of this thread is that the job outlook is so bad that even a pharmacist would turn on his/her own.

    Sad.
  18. PharmDTop5

    PharmDTop5

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    Sorry for the late response.

    Many of you are raising extremely valid points. Is it hypocritical to pay lower wages and advocate associations at the same time to raise the bar, reduce school openings etc...yes a little. But you know the real world is a bit more gray than the black and white thinking of who is being hypocritical. My dad stopped practicing staff pharmacy hours a while back...but let me tell you something when he was practicing he was making in the 60k range...and to be really honest the difference of what he did back then and what most of our pharmacists do today is VERY VERY small. Yes they now give flu shots...but if you look at the true day to day of what pharmacists have been billing for it is very similar to 20+ years ago. Yes the training has been more grueling and the knowledge base ever expanding but the end story is that the practice model / billing of services has remained very similar, while wages have gone up, competition increased, and margins have decreased.

    "I am a recent graduate and I have recently worked as a pharmacist in CA. I tell you that none of my pharmacist friends are making 80 k a year. We may not get 40 hours a week but our hourly rate is still comparable. More pharmacists are graduating this year so there will be a lot of competition but we are still doing OK (not great but OK). Just watch out on your student loans."
    ....So this is my point...some pharmacies like big retail operations simply cut the hours. They have the scale to do that. We don't...we pay our people for 40 hours a week, sometimes they are filling, some times in down time they may do quazi clerk work or back end stuff/inventory etc. When you have many pharmacies as California does what other choice is there. We have patients come through the door asking for OTC recommendations taking up 20-30 minutes of staff time...only to leave the pharmacy and buy the stuff online. Until pharmacies can start billing for things like counseling, how can we pay pharmacists a pharmacist wage for the full 40 hours when 30% of the hours are not spent on activities that the pharmacists is licensed for (back end management, clerk stuff, unbilliable counseling etc).

    As for the question about why the company pays me only "40k a year" for 12% stake...one of the posters have answered it in a nut shell. You want to minimize the amount of salary you pay yourself from the corporate entity perspective so as to avoid double taxation. Pass through business income is another matter. Why pay yourself at all? Well you have to maintain certain minimum amounts of self pay to avoid getting your but audited by the IRS. Everything we do is legal. Some business owners bend the rules here but the safest way to operate is to still pay yourself some salary to get double taxed on. Read about S corps, paying yourself etc. if you have more questions about this.

    I agree we can bounce back from this as a profession. We are in a correction state of wages right now. The game is the game people. Listen Warren Buffet advocates for more taxes over and over and over again. HE is all over every Republican senator on this very issue. He is asking to pay more than his net 17% rate that he pays (Due to primarily his income being from capital gains). HOWEVER, he has yet to send a donation check to the US government (although he has said he'd match any contribution by republican senators).

    Same with me on a much more humble scale. You think I want to pay 80k? I'd rather pay 120k, have some extra vacation time with some of our employees who are also friends, go to Cancun with them you know and their families? Ask them to go to a Lakers game with me etc. But guess what, half the people we know in the pharmacy business are paying lower wages too, or they are paying people below market rate but under the table (YES it happens in most small businesses in this country) so they don't pay the tax we do. Some are doing blatant the very easy to do Mediciare/Medical fraud...filling drugie scumb bag scripts for Schedules they shouldn't, not voiding prescriptions when patients don't pick them up etc. (and then re-selling those drugs for 100% margins). Yes all this stuff happens in business people, and until pharmacy schools stop opening up, the government allows us to bill for real services, they fix the countless pricing issues involved in drug pricing and the margins/transparency issues with PBMs, insurers, wholesalers etc, clean up Medi fraud, etc. it is hell out there for pharmacists in California.

    I am happy to give you the real scoop on pharmacy from the perspective of independents and the problems they are facing. Wages are going down and pharmacists are doing very innovative things to keep net profits stable. We have one friend who is doing hallmark/convenience store pharmacies now. His two pharmacies are 30% supported by non healthcare items (cards, soda sale, chips, etc), 20-30% DME/OTC, and only 40-50% real prescription volume. How much wage can you pay a pharmacist when your business is only doing 50% pharmacy.

    Don't even get me started on what mail order and now specialty pharmacy is doing to pharmacies. Even compounding guys. People are setting up super cheap labor pharmacies in other parts of the country and shipping derm creams to your Beverly Hills dermatologist, your local primary care estrogen/steroid pusher. I see this stuff every day and see how business is being sliced and diced. There are so many pressures guys. Pharmacy was a fundamentally retail position, and now the retail money is less and less and the only solution is billiable services for pharmacists.

