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solo practice income??

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by mmp, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. mmp

    mmp Junior Member
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    Hi yall,

    Just curious what's the range of income a solo practice make before and/or after overhead? And the number of years an OD need to practice to obtain that kind of income??
     
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  3. vtrain

    vtrain Senior Member
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    According to this month's "Review of Optometry," the
    avg for self employed optometrists is $137 030 and the median for all optometrists is $120 227. Net % of Gross revenues averaged 27.4% The average work week is 39.75 hours, with ODs under 5 years of experience working the most, at 49 hours. Hope this helps.
     
  4. OD or Not

    OD or Not Junior Member
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    the figure are not true. it will be really hard for an OD to earn over 40/hr while having over 100k of debt. just go to optometric.com and seniordoc.org, you will see all the talk about how optometry sucks. quick, before they censor all the negative talks/truth about optometry. also check out the figure by us government. OD earns about 75k-80k/yr. nothing special. I won't do it again. the whole experience sucked.
     
  5. christie

    christie Senior Member
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    Apparently you chose the wrong career, sorry to hear that. But many of us haven't, so don't bring your negativity to this forum, please.
     
  6. Eyegirl2k7

    Eyegirl2k7 Bridget Jones here
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    Um, I just visited both those sites. Please don't try to tell me that there is a ton of negativity on these sites. I went into the discussion forums on each site and found two, maybe three negative threads among the whole rest of them. Sure there are drawbacks to the profession--every profession has them.

    I have shadowed six optometrists with 1-40 years of practice, and all of them are happy doing what they're doing in commercial work, hospitals, and private and group practices.

    I'm sorry for whatever negative experiences you've had, but don't try to tell us that optometry sucks. It doesn't.

    Luv,
    Eyegirl
     
  7. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    I'm surprised I am posting this, I never tell this type of thing, but I hope it clear things up. As most of you know, my father has been a private practicing OD for 30 yrs. His office takes in over a half million dollars per year and he nets approx $200,000. I'm not posting this to brag, but just so show that if you care about what you do and treat your patients with respect, you will be rewarded. We live in a city of about 62,000 people, not very big. There are 6 (I think) other private ODs, along with several chain stores. Even with that competition, we have a very succesful pratice. OD or Not is correct in one respect, if you go an work for a chain, your income is limited.

    Just because OD or Not hates his job, does not mean we will. I know plenty of MD's that truly hate their jobs. There are many that even leave medicine. No matter what carrer you choice you are never promised happiness. You need to really look at what you want and then choose. Clearly OD or Not did not do this.
     
  8. OD or Not

    OD or Not Junior Member
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    don't try to impress the potential student with your figure. you will be luck to net 30% of your gross. 200K out of 500k+ will be aroud 35-40%. a little too high there. but if your dad does net that much, more power to him. bwt pco and ico does a good job weeding people out even after 3rd yr. oh ya, don't take my word for it. you will experience the 'wonderful world of optometry' after 2007. if there is no suffering, one won't know the joy. so let the pain begin. hahahahahah
     
  9. christie

    christie Senior Member
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    I don't know if you attended PCO, but your wrong when you say they weed people out.

    They do EVERYTHING they possibly can to keep their students here, from school psychologists on the first floor, to weekly optics workshops, where students go to the board to do problems, and the convenience of a one-on-one tutor for free. This is ALL provided by PCO, so that everyone can get through the rigurous curriculum. :)
     
  10. OD or Not

    OD or Not Junior Member
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    I know about PCO. about 8% of your classmate will be gone by the time of your 3rd yr. don't take my words for it, ask your upper classmates. and those who should be gone actually stayed since parents are the big contributors to the school. they were given more than necessary time/help than your fellow student whose parents were poor. don't believe me? just wait and see.
     
