Factors to Consider When Choosing a Profitable Frame Line

Sep 20, 2022
8 min read
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Frames in an optical are often just “maintained” but rarely strategically thought about from a diversity and profitability standpoint. In a typical practice with both a doctor and an optical, appropriately 20% of gross sales are from frames. The simplest answer of increasing the retail price is not the best answer for the office or for the customer. This article will go over a variety of ways you can save on the cost of frame expenses and maximize your profit margin.

Frame board space

You should establish a quantity of displayed frames your optical will carry. Within that total, each line should have their own frame board space allotment determined by the sales of that line.

  • High sales=more spaces
  • Lower sales=less spaces
  • Terrible sales=get rid of the line.

Keep your quantity in mind when you want to get something new and know that you’ll need to make room for it by getting rid of something else. This does not mean putting any unsold frames in a box in the back—get rid of them. Your reward for getting rid of them will be getting the new line. Have a discounted frame section or utilize a frame buy back program to keep the quantity you set on track.

Frame variety

Your practice’s location will somewhat be a guide for the type of buyers and thus the types of frames you need. Any optical should have a wide variety of styles and materials as well as a variety of price ranges within what you offer your customers.

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Having a frame for everyone can increase capture rate, but balancing the investment, savings, and quantity per line is extremely important in ensuring you don’t end up with unsold frames.

Many offices select frames based on what’s easiest to “maintain,” but again, not the wisest decision for style or profit reasons. I put together a short list of a variety of frame style categories and what my personal favorite brand is that fits in those categories.

My Personal Favorite Frames

Many of these brands offer ophthalmic and sunglass frames that have customizable lens options to whatever the patients needs/wants are. Sometimes the manufacturer gives different discounts off of wholesale for ophthalmic and sunglass frames, so don’t assume one brand will have the same discount.

What glasses frames to buy

Those who sell frames should also be the ones selecting the frames carried in the store. The sales people hear the good and back feedback while customers are looking for frames, deal with complaints about frames, and also handle all of the warranty replacement frames.

If your optical staffing allows, I would recommend having more than one frame buyer to ensure style diversity. Another factor to consider when choosing frame styles is what brands your nearby competition carries. You want to have a better variety than them and not sell the same thing. Carry and sell what is true to the customer demographic of your optical. Knowing about all of these aspects can aid in deciding what is purchased for your optical.

Insurance considerations

When you accept managed care plans your margin can become extremely tight. This is where all of the discount factors become incredibly important and can determine whether a frame is profitable or a loss. You must carefully consider and do the hard math on frames that managed care plans provide to you.

Far too often do I hear about practices that do not audit their explanation of payments resulting in them all the while they are actually losing money on frames that managed care plans provide.

Maximizing profit margin by saving costs on frames

There’s no way you can max out savings on all brands when you balance your board to keep the variety of frames that you should have. That is okay; some brands you’ll save more, some less, and some with no discounts—it is all about the totality of the health of your optical. The variety of savings will ultimately balance each other out.

The purpose of this article is to make you aware of all the options available. Some savings are continuous and some for a limited time. Be proactive in keeping good relationships with your frame reps so you can maintain communication about all offers and promotions.