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Does LENSCRAFTERS pay well for new ODs?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by HHQOPTEDU, Jun 1, 2012.

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  1. HHQOPTEDU

    HHQOPTEDU

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    I recently graduate in May and have an interview with Lenscrafters in upstate New York. What salary should i expect?
  2. Jason K

    Jason K

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    It depends on whether it's a corporate location or a franchise owner. If it's corporate, just be aware that you won't be on a "salary." You'll be paid hourly, somewhere around 40-49/hr (unless you're in a really saturated area, then it's going to be lower). Sounds good, right? Good pay, good benefits, vacation, etc. But they'll hire you as an hourly employee. They'll tell you it's much better for you that way, but in reality, what they're doing is making it easy to cut your hours if your numbers don't make it for the first few days of the week or some other set time period or if they just feel like it for whatever reason. I know several people who have worked for LC and they've told me on regular occasions, they'd get the mid-week "call" stating they weren't needed for the rest of the week. That's all great if you live with your parents, have no bills to pay, and you're a short drive from a good beach, otherwise it can be pretty stressful to never know what your monthly income will be.

    All of the control is on their end. You'll sign in, sign out for lunch, etc. If you were an exempt, salaried employee, they couldn't cut your hours and save money since you'd be getting a bi-weekly check based on a salary. It's for their protection, not yours - make no mistake.

    If it's a position with a franchise owner and he/she is doing well, you could be in a position to bargain for a good salary with bonus sturcture and benefits. If not, you may not be able to negotiate your pay up very much. It just depends.

    What I tell outgoing 4th years is, for corporate Luxottica locations, PT work can be great. They don't have their teeth in you, the pay is good, and you're not obligated to do anything. Once you go FT, though, they own you.

    In any case, you'll enjoy random "secret patients" who will submit reports on your valiant or lackluster attempts to upsell PALs, AR, high index, 2nd and 3rd pairs of glasses, multifocal CLs, etc. Upset big brother by not pushing the good stuff hard enough and you could be in for a "visit."

    I know some ODs who like working at LC. It's not like America's Best or Cohen's or the other bottom-feeders, but it's definitely a very different brand of optometry than private practice, either on the ownership or the associate side. If you're ok being told how to be a Dr by someone with a high school education, you might be fine.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  3. HHQOPTEDU

    HHQOPTEDU

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    that's all well and good, but what $ are we talking????? per year if i work full time year round
  4. Jason K

    Jason K

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    There's really no answer to your question. It all depends on how many hours you work and your hourly rate. If you work 40 hours per week, you might do ok. If you don't get that many hours because they're frequently cut against your will, you won't. If it's a franchise location, it depends on how much the owner is willing to pay you. There's no specific answer for you.
  5. Optomchick

    Optomchick

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    Does anyone that worked for LensCrafters know if you have to pay rent to "sub-lease"? And if Eyeexam of California (or whatever state) gives benefits like Health or Dental insurance?


    thanks.
  6. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    When you lease, you enter into a long term lease agreement with them. No health or dental insurance.

    If you work for Eyeexam of California, no health or dental insurance.
  7. Optomchick

    Optomchick

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    Around how much does it cost to lease the space from Lenscrafters? Are you responsible for insurance billing or do they make the sales associates do that?
  8. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Don't know. Never done it. Some states it's a flat amount. Some it's a percentage of what you bring in. Yes, generally you are responsible for all billing and collection of fees or you are responsible for hiring someone to do it.
  9. Optomchick

    Optomchick

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    So basically it's like having your own private practice, you're responsible for everything, Lenscrafters just finds the patients for you? Do you get a percentage of any of the glasses/contacts sold?
  10. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    For glasses you will universally get zero, zip, zilch.

    For contact lenses, some leases the corporate store sells the contacts and in others the doctor does. In the case where the doctor does, the lease payment is higher. (naturally.)
  11. PBEA

    PBEA Senior Member

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    In Lenscrafters you are not truly independent. Whether you want to or not, you will be expected to sell optical goods for the corporation, "selling from the chair" is the common slang for it. If you are not selling enough product, your "lease" will be termed with what is most likely a 30 day out clause, any reason, anytime they want. Even for someone who could care less about their independence, that is still zero job security. You want to spend time with the nice ole granny explaining whats wrong with the "diabetes in her eye", and less time convincing her that she needs the latest gucci frame with digital PALS, AR, and transitions? Not if you want to keep your job (cough, cough I mean "lease" :rolleyes:)

    That sounds decidely unlike having your own private practice.
  12. Optomchick

    Optomchick

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    I meant so it's like having all the responsibility of having your own practice, having to pay rent, bill insurance, find employees..etc., yet you have a low salary determined by Lenscrafters....
    So they can fire you at any time, but you can't quit while you're on a contract? And sometimes there's a clause in the contract that you can't practice in the nearby area after you work with them?
  13. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    In the scenario where you lease space, you are not on salary from Lenscrafters. They do not determine salaries. You essentially eat what you kill. If you see lots of patients, you can make good money. If you see two patients a day, you will be pretty miserable.

