We discussed the arrival of the "VetIQ" clinics in WM a few months ago in this low-cost vet care "sticky" thread -- they started rolling these out in Oklahoma earlier this year:
Thrive Clinics inside of Petco stores are similar in-store, low-cost providers that are starting to pop up in remodeled Petco stores.
This is the future of vet medicine: two tiers of service. There will be low-cost, high volume wellness clinics (often without full-service diagnostic equipment), and there will be high-cost, full-service clinics offering gold-standard nose-to-tail care. The middle is already being squeezed out (and bought out by chains like Banfield and VCA) -- and the middle will be under ever-increasing financial pressure as it loses bread-and-butter annual wellness visits to lower-cost providers.
Exam fees at the low-cost places are around $25. My vet charges $50. There's a real difference in service though.
The low-cost, no-frills, high-volume independent clinic in my city with folding chairs in the waiting room and grimy floors is the most profitable clinic in the city -- it's always packed and they see tons of walk-ins. I won't even take the rescue's dogs there because I hate that style of vet medicine, but it's SO affordable a lot of rescues go there. They have something like 20 young vets working super-fast appointments that are just a few minutes long (they're compensated based on how many clients they see, so they have incentive to move fast). They charge about half what my AAHA-accredited vet does--but my vet takes 30 min. or more with each dog with a slow, careful exam including ortho range of motion, talking with us about all that's going on including food and exercise, getting the dogs comfortable before the exam using Fear-Free techniques, etc. Time is money, so that just costs more.
There are many people who are super-busy, hate going to the vet, and just want to get in and get out with their RX for HW prevention. People like that tend to love these high-volume, quick places.
There are other people who like their dogs to be comfortable, want to separate vaccines, don't mind extra trips to the vet because it's an another opportunity to make friends with the vet staff in case of a future painful procedure, want to be able to talk about health research we've read online with a trusted healthcare partner. For those of us who view the vet clinic as an important relationship for our dogs, we tend to be happier with a slower style of practice.