    Board certified residency pharmacists in hospitals etc...I can't comment. This is not what I do and I'm sure the market is different for these folks. But you know, this is still the minority of pharmacists. Most pharmacists are out there in the community setting and this is the setting that I speaking about.

    Many chains won't go as low as 80k again. They'll cut hours and you'll just end up with that. They'll implement bigger badder mail order, more technology and they'll make it so they don't need as many staff pharmacists. They'll have one ultra smart staff pharmacist that they can justify paying a 100k too because that guy is managing inventory, resolving prescription issues, managing the technology and the clerks/techs etc. It makes financial sense but what I'm saying is that unless we can change the game from retail to service we are all in a losing game in terms of job market. TRUST me...In the modern economy an independent owner like me cannot survive on the competing on retail margins alone. You think we have buying power or the capital to support the backend that the big chains plan to implement? Heck no...heck no I'd rather be in the business of paying people 120k and mentoring them to manager Mrs. Jone's diabetes medication properly and being a part of her treatment plan for the next 15 years because she trusts us.
  19. PharmDTop5

    PharmDTop5

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    I've got many pings from people that quote their "hourly rate". Guys this is an improper argument. Hourly rate is meaningless....what is that person's net annual take home as a pharmacist.

    Listen, there are "hours" of the day in one of our hospital pharmacies where we got doctors calling, compounding going on, IV's needing to be checked, prescriptions needing to be filled, restocking needed etc. where we would pay $100 dollars an HOUR for a pharmacist ... like literally we need the most talented fasted person around would probably even pay MORE. Hourly floater rates are so frivilous because they are taking into account peak hours/desperate hours by a chain that has no choice for coverage. When **** hits the fan in your pharmacy, heck you would pay a lot per hour to have an extra hand or two that is experienced and knows what to do in crisis mode and can make proper decisions. HOWEVER, the other 30ish hours a week...honestly our pharmacies and most other pharmacies can get by someone who barely made the cut in pharmacy. So spare us all the "but I just got paid 80 / hour" ... quote your net salary this year if you were working one job. Compare apples to apples people.

    Yes our 81k for 40 hours a week pharmacists could float another 12 hours easily per week for another independent or chain maybe and bring in that 100+k salary. But again apples to apples, I am not comparing your 52 hour week or 60 hour week to our 40 hour week wages.

    That should apply to all of you in the job outlook discussion. Don't listen to all these friends with hourly quotes and 140k a year blah blah. Be a real analyst about this, talk to people in depth, understand that sometimes people quote 40 hours and they really mean like 48 hours because they are not getting paid for staying late and doing inventory or are backed up on this or that and some independents are just getting by skating the law.

    Our 81k salary is for a true 40 hour week. You get dental/health/optics, a decent 401k match depending on the contract, 200-500 dollar year end christmas bonus, and 15% off of our in store retail/OTC, and you are filling way less scripts / hour than most chains. You have down time to sit, the bathroom is usually close and the owners respect everyone. I've got some interesting emails/messages...and its quite funny to hear that the above conditions are somehow so crazy that they dont exist. Wake up...and understand that 30-40% of the people you sit next to right now in class want the position described above.
  20. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    What do you wish to accomplish by this thread? Tough job market and oversaturation of pharmacists are nothing new. you just happen to be one of the worst pharmacist employers out there. My pharmacists are paid over $60 per hour with 49% benefits. Yes 49% is the benefit cost. And i will fight to make sure my crew is taken care of. I would never ever replace my experienced and talented pharmacist crew with cheaper labor to save money. in my industry thats penny wise dollar fool. If I was one of your laid off pbarmacist, i would set up my own and compete directly against you.
  21. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine

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    Are you hiring??

    :smuggrin::smuggrin:
  22. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    We are fully staffed with zero turnover in our dept for years. stable crew and i dont think anyone is planning to leave. we did hire 4 pharmacists past 4 years......of course im new and just took over the pharmacy 2 months ago. i aint hiring you tho.... you'll cause trouble.:smuggrin:
  23. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine

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    Oh pshhaaa, I'm an angel.
  24. PharmDTop5

    PharmDTop5

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    I wish you the best of luck in the pharmacy business.

    My family has been in this game for many many years. We we've seen great losses, great profits, while we own 8 currently, we have bought/sold well over 20 in the 30ish years. We've consulted and helped startup countless others and know many people that closed pharmacies, went bankrupt, or had to sell at a loss, or are owners making less than 120k total to their pockets (and minimal equity if at all in the business).

