Debunking the Top Myths About Medical Laser Procedures

August 13, 2015 Leave a comment

Many don’t understand the concept of a laser treatment, which is why they assume that laser procedures are unsafe.  With time, such misconceptions have become myths. In this post, we’ll debunk the  most significant and common myths associated with laser treatments.

The technology—Cosmetic Lasers are still in the Early Primitive Stages. 

Many laser applications are taken for granted these days. We understand that a few laser technologies such as fiber optics, lighting displays, printers, and bar code readers are new; but we can’t think similarly for medical lasers, especially the cosmetic ones. For your knowledge, the first laser treatment was carried out by Leon Goldman, a dermatologist, in 1962.

Lasers are unnecessary because similar benefits can be experienced by skincare products as well

 

Many skincare products make very bold claims despite very few products that can actually deliver on their promises.  With medical laser equipment, it’s quite the opposite – laser manufacturers can’t make any claims on the effectiveness of their equipment without the approval from the Food and Drug Adminisration to support those claims.  In fact, medical laser equipment remains unmarketable until it has received approval from the FDA for the claim it is making – whether it be laser hair removal or skin rejuvenation.

Laser treatments can cause thinning of skin

The fact is that lasers let skin to become neither thin nor weak. Actually, properly controlled laser skin treatments can replace damaged skin with fresh collagen. Even the medical aesthetic lasers for sale are checked thoroughly by leading resellers/sellers before making the final delivery.

So, with this post, we hope we have dispelled many of the common myths surrounding used medical lasers.

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Why it’s best to buy used aesthetic laser equipment

August 12, 2015 Leave a comment

If you’re thinking to buy a brand new cosmetic laser machine, you require a lot of financial resources. That is why many clinics and hospitals rely on buying secondhand laser equipment because it isn’t highly priced.

Through this post, we’ll enlighten you about the benefits that you can gain after buying used quality aesthetic laser equipment from an established reseller.

 

Low price

As we’ve mentioned earlier, new aesthetic laser equipment is very expensively priced. Which is why, if you’ve got budgetary constraints, you can only buy a secondhand one. Nevertheless, many businesspeople assume that a secondhand machine will not perform. This belief is false only when you buy the laser equipment from a reliable seller/reseller. That is, you’ll spend less and gain quality—the best of both worlds!

Quality control

Now, this point can only be claimed by a leading reseller such as Rock Bottom Lasers. A well-known reseller will always check the machine—in terms of safety and functionality—thoroughly. A reliable reseller, who’s in the business for a long time, will have a team of quality testers. This team will check the machine against several quality standards before making the final delivery.

By keeping these three points in mind, many business owners (doctors, dermatologists, hospitals, and skincare clinics) have taken the decision to buy a used cosmetic laser machine rather than a new one

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Points to remember before buying used medical lasers

July 29, 2015 Leave a comment

You are into the business of aesthetic treatment, and your happiness knows no bounds whenever you see an ad with a title “Medical Lasers for Sale!” We understand your joy as buying a new medical laser system can cost a small fortune; plus, its high depreciation cost is a put off as well. But do not presume that buying a used medical laser is a cakewalk. This buying process is a bit complex and requires you to remember a few points. Let us read up on these points, now.

  • Check whether the laser machine is properly maintained or not. If possible, try to get the machine’s refurbishing or maintenance schedule from the reseller as well. Also, crosscheck each and every part (handpieces and fibers) of medical laser systems before buying.
  • Before making the payment, try to get a demo (including all the working features) of the machine.
  • Also, check if any prior installation is required during the time you will install the machine in your med spa business, clinic, or hospital. If yes, hire a trained professional to do the installation work.
  • Check the seller’s facility before buying the equipment. You should not solely rely on the information (about the equipment) that is available on his/her website.
  • Ensure that each and every warranty document related to the laser equipment is authentic and up to date.
  • Last but not least, try to contact the reseller’s previous customers or go through their testimonials to know the quality of the offered equipment.

So, we hope you will remember, if not all, some of these points before buying used medical lasers.

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Which are the three medical lasers in demand today?

July 24, 2015 Leave a comment

 

Everyone yearns for having the charm and good looks, and there is nothing wrong in it. To fulfill this desire of many, aesthetic medicine was developed. Aesthetic medicines use cosmetic treatments that are minimally invasive to beautify physical appearances; the concept has gained traction in the late 90s.

