Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Attention all Barn Managers: Drowning in Paperwork? We Can Save You!

Barn Managers: Feel Like You're Drowning in Paperwork?

Automatic Recurring Billing: An Introduction for Barn Managers
If you are a busy barn manager -- and what barn manager isn't ridiculously busy?! -- then we have an easy, low-cost solution for helping you reduce paperwork and increase revenue.  It's called automatic recurring billing.  You are probably most familiar with this type of billing if you've ever belonged to a gym or health club.  You sign a membership contract, then provide your checking, savings or credit card information, and once a month your membership fees are automatically deducted out of your account.  You "set it and forget it."  Plus, you know exactly how much, and how often, your membership fee will be deducted from your account, making it easier to budget and plan your expenditures.

Boarding Barns and Health Clubs Have More Than a Few Things In Common...
For over 26 years EBCS has managed automatic recurring billing programs for gyms and similar service companies.  And if you think about it, your barn functions a lot like a gym.  Boarders are your "members," and enhancing "member retention" secures your revenue stream.  Your boarders sign a contract, just like you do at the gym, and then they pay you on a recurring basis for the use of your services and facilities -- again, not too different than the gym.  But here's the difference: about a decade ago, gym managers realized they didn't want to spend their time doing invoicing for multiple members with a recurring bill.  It was easier to set up EFT payments (electronic funds transfer, or automatic debits) through a billing company.  They outsourced the part of their business that was the most time-consuming and frustrating, so they could concentrate on running their fitness facility.  Sound familiar?

Our Billing Solutions for Gyms Have Been Modified to Benefit Equine Businesses Too
Well, we think it's about time that we offered a similar solution to boarding and training barns. EBCS has handled electronic recurring payments for so long, we are experts at it. And we don't just do the recurring billing, we also follow up on any returned or declined payments, and we send late notices and make phone calls to make sure that payments are received.  If you are having problems collecting money from a boarder or client, we can set up an autodebit payment plan for you, and pursue payment recovery for up to 120 days, at a fraction of the cost a traditional collection agency would charge.  Plus, we will handle all the personal contact, so you don't have to have any awkward conversations with boarders.

Cost-Effective and Easy to Implement
For less than $1.00 per transaction, and $10 per month for our complete financial reports package, you can walk away from your revenue collection headaches.  We offer a complete, turnkey recurring billing service.  This is not a "software-as-a-service" (SaaS) solution, so there is no expensive software to buy or learn.  Through our Online Client Portal, you can view your financial data 24/7, for easy posting to your accounting software package.  If needed, we can create customized reporting solutions for you.

Pay only for what you need -- our pricing is based on the number of accounts you send us.  Start by enrolling a few of your boarders or clients in our automatic billing program, to see how it works for you.  Find out how much you (and they) like it, and how easy it is to let a professional billing company handle all the work.  Then you can send us more accounts if you like.  If you have 10 boarders/clients, you will pay only for those 10 transactions each month.  We don't bundle our pricing in a monthly, one-size-fits-all package.

Getting started is easy.  We have a few simple forms for you to fill out, and we can help you create a customized boarding agreement that incorporates your boarders' banking or credit card information for automatic deductions.  You can send us a computer file containing your clients information, or we can do all the data entry for you.  As a special introductory offer, we will do all of the set-up for you at no charge.

Find out how you can start working smarter, not harder!  Call Suzanne, our in-house "horse expert" today. She would love to help you design just the right solution for your equine business.  410-252-9206 or 1-800-766-1918.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How Do We Help Veterinarians? Count the Ways...

In the current economic climate, more veterinary clients are making decisions about where to take their pet based on cost, and the availability (or lack of) payment plan options.  

If you are already offering payment plans through third-party financing, it may not be enough.  Some of your creditworthy clients are getting declined for such plans, as it has become more difficult to qualify.

EBCS offers you an additional option for increasing your case acceptance, reducing delinquencies, and improving client retention rates, all at no cost to your practice.  We can provide full support for an in-house payment plan, offered through your practice, but completely managed by our professional team.

For more information, call us at 800-766-1918, or contact us through our website,
Professional Payment Plan Management for Veterinary Practices

Benefits to your clients:

  • Manageable recurring payments to fit any budget
  • Multiple payment options:

o   Only need an active checking or savings account to enroll; credit card billing also available (card fees apply)

  • No Interest – NOT a financing plan

  • Flexible drafting dates for ease of budgeting

  • Auto-debit transactions are convenient for clients

  • Online account access allows clients to make changes to personal/banking info, view payment history, even make online payments

Benefits to your practice: 
  • Give clients additional options to help them pay, and reduce your receivables
  • Increase client retention & maintain goodwill
  • Instant credit & payment plan recommendations minimize the risk to your practice
  • Formalizing the payment plan process and using auto-debiting increases chances of getting paid, vs.  relying on informal agreements, or holding credit card information & post-dated checks – a security risk to your practice
  • Save time – stop worrying about making repeat phone calls, sending e-mails, letters & invoices
  • EBCS completely manages your payment plans, so no additional work is created for your staff:

o   E-mail reminder notices sent prior to debits (optional)
o   Our customer service team handles all inquiries regarding payment plans
o   We follow up on failed transactions: Courteous phone and e-mail contacts with clients
  • We can arrange payment plans for your current delinquencies, increasing your chances of payment recovery in full, up to 120 days
  • Our Online Client Portal provides web access to comprehensive reports: remittance, delinquency, and customized reports, for easy posting to your accounting package
  • No software to buy, learn, or integrate; we are a complete payment plan management service
  • You can create payment plans according to your terms and conditions, not ours

Stop losing 5 - 10% of your treatment fees!