    We employ over 100 Californians. You can say what you want about us being the "worst owners." All I know is our employees like us, they are taken care of, if they ever had a serious issue we would step up to help them. There's alot more to treatment of an employee than a salary. First and foremost...job stability. We'll see if you like many of our friends are still in this business in 5-10 years. Data and statistics of small business ownership says that most people will fail, and in independent ownership a good chunk will never make more than what you would as a Rite Aid manager.

    The "worst owners." Ya right. We know people that paid the 130s wages, and our cheating the system, have lost their licenses, lost their businesses due to cheating and or mismanagement...and now their employees are on the street.

    We'll see how altruistic you are with salary's when margins keep dropping, or you get sued, lose a big chunk of business to a chain, have a cash flow issue etc, need a revamp due to some new regulation or have a huge capital call.

    Its not all black and white in the real world when you got real people on the line. What's better for the job market and people as a whole...employing 5 at 80k, or 4 at 100k? We choose one line of thinking that suited our business and for you to comment on our quality as owners is foolish. Please brother you've owned a pharmacy for 2 months. 49% benefit cost? Either you are completely full of it and you don't own a business, or you don't know how to manage it. Yeah, we'll see how long you're in this game if you are paying 49% benefit costs. I'll let everyone else on this forum fact check you on that one because its way too easy for me.

    People used to say GM was the amazing employer. So much of a new car sale was going to pay for worker benefits that the company eventually had to just go bankrupt, people lost jobs, Detroit was dessimated, people lots lifelong retirement funds etc. Please, if you think the worst an owner can do is to decrease wage by 25% ish percent (while still paying essentially DOUBLE the US HOUSEHOLD income average) then you haven't been paying attention to what is happening inside this country.
  25. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    Z is a DOP, not an indie guy.
  26. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine

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    .
  27. R xxx

    R xxx

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    :corny:wow this is such a good thread!! FIGHT! FIGHT!
  28. Conflagration

    Conflagration

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    :corny:

    If you have projected jobs six years from now, someone PM me. :smuggrin:
  29. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    Yup im sure those replaced former employees love OP and his family run empire. How soon will OP replace those $80k pharmacists with $60k pharmacists?
  30. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    My daughter stopped saying pshha 2 years ago.
  31. Its Z

    Its Z Retired

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    Ive only been back to being a dop for 2months. good to be not traveling.....tho i miss the freedom of traveling and working from home.
  32. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    The OP has done nothing by posting this thread. You were happy to take a 50k cut on 6 pharmacists and you probably can't wait to take another cut on several dozen more.

    Way to go.

    You probably just posted this thread so you can show your employees that they should expect an impending and "justified" paycut.

    And I dont think many appreciate your comments regarding that you'd like to take your employees to a Lakers game or to Cancun... Just pay them a fair salary since you know what the field is about and you know that it's tough out there. And by fair, I don't mean pay them 130 like you did the outgoing folk - pay them more than 81 for goodness sake.

    Yes it is a business, but you are a pharmacist and you should have some sense of loyalty. You're still going to make good money for yourself.
  33. CareDD

    CareDD

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    Who cares dude! I am watching NFL playoffs !! Dam 49ers should have won !
  34. CareDD

    CareDD

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    OH wait, I cant trust everything you said because you have a B.S in Finance. Since you care about money soooo much, and lay off former pharmacists just to hire new grads at 75k, and you think I believe you are making 40k a year? HAHAHAHA. This THIS makes me wonder about your motive starting this thread
  35. PharmDTop5

    PharmDTop5

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    CareDD - you have a long way to go in terms of your development - we live in a globalized world and I suggest you start learning the basics about finance. I never made a comment on the value of my equity in the business, I made a comment about the salary I choose to draw from the business for taxation reasons.

    Fact - 3 out of 8 pharmacies are the primary reason that the family is making any "real money"
    Fact - If some unlucky soul out there owned the other 5 pharmacies alone he/she would be making slightly more than a retail pharmacist at a major chain in 2 of them, losing money in 1 of them, and netting a profit above a pharmacist's salary in the other two that makes one wonder whether it is even worth it to own and operate a business.

    With all the pressures in the market, people tend to think if one pharmacy is making you 200k as an owner you are all good. It's just silly talk. Sooner or later that reserve you build up in your cash flow turns the other way--recession, law suit, Medicare audit, IRS audit etc. (even if you have done nothing wrong, a settlement just not to go to court will cost you a 50k here and there, even if your books are clean you need to hire a real experienced auditor to take the government auditors through your books etc). If you saw the lifestyle of everyone in the ownership of this business you would realize that paying the lower wages are neccessary to keep the ship a float in some of these pharmacies.

