'People want instant gratification'

Friday, January 24, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Provider Mark Nicotera is fairly new to the HME industry and that’s probably why he’s not scared to turn his business upside down.

Among the changes he has made in the past two years: a new location, a new company name and a new business structure to bump retail from 5% of his income to 50%. 

“It’s been a wild and crazy ride,” said Nicotera, owner of AZ Mediquip, who bought his company two years ago after a career in retail and rentals. “We’re trying to appeal to people who can’t get what they want from insurance, or can’t get what they need in a reasonable amount of time.”

Since AZ Mediquip is not a contract supplier for Round 2 of competitive bidding, the provider has focused heavily on retail, boosting that business by making a number of modifications. It has changed its name from G&S Medical to AZ Mediquip to be clearer about what it has to offer; moved from Phoenix to the more affluent suburb of Scottsdale; and filled its 3,000-square-foot showroom with more beds, lift chairs, mobility products and bath safety equipment. 

“People want instant gratification—that’s why they choose retail,” said Nicotera. “Between the show floor and the warehouse, we probably have 1,000 items here.”

Nicotera is keeping his hand in the insurance side of things—he recently hired another salesperson to grow referral business from its current 5% to 10% and in December received a state Medicaid credential. 

Still, retail will be the name of the game in 2014. Nicotera plans to improve his website this year, since web traffic means foot traffic, in his experience.

“People find us with Google searches,” said Nicotera. “We survey 50% to 80% of people that come through the door, and that’s what they say.”