    In general, they can terminate you with as little as 30 days notice for any reason or no reason. In general, if YOU want to terminate the lease you have to give them 90 days.

    As far as non compete agreements, they are pretty standard but generally unenforceable in most states.
  14. Dirk Funk

    Dirk Funk

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    Can we get a yearly number here? Like 100K?
  15. Optomchick

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    nice metaphor lol

    So do you get the keep the entire cost of the vision exam, minus whatever insurance discounts they have? How many patients would you estimate you need to see a day to make a good living?
  16. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Depends. Some locations you hire your own staff. Others, they provide the staff but in those cases the lease payment is usually higher. You have to pay for the cost of your office supplies etc.

    As to how many patients you have to see to make a good living? Obviously....it depends. First...what do you consider a "good" living? Second....how much do you charge for an exam? How many patients can you/they attract?
  17. Optomchick

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    Maybe 85-95k a year to live comfortably. I thought LensCrafters set the prices of the exam fees. I feel like I could bring in a lot of people... I guess I'm realizing that I have absolutely NO business experience, being an independent contractor seems like it's going to be really tough the first years out of school :/
  18. q1we3

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    I would assume these commercial locations like Walmart, Costco, Lenscrafters etc will have enough foot traffic that there would be enough patients. I mean that is main advantage of going commercial easier access to public and potential patients. Plus, the store itself will be marketing their optical store and cheap eye exams.

    The main problems that ODs talk about with CPs seems to be loss of control by the doc. Being told how to run things, the fees, pushing products, increasing hrs to see more patients, not being allowed to do "medical" optometry, no sense of security. These are reasons why most leave CP to start their own not because there weren't enough patients.

    But that doesn't mean you should go with any location. If you know previous doc left due to not enough patients, you might want to try somewhere else or find out why. If it is brand new vision center you might want to check how many other CPs exist around the same are.
  19. Jason K

    Jason K

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    This assumption will get you in a lot of hot water. I can't tell you how many grads get suckered into a new Walmart or Sam's Club lease, only to find out that they are stuck seeing 10 patients per week. High volume commercial leases are not easy to come by.
  20. Optomchick

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    Right, the one good thing about CA is that our Costcos and walmarts are insanely crowded. Is coding and billing insurance really hard, and do they teach you how to do that kind of stuff in school? I'm not really sure how I'm going to learn how to run my own business and employees, even at a commercial place.
  21. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Coding and billing is not taught well in school and unfortunately, it's one of those things that you can really only learn by doing it because it varies widely from region to region. What works well in California may fail in Texas.

    I would suggest that people work for someone else for a year when they are first out of school to learn that. Make the mistakes on someone else's dime.

    Regarding Costcos and Walmarts being insanely crowded, that may well be but if they truly are insanely crowded you can rest assured that that lease is not available.
  22. Jason K

    Jason K

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    I don't know much about Walmarts, but Costco has loooooooooong wait lists to get a lease, especially in CA. I have two friends who lease Costco spaces in "good" stores in northern CA. One waited 7 years to get her lease, the other five. I also know a couple of Costco docs in other states who do "ok," but they have to supplement their income working as independent contractors since they don't get enough traffic at their Costco.

    There's really not any simple way out of the oversupply issue - it's going to be there no matter where you go. It's part of the profession now. Even those seeking government positions will deal with it indirectly.
  23. Optomchick

    Optomchick

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    Ya it's crazy how my freshmen year in college Pharmacy and Optometry seemed like they had really great outlooks, and now they're both over-saturated. I'm not sure what field isn't over-saturated besides Physicians and Nurses. If only Optometrists were able to have unions the same way nurses do haha.

    Do you guys have any recommendations on how to pick up good business skills while in Optometry school?
  24. Jason K

    Jason K

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    I think working for a doc who's in a successful practice, knows how to code properly, and is willing to teach you something, is probably the most direct way. You can only learn so much in a textbook. Practice management courses in OD programs are often led by people who have never even worked in a private setting - not even for a day.