  11. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!!
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    8% of your class is gone at almost EVERY optometry school.. that doesn't make PCO, ICO or even UHCO a bad school. Our class started with 96 and ended up with 88 this year (second year). Like PCO we have school counselors, tutors, group study sessions, review sessions.. the only way to get "WEEDED OUT" is to FAIL your classes. They don't TRY to do this to people.. 3 people in our class realized they didn't like it and left.. they weren't forced to leave they just left. 1 person failed first semester optics (ONE!).. 1 person failed optics II (ONE PERSON).. I think only one person failed physiology.. so, yes, about 8 or nine people in our class won't be there next year (pharm usually fails about four or five people) but it's NOT the fault of a school "weeding' out.. at our school it's the stress of passing a competency exam and taking 20 hours a semester.

    And I don't blame OD or Not for posting negative aspects of the career.. there are negative aspects. It's good that we hear the negative aspects so you consider all sides of a perspective career. HOWEVER, I do have issues with people taking glee in telling us about their bad experiences and trying to steer people away from their own personal calling. I don't care if I make only 60k a year.. if I like what I do (and I will) I'll be happy. So what if I had to work corporate for a few years to help pay off loans (most people nowadays do at first), eventually i can save up enough to buy into a practice. Voila.. instant revenue.

    Do what you love and you'll be happy. I'm sorry you chose the wrong profession... hopefully you can find something you like to do and be happy human again. Best of luck to you.
     
  12. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    I never really bought into the whole weed-out idea. What is the benifit to the school for doing such a thing? There is none. All the school gets out of it is less money. The great thing about programs in the health field is that schools have to try and help us succeed, or they go broke. That is why most schools, like ICO and PCO, offer free tutors. The weed-out idea comes from student that could not hack-it in the difficult classes. Sure there are certain classes that take a few students out, just like in undergrad there is Organic. I'm thankful for those classes, they help improve the profession.
     
  13. OD or Not

    OD or Not Junior Member
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    well, school takes in more students than necessary, that's a lot of tuition. then weed them out answering the call of reducing new optomtric graduate #s, which was said by practitioners for yrs. it's the game we all play.

    there are waaaay too many optometrists. all of you guys are still in the student mode. you will wake up to reality upon graduation. no need for me to tell you how bad things are. it will be the utilmate for you to find out after 4 yrs and 100k+ loan. ya, the that will be the ULTIMATE. HAHAHA
     
  14. TAL

    TAL Senior Member
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    OD or Not,

    What exactly is it about optometry that you don't like? Do you feel like you are not making enough money? It is my opinion that if you feel like you can't "make it" on your bare bones $70K corporate gig, then you have other problems. Don't blame optometry for 1) your poor financial decisions, or 2) your laziness.
     
  15. Eyegirl2k7

    Eyegirl2k7 Bridget Jones here
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    I forget how to use the ignore troll button. I'm serious. Can someone tell me how to ignore this person? I'd appreciate it.
    Luv,
    Eyegirl
     
  16. OD or Not

    OD or Not Junior Member
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    i am not here to bash anyone, just my point of view. interesting enough some A**Hole send me some really pretty email try to silence me. well the more nasty you get, you will get 10X back.

    as for eyegirl, optometry is not bad for a girl if you want to work PT and not on call. salary is better garbage man as the A**hole put nicely in the email sent me.

    good luck with your choice, as i said, i do regret spending 4 yrs and lot of dough for this. as always not even everyone like ice cream , let along optometry.

    if the [email protected]#hole is reading, bring it on, i always enjoy a fight, good or nasty
     
  17. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!!
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    plese refrain from personal attacks and name calling. If you start a flame war with a user on the board you will be banned from the site. if you have something to say to a particular user please do so through PM's, but if it results in personal attacks please know that the user can report you and you will be barred from posting.
     
  18. Tyra

    Tyra Member
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    OD or Not...

    Although you don't have the best manners and are going about voicing your opinion all wrong (in my opinion), I would actually like to hear the specific reasons for your strong discontent. If you wouldn't mind, could you share the actual instances and details for the reasons you feel the way you do? Just curious...
     
  19. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    Also, please post:
    -where you went to school
    -where you have worked (state and places)
    -how long
    -your reason for entering OD school
    -your plan to "improve" your situation

    It is good to hear all sides, but claims without support do nothing for us.

    Thanks
     
  20. rose13

    rose13 Member
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    OD or Not:

    Please also post WHEN (first year of school, last year of school, after a short time in practice, etc.) you decided that optometry was not for you.
     
  21. TomOD

    TomOD Senior Member
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    Just wanted to add another view from a practicing OD in a 2 year old "cold" start-up practice. It IS possible to have a great life working in Optometry. I am my own boss. I make $80,000/year in only my second year and fully expect to pass the $100,000 mark next year. I have no problems whatsoever paying off student loans. I have purchased a new home, a Lexus, had a baby, and still have money to invest fully in a Roth IRA. I am in the process of purchasing a new free-standing office. 70% of my practice is in Ocular disease. Only 12% of my income comes from material sales. A large portion of my referrals come from internists and pediatricians and PA's.

    It IS a tremendous amount of work. VERY hard work. Most people are not willing to work this hard. It's networking, sucking up, proving yourself, courting referrals...... but mostly VERY HARD work with 70 hour work-weeks. But with time, it all falls together. Some of my friends went to Walmart. They regret it.
     
  22. HighlyFanatic

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    tom im curious, are you in a rural setting or in an urban area?
     
  23. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    TomOD,
    Thanks for chiming in, I was waiting for you input. It is good to hear that a starting out OD can suceed so well without taking the chain store route. Congrats on your Lexus...oh yea, and the baby.:D
     
  24. TPMOH

    TPMOH Senior Member
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    Tom OD- I'm just curious, why do so many OD's regret going into the corp optometry route? I personally know some OD's in the hometown where I grew up that love that mode of practice. One of them is the main lease holder at the local Walmart & he says he makes around 6 figures working 3 days per wk. There is a very high patient load for all of the opt chains in the area (Sears & DOC also). He said that he's been in various forms of practice, including private practice & the Walmart situation was his favorite- he's been there since 1995. He said he just gets to concentrate on giving eye exams, has no pressure being a salesperson (he felt that he had to "push" glasses in private practice mode just to get by), and Walmart pays for the opticians and opt asistants. I guess I just don't understand why so many other OD's dislike it so much- it seems pretty laid back- just seeing patients all day and not having all of the other stuff to worry about. My first choice of practice is to work for an OMD out of school, if the salary is right (I'll be 37 and I'll be married and ready to start a family, so I'll have to make good $ right out of the gate with my loan debt). An OSU grad from a couple of yrs ago told me that the range is pretty big on what OMD's offer- one of his classmates got 60K, another got lucky and was offered 120K. If I don't get a good OMD opportunity, I will probably look into Corp practice.
     
  25. TomOD

    TomOD Senior Member
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    Fanatic,

    I am in a community of about 300,000. There are 37 OD's and 12 Ophthalmologists and about 3 independent Opticians. Out of those 12 OMD's, 3 are openly anti-Optometry (they are older, do little surgery and are in direct competition with some OD's practicing medical eye care- ME! The other 34 are great and I work well with them).

    TPMOH,

    I was afraid someone was going to ask me this. Corporate Optometry is and always has been a black-eye for Optometry. So much so, that the AOA at one time forbid membership to commercial OD's. Because of financial pressure, commercial OD's were allowed, and now encouraged, to join the AOA. There is strength in numbers and organized Optometry needs ALL OD's to contribute for legislative purposes....to maintain and expand practice scope and for inclusion into managed care programs.

    BUT, aside from this need, the VAST MAJORITY of Optometrist (at least those in private practice and those employeed in a professional settings) view commercial OD's as sell-outs.

    They give Optometry a poor image. They give the public the image of a quickie exam in the store between the hairdresser and the cigarette shop!

    There is a growing rift in Optometry between those in professional practice and those in Corporate.

    I know a few OD's in commercial places like Walmart and Lenscrafters. I have even worked in Sears (briefly, luckily). These places are more-or-less refraction mills. When I went to Optometry school, I thought much in the same way you do. I though it would be very cool to refract some people, give them contacts or glasses and make some good money in the process. What a cool job! What I found out was that doing 20-30 refractions per day and nothing else bored me out of my mind. You get no respect at Walmart or Sears. People don't go there to see you, they go to get a quick or cheap eye exam or for 2 for 1 glasses. I can't tell you how many patients I have seen that had no idea who gave them there last eye exam, only that it was at Walmart. There is also a high turnover at most commercial places and you will always have a boss. Sometimes, it will be a guy who was in the garden shop last week that got promoted to the optical shop. You will answer to him.

