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Optometrist at WalMart

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by cuneatus2, 07.29.10.

  1. cuneatus2

    cuneatus2 Member

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    A friend of mine said you could make between 200-300K a year as an optometrist at WalMart.

    What do you guys think?
  2. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Incredibly rare. The only way to pull that off is to be the lease holding doctor and almost certainly with multiple leases.

    If you're working for the lease holding doctor, no chance at all.
  3. Ryan_eyeball

    Ryan_eyeball Senior Member

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    KHE hit the nail squarely on the head. The situations are rare, and you have to get out of a state with an OD school most likely.

    I have three leases, and netted $249,000 last year from Walmart leases. I'm planning on cutting down to two offices after August. I used to work seven days a week, and now down to six days. Maybe in three years I might go down to five days a week. Taking Sunday and Mondays off.

    The owner always will make more than associate OD's.
  4. 4Eyes

    4Eyes

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    Around here, to my knowledge, all of the Walmarts just have one OD (the lease-holding OD). Their hours aren't insane, but I'm sure they could work more if they wanted to. They require Saturdays and two evenings a week. They stay busy, but there are slow times. Exams are something like $45, and many of them do some medicaid. And then Walmart takes 20%. I think some of the older docs who have been there a while have managed to negotiate them to 10-15%, but they don't budge with new docs (from what I've observed). I imagine the ones around here might net $90-120k. Just illustrating the point that has already been made...it can vary a lot depending on your area and your circumstances.
  5. blazenmadison

    blazenmadison

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    Congratulations on your high NET. Thanks for your contribution to the demise of optometry.
  6. Ryan_eyeball

    Ryan_eyeball Senior Member

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    There would be no demise IF private practices would actually pony up and pay new grads something reasonable. Commercial optometry has its place with pro's and con's just as private practice does.

    My long term goals are to still open a practice and see patients on my own terms. IMHO, Walmart has been a much more enjoyable experience than Luxottica ever was.

    The high net was from charging what OD's are worth. The lowest in town is $75 for a basic exam. OD's need to get out of this $45 mentality for basic exams or even ridiculous red eye visits. Drop low ball vision plans, and accept medical plans. Do glaucoma work-ups, pun. plugs, photos, foreign body removal.
  7. 4Eyes

    4Eyes

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    Kind of veering off-topic, but that's great that you can charge that there. Around here, it's $35 for an exam at Sam's, $45 at Walmart, maybe same for Eyeglass World or America's, $55 for an exam at the mall (not LC), $89 for a Lenscrafters exam, and $89ish at a private practice. EVERYONE is too scared to try raising fees. No one wants to be the first.
  8. Meibomian SxN

    Meibomian SxN

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    There's a lot of new grads who are interviewing now and finding out the cold realities of the profession :eek: Good luck!
  9. NCiDOC

    NCiDOC

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    Ryan,

    I am curious what you think would be "something reasonable" to pay new grads.

    What do you pay your ODs that work at the walmarts that you have the leases on?
  10. Ryan_eyeball

    Ryan_eyeball Senior Member

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    I have three leases currently, with one ending at the end of August 2010. Another doctor is taking it over, and I would rather he have the lease rather than try to work under me. Less headaches, and the store was only good for one doctor day a week anyways.

    Currently I am the only doctor at all three leases, and have a full time secretary that follows me to the store that I am at for the day. After August, the two Walmart's are separated by 12 miles, and i live close to one.

    Wal-mart went to a rent/day scenario in most states and got rid of fee splitting (20% structure). It used to be just a flat rate in my state ($300/month rent), and you could be in the office everyday of the month. Now, its detrimental to see zero patients a day, since you're being charged to just turn on the lights.

    Current fee structure is $33.92/day to use the office. I work about 26days/ month which is around $881 ($581 increase). Or go down to 22 days a month, and take Monday's off.

    A fair salary is hard to quote exactly. Student loans are ballooning for new grads. When I interviewed with doctors most just wanted an associate (3-4 days a week as an Independent contractor). A buy in to partnership would have to be offered, and 90k plus benefits.
  11. Optogal

    Optogal

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    If he didn't take this niche, someone else would have.

    There is a market for $35 eye exams because $35 eye exams are being purchased.

    Things may suck, but you can't blame market forces on the individuals who succeed at benefitting from them.

    If you want, set up shop across from his WMs, sell your services for a dollar less and take all his business away. It's perfectly ethical.
  12. Ryan_eyeball

    Ryan_eyeball Senior Member

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    # of reasons why People change OD's.

    1) Insurance changed.

