There are no average optometry offices. But, as Peeq is growing, we are doing a variety of market research around offices, and so, we thought that we would share some of what we have found.
Average Office Makeup
Here is some information about the average optometric office in the United States.
- According to the May 2022, Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment and Wages Survey, there are 40,640 optometrists in the United States and 12,580 ophthalmologists. The average optometrist makes $133,100 (see table). According to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, there are 21,361 optometric “establishments” in the U.S.
- Optometry Offices employ 149,605 people (or roughly 7 people per office). Total wages across all optometric clinics in the United States is just under $8B in revenue. This data comes from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Laurie Sorrenson, OD wrote an excellent article about staff costs being approximately 20-25% of total costs in an optometry office – including both salaried and non-salaried workers.
- By reverse engineering the wages spent in 2022 combined with the data that we can discern from other sources – doctor plus wage costs are approximately $374,500 (average is more than one doctor per office) – meaning that average office size is approximately $1.5 million and total spending at optometrists is just around $32-35B in the U.S. This is consistent with global projections of $60B growing to $80B by 2030.
This information should provide you with some basic benchmarks for your office versus the industry. It also is helpful when seeking a loan or explaining to a parent-in-law that while your business is a main street business, the optometry industry is big business.
We consistently see other key performance indicators associated with offices. For example, the best overall report that we read was from Optometric Business (but it is from 2015). It is a fifty-page review that takes survey data from approximately 1900 offices and summarizes information across these offices – providing metrics and KPIs.
Here are a couple of those per-office metrics that we thought were both revealing and helpful.
- Revenue Per Exam. There were a number of metrics that were figured by using the number of exams as the denominator in an equation. The most often (and arguably best) is revenue per complete exam. The average per-patient revenue across all optometric clinics is about $306 according to the 2015 Optometric Business report. However, for private practitioners, Peeq’s prototypical client, according to a 2019 analysis, the revenue per exam number climbs to $484 (according to Care Credit analysis). Multiple good articles explain how an office can increase revenue on a per-exam basis through intentional offerings and training. There were a number of examples including offering prescription sunglasses consistently as an option (see this article for an example).
- Exam Data. The average number of complete exams per doctor in the 2015 analysis was 1.1 per hour. The highest decile offices were seeing more than 2.1 per hour. This is a significant difference in business. Related and more surprising was the number of active patients that had an exam in the 12-month period – 43% of active patients had an exam in the previous 12 months. The top decile was 77%. The average dentist is 90%.
- Eyewear/Contact Lens Sales. According to the 2015 OB article and confirmed in other places, eyewear sales average about 43% of optometric businesses revenue, and contact lens range around 16%. Thus about 60% of revenue is tied to glasses or contact lens purchases. The Care Credit report illustrated some interesting findings about eyewear sales. The spending on eyewear is increasing from 2017-2019 ($495 to $515 while in-office buys are decreasing. Capture rate, according to Care Credit, has ranged between 50-55% with 2019 representing one of the first years where capture is below 50%.
Collectively, this suggests some revenue may be bleeding off from eyewear sales over time – leaving the office with a little less in total revenue, but it is masked by increases in per-unit sales. This could be a shift in consumer behavior to online purchasing or simply a short-term hiccup tied to recent data.
One type of analysis that was less present in these reports but has been a consistent source of interest from optometrists to Peeq is information about how to do better marketing. For this reason, Peeq has compiled some internal data that we will share.
- According to the Optometric Business report, the average marketing cost per exam is $5.65. In the startup world, this is called the cost to acquire a customer or CAc. $5.65 represents a very low cost to acquire patients below every industry listed in the report. So, optometry is already doing pretty well. However, our conversations have often run towards issues about not knowing how to do marketing – and optometrists do benefit from selling a healthcare service that is geographic. Thus, with limited providers, optometrist marketing can be less direct and intentional as replacement products are often less convenient or preferred. Also, doctor’s offices are generally excellent at retention – meaning repeat buyers are common and make up the lion share of optometric business after an initial period of build-up.
- Most offices have Facebook and Instagram pages. These provide a variety of services to customers. Peeq’s snapshot analysis showed that a typical optometry office has 720 Facebook followers and 130 Instagram followers. Many offices are experimenting with TikTok, and some have Linkedin.
- Through Peeq’s analysis tied to callback rates, retention, and per-patient revenue – Peeq values 1 new Facebook/Instagram followers at $82.20 per year. Social media followers are more likely to be regular return buyers – increasing recall rates and patient retention. The average annual recall rate for the U.S. is 43% (see above) with an average of 28 months between exams. Social media for doctors is a key way to decrease the time between exams by creating compelling content that helps keep eye exams near the forefront of customers’ thoughts.
- And, repeat customers, particularly the right patients, matter. According to smile.io’s data on repeat customers, 41% of small business revenue is driven by 8% of customers. For optometry offices, this number is lower, but for some, there are clear patterns of the best “customer” patients. For example, for offices that are in suburbia, moms (specifically moms tend to be the primary healthcare decision maker in most houses in the U.S.) make not just one appointment – but often as many as five or six per year including husband, kids, and sometimes extended family. They also tend to be networked (social and IRL) with other parents who are making similar family decisions.
Hopefully, this summary of data is helpful to you. At Peeq, optometrists are our customers. We spend time thinking about your businesses, and so, we are happy to share some best practices from other offices and some data for you to compare. Please follow our socials (particularly Facebook and Instagram) and let us know if there is research that would be helpful to you and your office.