    Commercial entities are not dumb. They have OD's there to write eyeglasses prescripitions so they can sell the hell out of glasses. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you realize that your only purpose of being there is to write eyeglasses rx's. You can not have a vision therapy, low vision, ocular disease etc. practice at Walmart or any other corporate place. You may not be selling glasses directly but if you don't write a certain number of spectacle prescriptions and they don't walk next door to fill them, you will be out. It doesn't matter if you have been there for 10 years, they will give you 3 months (if your lucky) to get out. I know people this has happened to.

    So the bottom line. The OD's that work commercial are just as qualifed and do a great exam. They just hold back the profession and cheapen it in the eyes of the public and, more importantly, in the eyes of other professionals. You don't see OB/GYNs or Podiatrists or Chiropractors or Dentist or anyone else at Walmart (or the mall). The reason is that the corporation can't make material sales off of them. They use Optometrist like a cheap prostitute. The money is good initially ($80,000- $100,000 from the start if you want to work 60 hours/week, nights and Sat and sometimes Sunday- depending on if the store managers wants you there). But it usually peaks there because they can always get another new OD to work cheaper. AND there is a push by Opticians to gain independent refracting rights. This is already beginning to happen in Canada. Once Opticians get to refract, who do you think the superstore will be hiring to do their refractions? An Optician with 1 or 2 years of school and no debt will easily be able to give a quick 5 minute refraction (and be very good at it) for $15. All commercial OD's will be out overnight.

    IMO, private practice is the way to go. You can be your own boss, make much more money and, most importantly, at least for me, take off as much or as little time as I want. You also have the respect of many more folks. You will be embarased to tell people that you work at the Eyeglass-O-Rama.

    I have an article coming out in the January edition of Optometric Management on staring a cold practice. If you can't get the copy, I think you can view it online at www.optometric.com

    I am also on the editorial board of New OD magazine (a quarterly publication of Opt. Management). If you guys get into OD school, these magazines will be great educational tools for you....at least they were for me.

    I am happy to answer any other questions.
     
  26. TPMOH

    TPMOH Senior Member
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    Tom OD- in your experience, what do you see OMDs paying new OD grads? Like I said before, this would be my first choice in mode of practice after I graduate. I think it would give me great disease experience and I could learn alot from the OMD. I just don't know how I could swing the OD private practice thing- I'm just too old and will have much more student loan debt than the average OD student right out of school, plus like I said me and my future wife plan to start a family soon after I graduate. Also, Tom- about how much does one make as a fill-in OD? Thanks.
     
  27. rose13

    rose13 Member
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    Tom OD noted in a previous post his experiences in starting up a practice "cold turkey." I taught school and worked in corporate america, and to be quite honest, nothing about his experiences are new. All jobs require one to "network, suck up and prove themselves." For example the majority of teachers want to leave the classroom for jobs that involve less student contact; there it is not so much about proving yourself (pretty much all of us have a master's degree, continuing education requirement), it is who you know. Networking is just a fact of one's professional life.

    There are unhappy people in all professions; some burn-out; some made the wrong decision. I think the bottom line for any profession is planning. You have to have a plan before you commit yourself something as important as your career.

    Also, I think many of the things in optometry are trickling down to other aspects of medicine. When I first became a member of my HMO, I was assigned a PCP. I became ill shortly thereafter and tried to go to the PCP. She would not see me because I did not have my permanent insurance card yet! I called my HMO and explained the situation and chose another PCP. Well, to my surprise, her office was located in a strip mall. I was ill, so I did not care, and she was just as competent as any other physician that I have seen. I have also noticed the proliferation of urgent care centers in strip malls, or very close to them (across the street). I mention this because people are bashing retail optometry, and while I am 100% against it, it think the commercialization of all aspects of medicine is here to stay. So what should we, as future practitioners, do about it?

    Anyone have any suggestions?

    Also, does anyone know how managed care is affecting optometry?
     