    In business you are operating each company as a seperate entity. Just because you make a lot of money in your ice cream store doesn't mean your pharmacist's get a raise. That'll be a business that doesn't last for very long.

    The whole point...is to get people to realize the plight of owners and operators of pharmacies. To understand that the situation in California is very grave and we need political action to get more reimbursement for both the drug products and the services pharmacists provide. Stopping the schools is another positive if we could get it done.

    Before you knock me for paying the low wage, donate to apha cpha and our action commitees. Right now I think the practical thing to do to support our pharmacist and pharmacy is to pay the lower wage, keep our business afloat and use some profit to donate to our causes. Don't knock owners for doing what they have to do...there's a lot of gray area...a lot of things that we have as pharmacists in California come from the fact that its independents teaming up with other groups on state level lobbying issues.

    I'm sharing real on the ground data because quite frankly everyone wants to hear it. That's the truth based on the views of this thread.
  36. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Pay them lower wages and use the difference to donate to political action committees. You can't talk sense to many people.
  37. pinipig523

    pinipig523 I like my job!

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    I read that and laughed. :laugh:

    Atleast you donate though... could be worse. You could just pay low wages and not donate.
  38. xtsukiyox

    xtsukiyox Moderator Emeritus

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    PharmDTop5, I have a question. You said your dad, when he was a staff pharmacist, made 60k a year. I believe you mentioned it was 20 years ago. What is the equivalence to today's wage? I'm all for the suggestion of keeping dollars-to-dollars comparison, as it would be very hard to estimate the difference in benefit cost.
  39. rph74

    rph74

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    When I graduated in 1997, I made about 65k per year as a staff rph for a large chain in St. Louis. Adjusted for inflation, that would be 91k today.

    Wages skyrocketed in the early/mid 2000's due to rph shortage and store growth. I too, see wages going down in the future. A reality check for sure. Someday we will all look back at "the good old days" of pharmacy.

    My advice. Live frugally and become debt free if possible. It takes away a lot of stress!
  40. 5minutes

    5minutes

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    80k is pretty decent money. I am happy with that.
  41. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex

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    Not if you were making a 130k the year before.
  42. PumpkinSmasher

    PumpkinSmasher Pharmacist

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    Exactly. 80k may very well be decent pay but pharmacist's salary should be at least 20k higher. Hell, I live in a low cost of living metro area and my full-time hospital gig pays 115k base.
  43. StevePerry

    StevePerry

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    Yeah okay buddy, you just see how much of that "decent money" is really left over for booze, hookers, and firearms.
  44. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    not in california...haha, you'll still live in the ghetto with that kind of money.
  45. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    also, pharmacists are hourly in california by law, why can't the OP just throttle back the hours instead of cutting back on $$? If your pharmacists are doing glorified tech work during downtime, just send them home and have your techs do it.

    I mean, I'd rather be making $55-60 and getting 32 hours vs. a lower rate at full hours. As long as the use of my time is efficient and i get the benefits of a reduced work week I'm fine with that.

    Also, can't the OP just hire per diem/some PT pharmacists and not pay bene's?

    This isn't how I would envision cutting costs business-wise, but then again I don't own my own pharmacy either.
  46. PharmDTop5

    PharmDTop5

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    Because by law even in down time you always need a pharmacist present. By law glorified tech work is 60% of pharmacy practice...I would like it to change so we get more and more money for MTM, counseling, working with physicians to identify DDI's etc, having protocols in place to do full on management (dose escalation/dose changes/dose edits) of established guideline disease states like diabetes, HTN etc....but right now all my people in down time have to do the tech work.

    Floaters demand higher per hour, are not consistent often...you can teach them but the infrequency at which they come in sometimes prevents them from being fully adapted to the operation

    This comes down to pure economics. We haven't implemented MTM as much as we should but from the owners we talk to ... its simply not there in terms of money to do it.
    Check this paper out:
    Over the 7-year period from January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2006, the mean ([SD] median) pharmacy reimbursement was $8.44 ([$5.19] $7.00) per MTM service

