Article

NEW GRAD

A Smart Choice

A look at 6 reasons [+ 2 business models] why corporate optometry is a great choice for new grads

WAVEBREAKMEDIA / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

CORPORATE OPTOMETRY is a popular option for new graduates. And with good reason.

Beginning a career in optometry as an employed O.D. within a corporate entity provides several benefits that are attractive to a young doctor: steady above-average income, good benefits, stability, and a desirable work-life balance. Furthermore, the ability to quickly transition to owning their own business is easily accomplished in corporate optometry with many sublease opportunities.

Here, we outline six reasons why young O.D.s might choose corporate optometry…and we break down the employment and sublease business models.

EMPLOYMENT MODEL

Under the employment model, the optometrist is a straight employee of the corporate optical chain. Studies have shown that young, new-grad O.D.s prefer being employed over self-employed (more than older generations of optometrists).

Here’s why:

» Financial Stability. When a new optometrist is still repaying student loans, debt can easily begin to grow. The financial stability of being an employed O.D. within corporate optometry has provided many young doctors the ability to tackle their student debt quickly.

» Income. A salary survey conducted by Corporate Optometry Today! revealed O.D.s employed in a corporate location earned slightly higher salaries than independent O.D.s. Those higher salaries—with bonus structures and the ability to increase income through abundant fill-in opportunities—can provide an attractive career option for young O.D.s.

» Tuition Help. Some corporate chains provide tuition reimbursement for every year that an O.D. works there. For a young grad struggling with student debt, that’s a very attractive feature.

SUBLEASE MODEL

Being employed within corporate optometry provides many benefits to new graduates besides steady income and benefits: It allows new graduates an opportunity to personally grow and learn how an optometry business is managed. A “sublease” model of employment provides O.D.s with the opportunity to transition to full ownership.

» Small Sublease. Many sublease leases are “small subleases” (typically coverage is three to four days a week based on location revenue and patient volume, average seven to 10 patients a day). This can be very attractive to a young O.D. who would like to have a work-life balance and own their own business.

» Flexibility. The small sublease model can be a great option for an optometrist with a young family, as some newer sublease locations provide a flexible schedule for a young mom or dad. As the family grows so will their business, and the attention can be switched to the business as family responsibilities change.

» Turnkey. Small subleases are typically turnkey operations with low overhead, providing higher net income sooner than other self-employment and independent models.

There is less financial risk in corporate optometry, which many young O.D.s find attractive due to the security, income stability, and a learning curve for the business aspects of optometry—all the right reasons to join corporate optometry whether it is employed or sublease. COT!

—Maria Sampalis, O.D.