    The main problem is not necessarily that you leave optometry school without the experience, although that is a big issue for just about all clinical doctorate programs. The problem is that even with good business skills, you're fighting an uphill battle against the profession's momentum. All the business acumen in the world won't help you if you're selling blocks of ice to eskimos.
  25. q1we3

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    What if you practice in a state where OD can work as an employee for a CP. What type of patients will they let you see, in terms of insurance? How about medicare, medicaid patients ? When you have to bill vision and medical plans you will collect the revenue for the exams, on top of your salary, right?
  26. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Working as an employee is probably the worst way to go corporate. They get their teeth into you and basically dictate how to do your job, either actively or passively. Luxottica has been trying to gain more and more control over it's employed doctors. I'm not really sure why they feel they need to, they have plenty of control already, some of which is not legal, in my opinion.

    As far as the type of patients, you're not going to be billing much in the way of medical in a corporate setting. They don't have any interest in revenue from medical visits; they want to sell materials - that's their reason for existence. The doc is just there to keep things legit by signing the spectacle Rx. If an Rx were not needed, you'd not see many ODs in corporate settings. That day may come in the not-too-distant future. This is one of the great ironies of the profession right now. We're out there talking up the fact that "we're producing the most highly-trained ODs ever," and yet the vast majority of them will be signing Rx's for a living and not using much of their training once they graduate.

    In any event, you absolutely do not collect exam fees on top of your salary. If you're employed, you get your salary plus a bonus if you negotiate one into your contract. You'll be told when to show up, when to take lunch, when to leave, how long to spend with each patient, what to say to each patient, what to fit on patients, etc, etc. You may think you have control and they'll certainly tell you that during your interview, but be sure to talk to a FT employed doc or two before you agree to work for a Luxottica brand or any other commercial position. It's not what it seems on paper.

    There are some good commercial leases out there. The bad news? Thery're all taken and docs who have them don't just leave them around for the taking. If a commercial lease is open to a new grad, you can just about bet it's going to be a new, slow location that may or may not ever produce a sustainable volume. Since there's far more ODs than needed, it's a great setup for commercial organizations - they've got all the "fertilizer" they need to keep themselves growing at a cancerous pace.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  27. q1we3

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    Fair enough, but didn't you say if you are fine working in commercial setting you can do well, or something along those lines. Would you say it is easier to find a good commercial lease opportunity than a full time PP position?
  28. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    I would read every practice management rag that you can get your hands on every month like Review of Optometry or Optometric Management.

    But I would not read them so that you can learn "the secret" to success. There really is no secret. Read them to get ideas. You will find many articles that leave you saying "well, I don't really like that at all. I'm certainly not going to do it THAT way" and you'll find others that leave you thinking "wow....I never really thought of that. I like THAT way."

    Also, interact with your faculty who do have private practices on the side. Ask them what mistakes they made. Ask them what they wish they did differntly. Ask them what they would suggest you do and why.

    And again....do it not to find "the secret" but to get ideas and opinions so you can start to form your own.
  29. Optomchick

    Optomchick

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    That makes sense- thanks
  30. thiaeyemd

    thiaeyemd New Member

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  31. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Neither one will be something you'll likely come across as a newer grad. When a doc leaves a "good" commercial lease, for whatever reason, you can bet there will be droves of ODs waiting in line to take his/her place. As I said previously, I know a couple of ODs who waited "in line" for years to get their lease, working PT at 4-5 locations while waiting. Then, once you have it, you can lose it in an instant. To be fair, Costco seems to be very "friendly" to its ODs (from what I hear), but Walmart and all of its analogs have reputations for screwing ODs over frequently, for whatever reason they choose.

    As far as the PP vs commercial, I'd say the "good" commercial spot would be easier to find, but that's all relative. As a percentage of the number of grads leaving school these days, FT private practice positions are just about nonexistent. They're around, but the numbers are minuscule and the pay is usually low.
  32. Meibomian SxN

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    +1
  33. Tippytoe

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    +2

    And I will add that commercial positions are becomming more and more difficult to secure as well.

    I do hear that there are a few prisons in the U.S. that do not yet have an optometrist (but most already have a desperate contract OD providing eye exams for felons just to make ends meet not to mention the ones stepping through feces to make a buck in nursing homes).

    When I first opened up years ago I bid on a prison contract to work part-time as my private practice was growing. There were 7 ODs that bid on it and the winning OD was one that agree to give the child-molesters and rapists eye exams for $35. THAT's how bad it was even in the late 1990's. It's worse now.

