Chiropractors and their incomes

Are you happy with your income so far this year?

The June 3, 2010 issue of Chiropractic Economics magazine is entitled “DCs: Are You Back in Black?” The feature article in this issue is a their “13th Annual Salary & Expense Survey”.

This survey was taken from a good number of practicing chiropractors spread evenly throughout the U.S. Here are some major points that I got out of the 3-year comparison chart on pg. 33.

1. Franchises are declining. According to the percent of franchises in our profession from 2008 to 2010, the number is dropping significantly. The chart shows 3.9% of chiropractors surveyed in 2008 had a franchise, 1.4% in 2009, and only 1% in 2010.

Why are franchises declining? I’m uncertain. I have heard a few past franchisees say they didn’t get what they expected out of the deal. Perhaps the marketing didn’t live up to the franchisees expectations.

2. Associates are up, almost double from what they were in 2008 and 2009. 9.4% of those surveyed had an associate. This could be due to the recent recession, as more graduates are looking for a job, since they are unable to get a loan to start their own practice. Yet, this number is also telling of the owners who hire the associates. Are practices growing in 2010 to the point where they can hire more associates so quickly?

3. Salaries and DC compensations are still low. While definitely up from last year’s depressing numbers, the 2010 average salary of $87,538 has not returned to the level observed in 2008. The lower salary could be explained by the increase in associate doctors, but the overall DC total compensation is still low as well at $112,368.

4. The average chiropractor’s advertising expense is embarrassing. A general rule in business, one I heard even in chiropractic school, was that you should spend at least 10% of your monthly gross collections on marketing. I realize this will not always be the case. Some times you spend more, like when you open a new practice for example. Other times you spend a bit less.

According to the study, the average gross collections for chiropractors in 2010 will be $323,421. Yet the average spent on marketing is projected to be only $10,660. This isn’t anywhere close to 10%! The amount spent on marketing by the average chiropractor is only 3% of their collections. This is actually down from last year’s average of 4.6% spent on marketing and 2008’s 3.7% spent on marketing. This means chiropractors on average are cutting back this year on their marketing spend. It doesn’t make any sense to cut back now, as the economy is showing signs of recovery and many business are hitting a growth spurt right now.

What lessons can you learn from this?

If you don’t want to have just an average practice, increase your marketing spend immediately. What better time for your marketing to stand out than now, when everyone else is still cutting back.

Of course, you shouldn’t waste your money on useless marketing that doesn’t work. It’s best to use direct response marketing to bring in new patients every week of the year.

If you’re spend increases on productive marketing, your practice can only grow. And then you’ll be far ahead the “averages” mentioned above.

Here’s a list of tools & products I recommend for helping you get more new patients in over the summer. Some are mine and others are excellent products from friends of mine who’ve proven themselves in the field of chiropractic marketing.

Use these tools now to bring in more new patients. Don’t waste the whole summer, thinking “everyone is on vacation, no one will come in.” Cut the excuses and grow your practice to the level you always wanted it to be!

The Ultimate Chiropractic Ads

Decompression Marketing

Internet Marketing for Chiropractors

Neuropathy Marketing

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6 Comments

  1. Dr. Beck,

    Great post, every year I look forward to reading the results of this survey. Since the declining economy my office has increased our marketing in several different niches and we are in the midst of our best year ever. I think you right, track your marketing, diversify your marketing efforts, figure out what is working the best and repeat. My office is striving towards the “10% rule” and it has paid off. Thanks for your help.

    Todd

  2. Great post Dr. Beck!
    I think you are dead on with your assessment that we as Chiropractors don’t invest enough in our marketing. I was shocked to read that as a profession we are now only contributing an average of 3% of our collections toward advertising! I knew the figure was low, but that was startling. If that trend continues it makes you wonder how long there will be collections to contribute from!

    With a slow economy the knee jerk reaction is often to cut back on all expenses, including advertising. That can be a deadly mistake…and it’s a mistake most D.C.s are still making.

  3. Love the stats Doc.

    Especially the percentage for Marketing. I’ve always been a huge proponent of “you’ve got to spend money to make money”. I never had any problems shelling out some cash on a Marketing event I new I would do very well with. I think the real reason this percentage is so low is because doctors don’t know what Marketing works and what Marketing doesn’t work.

    Bottom line… Now is the time for RockStar DC’s to be Marketing while all their competitors are backing off in fear of wasting their money.

  4. Terry A. Rondberg, DC at

    You are absolutely right on the mark with this post.

    It kind of reminds me of that old story about the business owner who thought advertising didn’t work. Of course, when he went bankrupt, what did he do? You got it — advertised the sale of his business. DCs can’t wait until they’re really to take out a Practice For Sale ad. They need to get their message out to people through effective marketing of ALL kinds. This is especially true in “hard times.”

    However, it’s important for them to track their results. Pull back on the things that don’t work and double up on those that do. Leave NOTHING to guesswork.

    Terry Rondberg, CEO, The World Chiropractic Alliance

  5. Thank you for this information, Dr. Beck. The DC should pull their marketing to the highest pick, if they want to increase the economy of chiropractors.

  6. Quick at

    Thats Great post, every year I look forward to reading the results of this survey. Since the declining economy my office has increased our marketing in several different niches and we are in the midst of our best year ever. I think you right, track your marketing, diversify your marketing efforts, figure out what is working the best and repeat. My office is striving towards the “10% rule” and it has paid off.

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