Wanting vs. Needing A New Ultrasound Machine

by David Miskimmin, Sales Manager for BCF Ultrasound.

I often come across clinics who have invested in ultrasound equipment, only to ultimately not realize the return that they expected. There are many different factors as to why this happens. In today’s article, I will focus on only one: the motivation to buy an ultrasound machine based on necessity (need) or desire (want).

It can feel like Christmas has come early when you purchase a new ultrasound. But the question is whether you are going to get the most out of your investment?


Nothing pains me more than to see an old scanner, sitting in the corner, collecting dust. Or even worse, repurposed as an ‘on the go’ coffee and cake tray. Generally what follows is the telling of a tale of a young whippersnapper, who joined the clinic with a desire to be an expert in ultrasonography, but whose desire then wilted away. The time restraints of private practice, the number of other specialties in which to focus, OR the dreaded departure to ‘greener pastures’ are reasons for this outcome. The problem is that this the individual who made the financial investment is left with a scar.


Taking a more clinical approach to your purchasing decisions will likely prevent any future trauma. Before investing in any capital equipment, it is worth evaluating four critical points before taking the leap:

1. Customer Retention

In a customer-centric business, such as a veterinary clinic, nothing rings truer than the saying “the customer always comes first.” In the case of an investment in capital equipment, you may have to ask yourself:

  • Are you losing clients through referrals to surrounding clinics that offer this service?
  • Are you losing clients before they even walk through the door due to you not being able to promote this service confidently?

Ultimately, the demands and expectations of your clients will influence your answers to these questions.

2. Customer Growth

If you were to invest in an ultrasound machine, would it lead to an increase in your existing caseload?
Customer retention and customer growth are closely related and lead to similar results regarding profit. But they are vastly different when it comes to the requirements of supporting such outcomes.

3. Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment is a crucial metric to factor in when purchasing capital equipment.

Consumable products are simple:

Selling consumables




When evaluating the ROI on capital equipment however, the calculation doesn’t come so easy. First, you need to ask yourself:

  • Do you expect to see a return on your investment?

Then try out our ROI Calculator to help figure out the numbers.

4. Priorities

In such a dynamic industry with technology moving at a rapid pace, the choices for investment in capital equipment are endless. You need to consider those options that will have a direct impact on patient outcomes, efficiency, and profitability.

Here is the question that it all boils down to:

  • Is the money better spent elsewhere in your practice at this moment in time?

If your answer is “no” and you are at the stage of investigating your ultrasound options, read our article on what questions to ask when purchasing ultrasound equipment.

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