 

Presently, you will find many undergoing laser-based aesthetic procedures. In 2013 alone, close to 23 million laser-based aesthetic procedures were done. That is, lasers are popular when it comes to carrying out aesthetic treatments. Now, let us go through three of the most popular laser systems that are used in aesthetic treatment.

 

Solid state laser systems

 

The system deploys solid matrix to distribute lasing material. The solid state system uses solid state gain media (crystals or glass). Moreover, the system generates output powers, ranging from milliwatts to kilowatts and has two components—electronics and optics.

 

Dye laser systems

 

In this system, the gain medium is dye (that is a liquid solution). Machine operators of this system use different solvents—dimethyl sulfoxide, p-dioxane, and ethanol—for laser dyes. Generally, the operators buy powdered dyes that are made into solutions having the desired concentration.

 

Diode laser systems

 

Primarily used in medical diagnostics, a diode laser system emits radiation in a visible spectrum or an infrared spectrum whenever current goes through it. The system can be categorized into two types—low power diode laser (used for soft tissue treatments) and high power diode laser (used for medical aesthetics and dentistry).

 

The popularity of these machines has persuaded many clinics and hospitals to own medical lasers. But qualified and experienced equipment operators and experts recommend used cosmetic lasers because new laser equipment has high depreciation charges.

 

Owing to this reason, the demand for companies offering quality medical lasers for sale is pressing. So, whenever you are planning to get one of these machines for your clinic or hospital, just rely on used laser machines rather than new ones.

 

 

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Why Medical Spas Fail Reason # 9: Buying the Laser Before You Have a Business Plan

June 17, 2011 4 comments


In the film, Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, the ghost would whisper, “Build it and they will come.”  Meaning all Kevin Costner needed to do was build the baseball stadium and the ghostly baseball players would come to play ball and people from all over would visit his farm and pay to watch them play.  Doctors often have the same mentality when it comes to buying laser equipment.  The idea, “Buy it and they will come,” is derivative of the Field of Dreams concept, that all you need to do is buy the laser and patients will ask for the treatment and you will make a lot of money with this device.

The reason most doctors don’t think about this is because they have not had to traditionally.  Most practices receive the great majority of their revenue from insurance companies, not from advertising their services.  The idea that they would need to spend a lot of money on advertising to bring patients through their door is a foreign concept in most cases for a lot of medical specialties.  This all changes when trying to generate aesthetic revenue because these procedures are not covered by insurance and the doctor needs to spend money on advertising to bring cosmetic clients through their door.

The smooth talking, good-looking, laser sales rep will show you some impressive numbers about the revenue you can generate with his/her laser, however they fail to mention exactly how you will get your telephone to ring, how your receptionist will effectively book those aesthetic consultations, and how you will close your consultations and sell thousands of dollars worth of aesthetic treatments.

The successful operation of an aesthetic practice does not happen by chance.  It requires careful planning, marketing, training and resource allocation.  Quite frankly, it requires a lot more work than most doctors are willing to put forth if they only knew of the work involved before they began the process.

Careful thought needs to be taken in creating a basic business plan and a realistic cash flow proforma of the first 12 months of operation.  You should project ultra-conservative numbers and determine if your investment will pay you the Return on Investment that you are expecting.  After you have done this, the LAST step in setting up an aesthetic practice is buying the laser equipment.

Vin Wells, MHSA
www.RockBottomLasers.com
800-794-1097

How to Buy a New Medical Laser – What the Laser Manufacturers Don’t Want You To Know

June 17, 2011 5 comments

The goal of negotiating for a new medical laser is to try to get the largest possible discount off the laser manufacture’s “List price.” The list price is what a manufacturer, such as Alma Lasers or Palomar Medical, posts as the selling price. You’ll see the manufacturer’s suggested list price in many of the trade magazines such as the Aesthetic Buyers Guide or at Aesthetic Trade Shows.  This is a price that is not commonly paid by most doctors, however there are many physicians who don’t like to negotiate and accept the list price as the final price.  Unfortunately, they end up losing thousands of dollars in the process and even more money down the road when they try to resell it.  I’ll get to how this happens a little later.

Obviously, before you even start negotiating, you need to decide which medical laser(s) you want to buy. So take the time to investigate what you’re looking for, request the manufacturers to demo their equipment in your clinic.  Attend the various laser conferences and do your own research.  Ask your more experienced colleagues what laser systems they have used and which ones they recommend.  If you’re not part of some of the laser societies, I would strongly recommend that you join some of these organizations.  A great one that I like is the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS.org).  The networking aspect is tremendous and you will get invaluable user feedback on all of the major laser systems out there.  Walk the floor of the trade booths and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Try to become as knowledgeable as possible regarding laser biophysics so that you don’t get “bamboozled” by the slick “laser-techno-babble” of the sales reps.  During this initial demo phase inside your clinic, never promise anything to a salesperson, never give a deposit, and never sign any type of contract. Don’t feel pressured either — if you do, inform the salesperson that you never buy any equipment on the first visit to your office.

You need to be sure that your sales reps know that you are looking at many different laser manufacturers.  If they get the slightest idea that you really only want their equipment (even if you do), you have lost considerable leverage when it comes time to negotiate.  You should also get comparative price quotes of each model you are testing.  You can use this pricing to your advantage by having each sales rep bidding against each other on price.

You have to think outside of the box to get a good discount. The worst thing you can do is negotiate a price without having any information on the TRUE sales price.  So, how do you get the true sales price?  Ask for references from the sales rep in your area of other doctors he has sold to.  Once you have this information, it is important that you call these doctors and ask them about their level of satisfaction with the equipment as well as how much they paid for their system.  This may seem a little crass to ask for this type of information from a total stranger, however it’s your money and you could be saving thousands of dollars by doing so.

You may also know other associates who own this equipment.  If you’re able to get accurate sales price information, you can use this as leverage when you are presented with an offer.  The sad reality is this, whatever you pay for a new system, all new medical lasers typically depreciate by at least 40 to 50% as soon as they are sold.  Even if you buy a new medical laser and never use it, it still loses at least 40% of its original value.

Why does this happen?  It doesn’t really seem possible or fair does it?  There are critical reasons for this and it is not by accident.  One of the main reasons is that most laser manufacturers do not allow the original one year warranty to be transferred to another buyer.   If you want to sell a laser you just purchased, the original warranty is voided because it is typically non-transferrable.  Most doctors who are buying their first laser do not know this, and they naively sign the purchase agreement with these clauses contained in the agreement. In addition, the new buyer will need to pay a “recertification fee” to the manufacturer in order to get the laser serviced by the manufacturer.

As if that’s not painful enough, the “recertification fee” doesn’t include the warranty.  The new buyer has to also purchase an entirely NEW warranty if they want the laser serviced by the manufacturer because the last warranty was just voided due to the transfer of ownership!  What a racket huh?  Whether these practices by the manufacturers are truly legal is highly questionable, however the sad reality is this is the standard practice inside the medical laser industry.  All of this gets very expensive very quickly!  In some cases, the recertification fee is in upwards of $25,000 plus a new warranty of around $10,000 = $35,000 TOTAL – just because the laser changed ownership. These extra fees charged by the manufacturer cause the value of the equipment to plummet!

Unfortunately, most doctors don’t realize this until after they’ve already bought their laser and it comes time to sell their equipment.  How do you avoid this?  First of all, I would highly recommend that you have your attorney review any purchase agreement you are being asked to sign before you sign it.  He or she will be able to detect any clauses that are oppressive or unfair and will give you recommendations on what clauses should be revised or deleted.

This is probably the most important paragraph I am placing in this article.  Please read and re-read this paragraph because it is so critically important and can save you thousands of dollars.  You need to enter the purchase negotiations for a new medical laser with the goal of accomplishing these four objectives:  (1) Revise the purchase agreement to allow the warranty to be transferred to a new buyer without penalties or fees of any kind, (2) Request that the warranty be extended beyond the standard one year to two or three years, (3) Eliminate any language in the agreement regarding a “recertification fee” should the laser be sold beyond the warranty period, and (4) require that the warranty include a Laser Depot service to be sure you have no downtime in your clinic.  A laser depot service is when the manufacturer ships you a replacement laser should your laser break down during the warranty period.  It is a critical service to have when you have just purchased a new laser.  Be sure this is always included.  If you can, request that the Depot service is extended through the entire life of the warranty, whether it be one year or up to three years.  If you are able to accomplish these four objectives, you will be way ahead of the game.

Changing the purchase contract so that the warranty can be transferred without penalty will dramatically help you sell your laser down the road, should you choose to do so.  It will also help increase the laser’s resale value and how much money ends up in your pocket.  Requesting that the warranty be extended beyond a standard one year is another key strategy to help you maintain your laser and ensures that you don’t incur expensive repairs after the first year of use.