All this at no cost to your practice* (see below)

* For instant credit & payment plan recommendations there is a one-time set-up fee and a nominal fee is charged for each credit inquiry



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dreaming of Ways to Escape the Barn Office?

Automating your board, training or lesson billing is easier than you think.  It really only involves five simple steps:

1.  Complete our Client Application and Service Agreement and return these forms to EBCS by fax or e-mail (call us at 800-766-1918 to have the forms sent to you.)

2.  EBCS will create auto-debit enrollment forms for your boarders (or students/clients) to fill out.  These forms will be customized to your specifications.

3.  Have your boarders complete the auto-debit enrollment form with their bank account or credit card information.

4.  Fax or e-mail the enrollment forms to EBCS.

5.  EBCS sets up your boarder's auto-debit account in our system.

That's it, you're done!  The next board payment will be automatically debited, and the debits will recur each month on the same date!

Even better, we will electronically deposit your money into your bank account for you, twice each month.  No more carrying around board or lesson checks for weeks at a time, just because you haven't had a chance to get off the farm and get to the bank (and believe me, we hear this all the time!)

And, just to get you really excited...if there is a problem with an auto-debit, EBCS handles all the follow up to straighten out any problems.  We have experienced customer service representatives who are experts at managing situations in which a payment declines or returns.  That way, you don't have to worry about these exceptions...we'll take care of it for you, and there's no need to have an awkward conversation about payments with your boarders, students or clients.

It really is that simple.  Give us a call, and we'll help you get out of that barn office and get some barn chores done, some lessons taught, and some horses ridden!

Friday, February 7, 2014

How Much Would You -- Could You -- Spend on Lifesaving Treatment for Your Pet?

Most of us who love our animals say that we'd spend whatever it takes to keep them alive...until we see the bill for an emergency procedure or costly surgery. Below I've included a link to an article, written for veterinarians, that explores the ways practices can bridge the gap so clients don't have to choose "economic euthanasia." How much would you, or could you spend, on your animal's care? What would help you say "yes" to that life-saving treatment, if the cost exceeds what you have in your bank account today?

While more and more veterinarians are offering third-party financing for clients who can't pay in full, it is becoming harder for some clients to qualify for these programs.  If a client does get approved, it is important that they thoroughly read the terms and conditions that apply to these types of deferred-interest payment plans.  These plans can be a great solution for individuals who 1) qualify and 2) can pay off their balance within the interest-free promotional period specified (usually 6 to 12 months.)  However, if you can't do that, you may be hit with a hefty (26.99%) interest rate that is retroactive to the date of purchase -- meaning that interest is charged on the entire balance you financed.  Moreover, some clients don't realize that if they are late on a single payment, these same terms apply...they will be charged 26.99% interest on the full amount owed.  For more information about the pros and cons of these medical credit cards -- which can be used for other medical services, not just veterinary -- you may want to check out Fox Business's review, Five Tips When Comparing Health Care Credit Cards.

In the past few years, a new, no-interest payment plan model has emerged as an alternative to third-party financing.  There are a few companies across the U.S. that are marketing these plans, and the response -- from both veterinarians and their clients -- has been positive.  Generally these payment plans involve a series of automatic drafts from a clients' checking, savings or credit card account, and allow clients to extend payment over a certain period of time, typically ranging from 3 to 12 months.   There is usually a "soft" credit check involved, which is a type of credit inquiry that does not affect a client's credit score ("hard" credit checks can lower an individual's credit score by about 5 points for as long as 6 months.)  The soft credit check will yield a recommendation for the payment plan, which helps the vet practice determine the amount of the down payment, and the length of the payment period.  Once that has been established, the client is enrolled in an automatic draft program, so payments are electronically debited and deposited in the practice's bank account.  This eliminates the need for the client to remember to mail checks, and it increases the chance that the vet is going to receive payment.

Most of these no-interest payment plan programs involve a small enrollment fee for the client (usually around $25), and there may be an additional surcharge added to each monthly payment (usually $2 to $5.)

The companies that are offering these plans can provide follow up on failed transactions, and can even undertake collection activity if needed, although the extent of follow-up services available varies depending on the company.

The popularity of these types of programs is growing, in part since the overall cost to the vet practice tends to be lower than the cost of offering third-party financing, which may result in 5 to 10% of the vet's treatment fee taken off the top.  Other services may cost less than 5%, while some actually do not cost the vet practice anything at all.  And of course, veterinary clients like these plans.  Some are distrusting of third-party financing, others simply don't want to take out another line of credit.  Most are just happy to have another option that allows them to affordably manage the expense of a costly or emergency veterinary procedure.

To read more about the cost of pet health care, as reported in an excellent article from the VeTeam Advisor, please follow this link: