Checking in with yourself to make sure your career, team, and practice are on track is important. Maybe something you're doing isn't working for you anymore, you want to make a necessary change, or you deserve higher pay but are bound by a contract. Sometimes this means renegotiating finances in the form of your lease, corporate contract, or vendor agreements.
We searched through advice from ODs who have gone through renegotiation on how to advocate for themselves.
Contract Negotiating for Optometrists
The main reason that people don't advocate for themselves is because it can feel awkward and cause stress. That's why the first step is to write down why your skills, expertise, and charisma are valuable to your practice. For lack of a better term, build hype about yourself. Then, figure out why you'd want to stay at your current practice and negotiate rather than changing your job. Although these seem straightforward enough, a little bit of introspection can make your goals and desires clear and boost your confidence.
Especially if you've experienced an unprecedented setback or expense, many vendors are understanding. If you have to renegotiate the quantity of supplies you're receiving or change the frequency or even just see if you can get a better deal, the only thing you'll lose is your time if they can't accommodate. Start by calling the more straightforward accounts such as your internet package or frame suppliers for products that aren't selling, then you can move up to your software and medical device vendors to see what promotions they might have going on. With certain industry vendors, you might be able to be added to their referral program or exchange an interview for a case study. It's always worth asking and being prepared with your reasoning.
There are many things you can negotiate to change before renewing from base salary to paid time off to 401k matching to continuing education stipends. Start by figuring out the top range of salary and benefits you'd like to push for and then set what level you'd accept. Of course, start negotiation with the top of the range remembering that advocating for your self worth is never off the table and there are basically no repercussions. If you're not sure how much of a raise to ask for, look at Glassdoor salaries in your area and discuss with ODs that you trust. It is customary to ask for anything from 4-10% based on cost of living changes and experience. Lead the actual conversation with the fact stating what parts of the practice or your role you're happy with and why you'd like to stay, but then bring in how a raise or change in benefits would behoove the practice as a whole. You can also consider buying into the practice ownership if you think profits are good and that's something on your career trajectory.
Negotiating helps you keep that 5 year plan on track. If you haven't made one yet, here's a guide: