How to Save Over 49K on Optical Costs When Opening a New Optometry Practice


The biggest obstacle that deters most new graduates from opening a new optometry practice, are financial obligations and uncertainty.

Most of us come out of school with hundreds of thousands of dollars in school loans, and close to a zero balance in our bank accounts. Through innovative ideas and research, I found ways to drastically cut start-up costs for new graduates in optical design, lab pricing, and inventory management. In this article, I will highlight effective ways to reduce start-up costs for the new graduate intent on opening a private practice.

1. Inventory Costs: Savings of 15+K

I opened my optometry practice with 40K in frame inventory cost, but you can easily stock an inventory of 275 frames for only $24,000. This comprehensive list ensures you don’t have patients walk with their prescriptions simply because you do not have the product the patient wants!


1. High End #1 Classic: $145 x 30= $4,350

2. High End #2 Funky: $150 x 30= $4,500

3. Name Brand Sunglass: $125 x 30= $3,750

4. Value Line: $40 x 20= $800

5. VSP WFA #1: $75 x 20= $1,500

6. VSP WFA #2: $75 x 20= $1,500

7. Semi-High End: $95 x 20= $1,900

8. Mid-Range: $60 x 60= $3,600

9.Closeout: $15 x 20= $300

10. Additional Suns: $60 x 20= $1,200

TOTAL: 275 Frames at a cost of $23,400

Avg Start-up Cost: $40,000

Your Start-up Cost: $23,400

SAVINGS OF $16,600

You can buy more frames for less cost, but in order to appeal to patients that prefer high-end frames, you must be willing to invest in luxury eyewear!

2. Optical: Savings of 25K

As I’ve stated before, I designed my optical without the help of a designer, which may not be for every optometrist. However, if you have an optical design company assist you in this process, you are looking at costs in the $40,000 range for a typical 800-1,000 square foot optical. If you hire an interior designer, you are looking at an additional several thousand dollars. Through alternative design routes, you can fill an optical with frame boards and locked cases for less then $15,000. Whether you prefer a traditional optical or a boutique environment, both settings can be created more cost effectively and still reflect the image of your optometry practice!

3. Lab Costs: Savings of 9K

When you inquire about lab costs, you are given discounted list price sheets. As a new owner, one does not have knowledge of “market rates” for lenses. Obtaining the best lab pricing possible, can save you well over 50% a year without sacrificing quality.


  • Savings calculated in the below table are based on a total of 100 jobs, comprised of 65% single vision and 35% progressive.
  • Single vision lens pricing is based on polycarbonate material with premium AR coating. Progressives lens pricing is based on premium digital lenses.

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These three tips alone can result in total savings of 49+K on optical costs alone!

Hey, it’s Courtney! If you are looking to open a new optometry practice, and would like more information on how to reduce optical and practice start-up costs in a nontraditional manner, visit!



About Courtney Dryer

Courtney Dryer
Courtney Dryer is a 2011 graduate of SCO. She opened 4 Eyes Optometry in her hometown of Charlotte, NC in February of 2013. After 5 years, the practice name was changed to Autarchic Spec Shop to renew the practice's commitment to independent optometry. In addition to consulting with new graduate optometrists on start-up practices, she contributes regularly to New Grad Optometry and has guest blogged for Invision Magazine. The unique design of her boutique practice was featured in Women in Optometry. In 2015, Vision Monday named her a Rising Star, and one of the most influential women in optical.

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