While working in downtown Portland several years ago, longtime optician Kevin Vincent had a conversation that would go on to change his career.
A high-powered exec client mentioned how nice it would be if service providers would come to her – not the other way around.
Vincent, who lives in Camas, took her words to heart and saw an underserved need in the optical community.
He looked at the market and at the beginning of the year, launched On Sight Optical, a traveling optician business.
Opticians, not to be confused to optometrists, are licensed in Washington to cut and fit glasses.
Vincent is popular at retirement homes and makes house calls to people of all ages, making eyewear adjustments and delivering custom fit eyewear and safety eyewear. He is currently networking and marketing himself to local businesses.
He’s branding his service as an appreciation bonus for employers to extend to their employees. Employees may be fitted for glasses or safetywear during their lunch hours, or have their eyewear adjusted.
“I try to build a rapport and not rush through the transaction,” Vincent said. “Glasses are a funny thing. They’re not like shoes or a shirt, where you’ll probably wear a different one tomorrow. Picking your glasses is not something you want to be rushed through.”
And there’s something to be said for choosing your eyewear in the comfort of your own home, he said.
Because his isn’t a traditional brick and mortar business, Vincent’s start-up costs were about $20,000, which covered frames and equipment. He already owned the vehicle he uses to make house calls.
Last month was his best to date, and he saw 17 patients – ahead of where he expected to be – and he has turned a profit, although he did not disclose his average revenue.
Traveling opticians are not unheard of, but they’re rare in this region. Vincent said he will serve anyone within a 50-mile radius.
Vincent said making the decision to start his own business was scary, but after much thought and prayer, he took the plunge.
In the future, Vincent hopes to build up the business to buy a mobile clinic and partner with an optometrist to take full eye exams on the road.
Customers could get an exam, have their glasses made and fit all at the same mobile site.
Vincent’s services start at $79 for basic frames and single vision lenses, and from there, the sky is the limit.
On Sight Optical
Owner Kevin Vincent