    2) They were rude...Not the OD, but the receptionist, optician 95% of the time. Hire personalty, train skills!!!
  13. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    Anyone want to offer up a guess or a discussion as to how much new business a new grad would have to bring into a practice to cover $90k a year plus benefits?
  14. kiwi5frog

    kiwi5frog

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    I've heard some awful things about working for commercial type optometry settings (lenscrafters and the like). Is walmart set up differently? you (ryan eye) sound like you operate fairly independently like a private practice. Hopefully this is not off topic, but i have been curious as to how a "walmart optometrist" operates (...i dont have a walmart nearby...can't visit to ask myself....=\)
  15. JMU07

    JMU07

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    I don't know how WM works but I know with Pearle you can own a franchise instead of working in a corporate store. I worked at a franchise and the doctor's office operated completely separately from the optical. He signed all of our paychecks, not Pearle/Luxottica. I don't think Lenscrafters has franchises though even though they're owned by the same company.
  16. ksidoc

    ksidoc

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    About 2.5 times the $90k or $225,000 given that fixed overhead remains the same before the new associate came on board. This is where new grads have not a clue as to what it costs to run their own show. It is easy to walk into an already established practice and see existing patients, very few want to take the effort to actually help build their own patient base.
  17. KHE

    KHE Senior Member SDN Advisor

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    I don't think it would be as high as 2.5 times but you've sort of made the point for me. It costs a LOT more than just salary to bring someone on. Benefits, cost of goods, etc. etc.
  18. Ryan_eyeball

    Ryan_eyeball Senior Member

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    Its not easy to just up and start a new practice either. 50 years ago, there was plenty of opportunity to go into a community and start without competition. Now there is much more competition that start ups are becoming fewer and fewer.

    The best thing Optometry could do for itself: close 2-4 schools. I believe it would be easier to find opportunities in private practices if the number of OD's was less.
  19. ksidoc

    ksidoc

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    I could not agree more. The only problem is that the exact opposite is happening. Three new schools opened last year with more states wanting to open additional schools. Proposals will site that there are a lack of ODs. However, the majority of studies find a need in rural communities only, which is where the majority of young people do NOT want to live. Over saturation is a huge problem for our profession today and only goint to get worse in the future.
  20. ksidoc

    ksidoc

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    I guess I was also taking into consideration having to hire additional staff to support the addition of a new doctor. You would still have to account for loss of revenue to the owner if he/she took a day off and let the associate work instead. Either way, if not 2.5 times it is still considerably more than the $90,000 plus benefits quoted in the response.
  21. IndianaOD

    IndianaOD

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    A legitimate (non-biased) workforce study is desperately needed. The tools in the AOA won't get one done because they benefit from desperate new grads.

    Oversupply is the BIGGEST issue we currently face. Stupid money hungry osteopathic schools just keep opening up new OD schools.
  22. VA Hopeful Dr

    VA Hopeful Dr Senior Member

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    Technically we're not in the same boat you guys are, but at the rate this is going we'll soon have more American grads than residency spots for them. Imagine trying to find a job if you're not even licensed.

    I've got nothing against osteopaths personally, I just don't like their schools' philosophies these days.
  23. Optogal

    Optogal

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    What will happen in that case?

    In theory, is there enough residencies for all available med school grads?
  24. panamamike

    panamamike

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    I have a friend that's looking into taking over one of these Walmart leases. Clearly you have experience in the area. Would it be possible for you to provide some insight on things a person should know before taking over a lease?

    My buddy is a good guy, but he doesn't have much business sense. He described the lease situation to me and was surprised that the current lease owner hasn't given him much insight on how the Walmart lease system works, nor has he given him specifics about the lease itself.

    Do you have any recommendations you could share regarding what someone needs to know before taking over a Walmart lease?

    For example, I had a few general business questions off the top of my head regarding how this works.

    1: Does the current lease holder have the authority to transfer the lease?
    + Are there minimum requirements such as experience and credit score
    2: How long does a lease agreement last?
    Can Walmart choose to transfer the lease to someone else without your consent?
    3: How often is the lease renewed? Meaning how often can the terms of the cost be changed and if so, how does Walmart determine if the lease should go up?
    4: Are there any basic Walmart employee requirements?
    + Maximum hours of work
    + Employee medical insurance ect...
    + Staff size
    Hours of operation.
    5: Is there a standard set of Walmart Optometry Practice documents one can find on the net to review?
    6: Is there a need for a separate business cash account for managing employee payment and other practice related costs?

    Any help on the subject would be much appreciated.

    Regards,

    Mike
  25. PBEA

    PBEA Senior Member

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    1) no
    2) varies, but my guess is most new ones will be 1 year. Wally can term the lease anytime and for any reason. Typically your contract will have a 30 day out clause.
    3) as long as wally wants to renew. If anything changes in the contract on renewal it wont be in your favor
    4) technically in 2 door states they cant dictate any of those IC terms.......but they do anyway. Hours, vacation, days, holidays, etc.
    5) Sigh, not really directed at you, but it is very disturbing to me that an OD would feel compelled to scramble and learn how wally expects its ODs to practice. Godam fing lemmings
    6) separate from what? your personal account? lol Typically you will incorporate and yes the business will have a "sepearate" account.

    PS you do realize this threads is an old one
  26. panamamike

    panamamike

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    Thanks for responding. Yes I do realize this is an old thread, but figured the questions were on topic and relevant. Most of the time people get chastised for not using the search button, guess you can't win.

    Regarding question #1, If the current lease holder would want to do a transfer, what options would they have? How does Walmart normally handle the lease? Is there some sort of waiting list one should sign up on? Are there money down/investment requirements?

    Yes, this is a bit of a silly question, but figured I should ask. Based on your response, you're essentially saying that Walmart will expect the OD to incorporate.

    Well, it's a business, in business you have to understand the expectations of the other party and understand where you will or will not have freedom.

    Thanks again for the input.

    Regards,

    Mike
    Last edited: 07.11.12

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