    This paper has nothing to do with the new rules, laws in reform or the rate in California but point is from our perspective...we'd rather put in money expanding our OTC/DME side, or heck even putting in a soda fountain than do MTM for some tiny reimbursement assuming you document everything properly and they actually ever pay you for it...which BTW could be 90 days in some cases. Which brings up another problem, some business owners don't have 3 months of cash flow buffer to even consider changing strategy...which is another reason why pharmacies are cutting costs (speaking about independents)...most of us our thinking about our long term future too...when / if we do get a change in our rules/laws/practice scope we have to have some buffer cash to be able to shift the strategy of the business. its not easy ... your going from a pure retail operation to a service operation and retail operation...that's a scary thing and most Fortune 500 companies that try to do that kind of pivot would be met with pure skepticism by most financial analysts.
  47. Smiles425

    Smiles425

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    PharmD Top 5-

    Aren't you afraid that as soon as a better paying job comes along, the pharmacists will quit? Then you would have to waste more money retraining and dealing with an inexperienced new grad again and again. I know you mentioned that the people you hired at 80K seemed like they would stay for a long time, but when someone is desparately searching for a job of course they're going to act like they will be "the loyal employee." I understand that you are a business man and that you have to go a bit below market rates, but if you stray too far away from market rates you'll consistantly be wasting money on training new employees.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  48. Taurus

    Taurus Paul Revere of Medicine

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    The biggest problem with MTM...

    I could hire a NP or PA for $50-60k to do the same thing. Since we have a surplus of NP's, I'm pretty sure I could get one for around that much. The big retailers like CVS, Walgreen's, etc know this too.

    So, even if MTM does take off, it will be the NP's and PA's who benefit most from it.

    I don't know why this is so hard for pharms to wrap their heads around. If you want to corner a market, make sure you are the only provider who has the skills to provide for it. If many providers can do the same job, then it's a race to the bottom.
  49. PharmDTop5

    PharmDTop5

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    Smiles 425 -
    A little but not really...If I'm saving 30k on salary...trust me my training cost is not 30k. Let's say max it takes one week of paid onboarding/orientation (and this max 5 days...maybe 2 grandish max?). Maybe some transition/flow problems for another week...another 2 grand maybe in lost productivity from the whole operation? Recruitment cost is essentially nothing...I email a dean, a professor, a student and they send the job out to their pharmacy graduating class and I pretty much get 20 resumes within 2-3 days. I pick out some eager beavers who have past chain experience (I usually interview candidates who worked at chains that I know won't be hiring...ex. if I am aware of a CVS hiring freeze in county X...I'll make sure to grant interviews to anyone who has been interning at CVS).

    In the grand scheme, many people coming out don't seem to care so much. Many are marrying fellow professionals, many of the women I hire like the flexibility although lower pay with our pharmacies. In some regards people may prefer the lower salary...with me, you pick a phone and call me or someone in my family and say "hey, I really need to plan for a 3 weeks off in a row because my niece is getting married and my husband wants to see his family in London" etc....and if you give enough heads up will use our network to cover the shifts etc etc as long as you dont abuse it...no paperwork needed, I'll handle it on my end for you. A chain's process is probably a bit more complex. As a result, our turnover is not what you might expect it to be. We don't get the same volume busy chains do (so more time to sit, the day is probably at least twice as more enjoyable, we tend to not attract gunners who are trying to get promoted to manager or district manager etc and so the day is just more relaxed). We have multiple holiday parties with the family, employees spouses etc...everyone has a good time. For a lot people, this is enough and not everyone is of the I'll take 20k-30k in pre tax money and work 3x harder breed.

    Taurus...good point about MTM. Yes I hope this doesnt happen...because I think a PharmD would do a superior job purely on the basis of the curriculum differences. My hope is legislators continue to see why it makes sense for a PharmD to do regular medication management (dose changes, ddi drug switches) especially after an initial prescription from a physician. PharmD's are already in pharmacies and pharmacies are already out there in the community. We don't need huge infrastructure changes to make this happen!
  50. PharmDTop5

    PharmDTop5

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    Oh let me add, that overall were receptive to helping people out through teaching. If someone wants to learn about the business end they certainly can. We don't fear competition, if someone wants to learn how to own and operate we'll teach them within the business hours and after. We have one young fellow who is doing just this and have had at least one that I know of in the past that branched off and started his own pharmacy. So for some people, working at an independent is a great trade off..may be lower pay for 82k right but hey at least your learning from a group of people that having been at this a long time.

    A community pharmacist residency...45k salary right? Wow. You want to talk about crooks...talk about all the community pharmacy residency scams. Come to our pharmacy, we'll pay you a little less than double that, teach you more, and you'll probably end up with connections that are invaluable. Sound like a good deal, just stay with us for 2-4 years.

    ...And this is why a salary can still go lower in California...because lets be honest, once again you know you have class mates that will sign up for this deal in a heart beat.

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