Most medical laser malfunctions and breakdowns occur after the first year of ownership, so extending the warranty to two or three years will ensure you don’t incur expensive repairs during this period.  Recertification fees are the manufacturers way of leveling the playing field when competing against their own used medical lasers in the used marketplace.  By having a “recertification fee” of $10,000 to $25,000, it closes the gap between the cost of a new laser versus a new one.  Quite frankly they are ridiculous fees and I don’t believe they are legal, but no one has challenged the manufacturers in this area to my knowledge.  What if an automobile manufacturer were to charge such bogus fees?  The public would revolt!  I’m not sure why it’s tolerated in the medical community.

Keep in mind that you have the greatest leverage in the negotiation process before you buy.  You can never get what you don’t ask for, so ask for it!  You will be surprised with the sales rep says yes to.  If you are a qualified buyer, there aren’t many of you around, especially for new medical lasers!  You need to exploit this fact to your greatest advantage.  The strongest arrow in your quiver is your ability to “walk away” from any deal.  The sales reps don’t want this to happen and they will do anything in their power to avoid this!  If you do walk away, you can typically buy the exact same system on the used market for much, much less – up to 60 to 70% off!  In most cases, all of this equipment can be serviced by third party repair companies without going through the manufacturer, so who needs em!  If you are reading this, you obviously have access to the Internet.

Take advantage of that and inform yourself by surfing the Web. One of the most important steps you can take is to see what your laser is selling for on the used market.  A good place to start is www.Dotmed.com.  This is a very large Internet Portal connecting buyers and sellers of all used medical equipment.

Key word:  DEMO UNIT.  Often times you can secure a very good price on a “new” medical laser by asking if they have any “demo” units available.  A “Demo Unit” is often times a new piece of equipment, however by calling it a “demo” unit it allows the manufacturer to “save face” and dramatically drop their sales price below the acceptable range.  Most of the time if the laser is actually used, it has been used very lightly and the manufacturer still carriers at least a six month to one year warranty on the unit.

Once you’ve tested a medical laser inside your clinic, there is no need for the sales rep to return except to sign a contract.  Try to maintain negotiations on the phone or by email — you will be less intimidated and less likely to falter to pressure.  Some sales reps/manufacturers refuse to give you a price on the phone. Inform them that you are serious about buying and will do so quickly if offered a good price.

Make sure the final price is the final price: Compare apples with apples. Have all taxes and fees included in the final quote.  Ask them, “If I were to buy this medical laser outright, and had to get a certified check, what would the amount on the check say?”

Remember that in the end, you end up with a new medical laser at a lower cost. Saving money is never a wasted effort. In addition, when it comes time to sell your medical laser, your equipment will have a higher resell value if your contract allows a transfer of the warranty and no “recertification fees!”

Vin Wells, MHSA
www.RockBottomLasers.com
800-794-1097

Why Medical Spas Fail Reason #8: Lack of Cash Flow Planning

June 16, 2011 1 comment

One common pitfall for medical spa owners is the failure to properly account for prepaid services, such as discounted packages of laser or light-based facial treatments.  If you sell a package of treatments up-front, you can have obligations against those treatments for up to 8 months out (e.g. Laser Hair or IPL).

If you spend all of the money from those packages now, then you will have future expenses against revenue that has been long-spent.  This places you in a negative cash position which requires that you play catch-up, although it is difficult to ever catch up if you manage your cash flow in this manner.  The only potential solution is to offer higher revenue, single treatment procedures such as laser lipolysis or fractional CO2 resurfacing so that you can obtain significant revenue from single, one-time treatments that will offset the money spent in commodity-based treatment packages (Laser Hair & IPL).

The best solution is to never get into this situation and maintain an adequate cash reserve at all times.  You can help keep track of outstanding liabilities by using an accrual-based accounting versus a cash-based method.  By doing so, you will quickly realize all of the up-front money received from laser packages has liabilities against it for up to 8 to 9 months out.

Maintaining business liquidity is extremely important because you will have months in which you are offering promotions and selling packages, and follow-up months in which you are fulfilling the packages that have already been purchased from months prior.  You need adequate cash to offset the expenses you will face down the road when it comes time to deliver the services clients have paid for in advance.

Vin Wells, MHSA
www.RockBottomLasers.com
800-794-1097