Did you know that when most frame reps come into a practice, they run the entire show and the entire interaction with the frame buyer? And did you also know, that doesn’t always have to be the case? Think about your dispensary as a stand-alone business. Wouldn't it be a better experience if you set the expectation? And if you deliver what you expect from your frame reps, so you no longer have to deal with situations that you’re uncomfortable with or not understanding how to set the expectation so that you can purchase your frames with confidence and run the show. That’s the purpose of a vendor agreement. We’ve attached this sample for you to edit yourself, but we recommend at the Williams Group using a vendor agreement for any frame rep or rep of any kind in your practice in order to set them and you up for success in the business relationship.
As we walk through the vendor agreement, think about what you would expect and what you would like to experience within reason from your different vendors. As we go through, think about what you would want the frame rep to do. As you can see through the checklist, we would like to have them check the conditions of all of their frames, meaning they should be going through to see if any screws are loose or if any frames feel loose in general and if anything looks like it needs to be replaced that maybe you had missed. As usual, they should take an inventory of all of their frames, pulling any discontinued product and letting you know about those. They should also be pulling any frames not sold within whatever time frame you determine with your frame rep. This is what we refer to as setting your own aging. This is different for every single vendor and some will not be able to accommodate what you believe is acceptable for your practice. This is one of the key points that we recommend discussing when choosing whether or not to carry a frame line in your practice. If you think that frames not sold within six months of the date that you received them is an acceptable aging time, then put that in here. If you think three to four months is more acceptable, then put that on your vendor agreement and make sure to discuss with your frame rep to see if they can accommodate that. You want to make sure that they also give you a copy of all of your orders, return authorizations, or exchanges from the vendor. All exchanges must be approved by you as the frame buyer and then make sure that you box them up and fill them out for return. Ask your individual reps for any unknowns, such as do I need to call the accounting department to make sure this credit is applied to our next statement.
We should also discuss the information updates that they should be providing. A new frame catalog, new sizes, colors, or shapes. Information on new training materials, handling, proper adjusting, and potentially new training opportunities for your entire team at your practice.
We would also recommend that your frame reps provide you with a copy of a computerized frame usage report that is issued to almost every single rep for every single line that is out there so that you can compare what they have to what your records have for proper inventory management. You also want to check with the buyer to verify that all returns and credits have been processed and that nothing is still outstanding. One of the other important key pieces when dealing with the frame rep is to verify how often they will come in your practice without rescheduling and without being late, understanding that still, the most important thing in the practice is being available for our patients. And that we can't do that if our frame reps don't show up on time.
We recommend that they show up on an eight-week cycle and also recommend that you pick the least busy time in the practice to have them show up. In most practices, this would be the beginning of the day and the beginning of the afternoon. That is when optical is least busy compared to the other parts of the day.
Finally, it's important to discuss with your frame rep any outstanding expectations that you may have for treatment, as far as employee discounts, or free pairs if applicable, and any warranties that you believe you would like to be matched in your practice. Such as a one- or two-year frame replacement warranty and what the conditions of that are. When you combine all of this vendor agreement with the first conversation with the frame rep, you're setting yourself and that vendor up for success by setting an expectation that both parties will meet and if at any point in that relationship they are not able to meet those expectations any longer, then we have a good reason to no longer honor our agreement and shake hands and part as friends. Make sure to combine this with your frame purchasing success plan in order to buy frames with a purpose and stand with your head high and confident, knowing that you have the control in every single situation of buying frames in your practice.