The Mini-Clinic or Spay Pod is intended to provide spay/neuter services for areas with a population too small for a large scale, high volume clinic intended to serve a population over 250,000 people. Mini clinics are ideal for populations under 100,000 people living within reasonable driving distance to transport their own pets to the clinic in the morning and pick them up later that same day. This is a standing clinic model, not a mobile program. Because ‘low overhead,’ is the mantra of the mini-clinic, no population is too small! Mini-clinics open slowly, even starting out at just a few days a month; then it grows with the demand.
This model is for areas that lack low-income accessible spay/ neuter services, and have a large number of unwanted, but adoptable, animals entering shelters (for example communities that have animals to send on transports).
This model can serve a single county or spaces can be made available to several low population counties. It is meant for low to moderate income populations, and where cost and distance are the greatest barriers to responsible pet ownership. Over 40 percent of US households earn under $35,000 per year. Over one quarter earn under $25,000 per year. For many people the cost of getting a pet fixed is balanced against the rent money.
- Are sustained by having a full number of clients on a limited number of days. Whether the number of surgeries planned is 25 or 40, sustainability is based on the spaces being filled.
- Low overhead is vital. Free or inexpensive space is a must. Costs are based on labor per day and the cost of supplies for the surgeries. On the days the clinic is closed there should be minimal costs (utilities and very low rent only). This allows the number of days to grow with the demand. If you are in an urban area where space is at a premium, and low cost space is not available, a mobile unit that frequents one location may be better for your organization.
- This model should be combined with a general educational outreach and pro-active efforts regarding municipal ordinances and codes.
A mini clinic opens with a contract (or relief) veterinarian and other staff on a limited number of days per week (one day a week for starters). As the demand grows, the number of clinic days should grow to meet that demand because if appointments are scheduled several weeks out, the likelihood that many pets will not show up increases. On the other hand, if the number of spaces exceeds the demand, the clinic will not take in enough money to meet the costs. Starting out conservatively saves money, starting with too many days will be costly due to unused spaces.
The costs of staff, supplies and utilities should balance against the fees paid by clients. By keeping overhead very low, and making sure that the operating days are filled, the cost can remain under $45 for a spay or neuter in most places.