Operating a cash practice chiropractic clinic does have both pros and cons for both patients and doctors of chiropractic alike
In a world where you can get most anything with a debit or credit card, the idea of creating a cash-only practice may seem foreign. But many businesses today rely primarily on cash payments, some of which include food trucks, lawn care services, pet groomers and walkers, and laundromats. Setting up a cash practice chiropractic clinic offers several benefits, potentially making this approach worth leaning into.
Pros of a cash practice chiropractic clinic
One of the major advantages of being cash-only is not having to pay processing fees. These fees generally range from 1.5% to 3.5% per transaction for credit cards. The federal government sets the limit for debit card transaction fees, which is currently 0.05% plus $0.21 per transaction. Both types of fees can greatly reduce your total revenues if a large majority of patients typically pay with a card.
As an example, if your practice collected $300,000 in credit card payments last year, you would have paid between $4,500 and $10,500 in processing fees, on average. Do the same for 10 years and the total amount paid grows substantially, costing your practice between $45,000 and $105,000 in lost revenues.
Another benefit of creating a cash-only practice is that the monies are received immediately. You don’t have to wait the standard one to two days for the credit card company to make the transfer. This time gap is eliminated, making the monies available for use the moment they’ve been paid.
You also don’t run the risk of the credit card company issuing a chargeback, reversing your patient’s electronic payment. These reversals can be initiated by a patient if they feel that the quality of your service did not meet their expectations.
Chargebacks can be frustrating to deal with as a business owner. One reason is that they require your practice to prove that the transaction was legitimate. If your proof is deemed insufficient, not only do the funds get returned to the patient but you may be required to pay a fee as well. This increases your practice’s loss even further.
The process of appealing a chargeback can also be somewhat lengthy and complex. Case in point: Mastercard’s chargeback guide for merchants is 608 pages long.
What are the drawbacks of being cash-only?
Being a cash practice chiropractic clinic does have a couple of cons. One is that it may be inconvenient for patients who rely primarily on their credit or debit cards for their purchases. Another potential drawback is that it may increase your risk of being audited.
Because payments are not received electronically, they can be harder to verify for tax purposes. This type of setup also makes it easier for unscrupulous business owners to not report part of their income to avoid paying taxes on it.
A third drawback is that you may have increased security concerns. Having a lot of cash on the premises could make your practice more appealing to a local burglar, making it important to institute stronger security measures.
How to lean into a cash-only practice
Leaning into a cash practice chiropractic clinic requires reducing these drawbacks as much as possible. One option for increasing patient convenience is reinforcing that it is a cash-only practice in your appointment reminder texts and emails so they remember to hit the bank before coming in. If there is an ATM nearby, this can be helpful information too.
If you face resistance for being cash-only, you may be able to reduce the friction by sharing the benefits of paying for your services and products with cash. Finance expert Dave Ramsey shares that these benefits include not spending money you don’t have, spending less overall, not paying fees or interest, and a reduced risk of identity theft.
To lessen your likelihood of being audited, use an accounting software program that collects and records all patient payments as thoroughly as possible. This helps create a paper trail for monies received.
Improving practice security requires creating policies and procedures for safe cash management. This might involve having a safe on-site that can only be accessed at certain times, and only by authorized staff. Depositing monies received daily, or several times throughout the day can reduce the amount of cash kept on site. Installing a security system can also help deter criminal behavior, making this another viable option.