  28. christie

    christie Senior Member
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    rose,

    I have a test tomorrow on this stuff, and one of the questions is how is manged care affecting optometry :)

    There are positives and negatives with this area. On the positivie side, managed care is cost-effective. Optometrists are increasingly becoming recognized as prmary eye care providers. With this, OD's receive more patients and also receive more referrals. Regardless, as OD's serving the primary level, we can at least get patients into the office for basic care.


    On a negative side, although managed care is cost-effective, there are some people who are unable to afford to pay the deductables of their plan, and therefoe receive no healthcare. Others have a pre existing condiion that dequalifies them from receiving health care. As OD's serve the primary care level, it increases the expectations of our profession. We will be epected to detect and treat many diseases and disorders and possible malpractice could increase.


    For OD's to be recognized as PCP's, more respect is insured from ophthalmologists and other MD's. They should be more willing to allow us to co-mange along with them. For example, co-manage diabetes with an MD or refractive surgery with an ophthalmologist. There are also more laws expanding our use of therapeutic drugs. There is also an expansion of insurance vision plans. Also, joining networks would help in dealng with insurance companies and make us more of an active voice regarding health care politics.
    :)
     
  29. TomOD

    TomOD Senior Member
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    An Ophthalmologist-employed OD usually makes from $60-90,000 and this will vary by location, length of career and type of practice. Some of these OD's are "glorifed technicians" who do most of the refracting that the Ophthalmic Techs can't get to, or they do the contact lens fitting or Low vision. Some handle ocular disease but this will vary greatly on the setting. In most cases, I wouldn't count of a high volume of medical cases in an Ophthalmolgy setting.

    Your best bet for eye disease is private practice (the more rural the more sick the eyes) or VA work.
    -----------------------------

    A fill in OD in eastern NC will make $300-$400 a day. There is a market for a traveling "fill-in" mostly at commercial places. You can be full-time doing fill-ins if you were in a large market and enjoyed doing refractions all day 6 days per week.
    -------------------------------

    Optometry is well-entrenced in managed care. My practice is 92% managed care. Big players in Optometry are Medicare, Medicaid, VSP (vision service plan), BCBS, Aetna, Tricare and whatever is in your local area. The private pay patient is become rare due to many employers offering vision care programs (which is a relatively low cost benefit to provide). The worse part about managed care is that some are closed to new providers, some don't allow Optometrists on their panel (not too many). You may have a population of a million wanting to see you but can't because you are not on their insurance plan (of course, they can pay out-of-pocket, but don't count on it).

    FWIW, I was 31 when I graduated from OD school
     
  30. OD or Not

    OD or Not Junior Member
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    what tom said was very true. most insurances offer vision plans, so you do get patients coming in see you. but most insrance only pay for visit once every 1-2 yrs. if patient has a eye problem/allery/infection/ca... are you doing a comp or charge full fee? how about follow-ups? only medicare pays for most stuff you do, that's if patient don't join a medicare hmo plan.
    of course when insurance get involve, reinbursement goes down.

    what about all those OD excluded insurance plans?

    as for christie, the stuff just sounds like your classnotes. they just try to pump you up in the classroom. i am not sure how the instructor really believe what he/she was saying. if the stuff in the notes came true, we won't have OD working in Walmart/Costco/target/chainstore...

    just my 0.02
     
  31. Eyegirl2k7

    Eyegirl2k7 Bridget Jones here
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    This is just a random question (due to my neuroses). What's going to happen to optometrists' niche in the marketplace when and if opticians get permission to refract?

    :eek:
    Luv,

    Eyegirl
     
  32. AT747

    AT747 Junior Member
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    Eyegirl,

    You don't need to worry about it! Just like the fact that optomologists have been successful in preventing ODs from doing any lasik procedures. Optometrists would also oppose the passage of any law that would give opticians the refracting rights. If a state decides to grand refracting rights to opticians, by the same argument, simplicity of the procedure, that state must also provide lasik rights to OD's.
     
  33. rpames

    rpames Optometrist
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    I was talking to my dad about lasik right to OD's and I was all for it. Then my dad asked how I felt about giving refraction rights to optician, of course I was against it. It is a terrible loop.
     

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