    No joke.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  34. Optomchick

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    So the Optometrist I saw today at Lenscrafters said she was an employee of the company and gets benefits, how is that possible? I thought it was illegal? Maybe the Lenscrafters is privately owned?
  35. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Is this person in California? If so, I do not understand how that is possible. I am not completely familiar with the CA situation so perhaps it has changed but my understanding is that optometrists in CA were essentially employed by Eye Exam 2000 or whatever it's called and are paid a per diem rate. If she's getting health insurance, vacation etc. etc. then good for her!
  36. Optomchick

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    Yeah it was in CA, maybe she was employeed before the new laws? She has been working for LensCrafters for 10 years. She seemed to not even know that ODs couldn't legally be employees 0_o I'm going to ask her again when I go for my follow-up next week so see what's up with that haha.
  37. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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  38. PBEA

    PBEA Senior Member

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    I think its fair to say that what happens in a lencrafters is anything but optometry..................more like an overtrained optician performing refractions, with a random assortment of screening tests thrown in, for no particular reason other then attempting to "wow" the clientele with horsehit.
  39. Optomchick

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    So I went back to LensCrafters for my follow-up appt. Saw a different OD and she told me the same thing: Optometrists that work for Lenscrafters in CA are EMPLOYEED by Eye-Exam of CA, so they get full BENEFITS, such as health and dental insurance and vacation time. They also do not need to worry about paying rent for the lease since they are not lease-holding doctors. So CA actually IS one of those states where ODs can be employeed by companies.
  40. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Wow. Go figure.

    I still wouldn't work there. lol
  41. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    This is getting to be more common. I guess as long as the "company" is OD or MD controlled this is legal. What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that if you saw the number of patients each day that these retail jobs require, you'd make a lot more money in your own practice.
  42. Shnurek

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    That's fine. I'd rather make $90,000 in a private practice or better yet go to where my services are actually needed and not saturate myself like a lot of ODs like to do. Especially now with more females in the profession that enjoy being near big cities, I think the future is bright for adventurous people that don't have to be near a forever 21 or all of their family or a high class restaurant.
  43. Optomchick

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    Well someday I'd like to have my own practice, but obviously you have to start somewhere. Most private practice associate positions are taken or non-existent, so starting off in a full-time position with benefits, even if it is "corporate" sounds good to me.
  44. Optomchick

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    Except a private practice wouldn't be able to bring in this many patients. At Lenscrafters the prices were very low, i ended up paying $45 with my AAA discount, even tho i was originally told it would be $95, so im not sure what happened with that haha. But ya before I got on these threads, I didn't even realize there were private practices, and I don't think the average person is going to go to some small in the woods doctor when there's a big shiny box right next door to them offering exams at half the price. I'm not saying this is a good thing, but that's the reality.
  45. CL Doc

    CL Doc

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    The ODs at Americas Best in my general area are required to see 8 exams an hour. You have any idea what that would be like? I'd rather work on an assembly line buildings cars.
  46. Optomchick

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    I'd rather see too many patients than too few...I guess I'm more concerned about not even finding full-time work in corporate by the time I graduate...
  47. PBEA

    PBEA Senior Member

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    horsehit, this may come as some surprise to you but there are ALOT of people who avoid malls like the plague (I'm one of them). I can think of nothing more depressing then going to "the mall" for anything (and I dont care how cheap it is), let alone an "eye exam"....puke..... Time for a reality check, lots and lots of corporate offices are dead with little to no volume. Their flagships stores end up carrying these stores until corporate finally decides to shut them down, often after taking losses for 10 years or more. Working in that setting is even more depressing, waiting as your skills wither with your income potential. Whereas PP is the holy grail of optometry, and is better in every single category. Hands down it isn't even close.
  48. q1we3

    q1we3

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    You can't be serious.:eek:
  49. Optomchick

    Optomchick

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    When I had vision insurance, I went to my regular Medical Foundation and saw the OD there. Then just a couple years ago, when i switched insurance i didn't have vision coverage, so I went to Walmart, Costco, Lenscrafters...etc. No one in my family wears glasses so I don't have like a family OD haha.
  50. Optomchick

    Optomchick

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    The Lenscrafters in my town isn't in a mall and had a very high volume of patients, im not sure what else to say, besides that my generation doesn't avoid malls...it's our habitat...maybe older folks go to their regular PP OD out of habit, but to save money, they may be considering other options, like dare I say, stepping into a mall.
    Ya someday when I have money saved up, it would be nice to open up a modern practice in my town but I don't mind starting out in a corporate setting.

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