Some Things We’ve Learned


Many of you won’t particularly like this, and that’s okay, but wanted to share our story.

I decided, when I opened Summerville Community Acupuncture, to do the first treatment free – always. I gambled that the revenue would even out at some point, and that it would up the qi in the clinic to have people coming in who would otherwise be bugging us with questions instead of just getting a fucking treatment (homage to Suzzanne).

And that part has worked well. People come in thinking they’ll just ask questions, to which there are no really great answers anyhow, and I just say, “Do you have an hour? Here fill out this form. The first treatment’s free and we can talk while we work.” So we have a lot of walk-ins. A LOT.

Evolution – we average 3 or more new patients a DAY. No, they aren’t paying, but after doing the numbers last week, after 11 months (minus the one month I took off) we’ve treated 392 new patients, of which 197 (about half) rescheduled at least once (paying). And all those numbers are escalating, growing faster as time goes on.

When I took on my new awesome partner, Allison, I explained about the first treatment free, and after the first couple of days she worked, we agreed that it does take the pressure off the first treatment, so that we can just do the work without need to impress or get the treatment perfect. It allows us to approach it with a bit of whimsy, sometimes trying treatments we haven’t ever done before to see if they work – sometimes they totally do, sometimes they’re no better than our tried and true. Pretty much they never DON’T work.

Since most of us don’t have the situation Suzzanne has of being totally booked all the time, this has been a great confidence booster for me – to know that people leave here and go to their Elks Lodge or their Bible Study or their workplace and let their friends know they were avant-garde enough to try acupuncture “and you can too, for free….no really for free”. It’s also wonderful to have the seats full even if they’re all first-timers.

I’m not advocating this idea for everyone, just wanted to let you know how it worked out for us. And how much fun we’re having.

Author: MMDobson

POCA Membership Coordinator and retired punk from Summerville Community Acupuncture, now living in St Petersburg, FL I have 4 Miniature Pinschers, a John Deere tractor, and a big family that lives throughout the South. Life is good.

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