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Who Can Own a Veterinary Practice: A Guide to Veterinary Practice Ownership
Previously, we discussed different types of veterinary practices and explored different kinds of veterinary jobs (and even explained steps on how to hire an essential part of your team, a veterinary technician). Now, we’re focusing on veterinary practice owners.
Who qualifies for veterinary practice ownership, and what does it take to become a practice owner?
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Veterinary Practice
Short answer: it takes a lot more than just a strong will. Recent veterinary school graduates may quickly find themselves overwhelmed when thinking about opening their own practice. They’re well-versed in animal needs; managing a business is different.
A completely different animal (no pun intended), managing a practice is often learn-as-you-go. Life experiences, networking with colleagues who already established their own practices, and getting in touch with seasoned DVM professionals can help you figure out what should your first steps be.
Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before you start leafing through veterinary practice listings.
1) Are you ready to dedicate the majority of your time to running a business?
Yes, you will actually be more focused on the business side of things. Taking care of your team will always come first, and working around the clock is bound to happen. As Dr. Kristina Yee, a Ross Vet alumnus, mentioned in this article, “As a new practice owner, taking care of animals takes up about 40% of my time; taking care of the business is a 60% commitment.”
While you studied animal healthcare, your day-to-day responsibilities may differ from what you expected during your studies.
2) Are you ready to take on finances, HR processes, and management?
Being a practice owner takes a lot of skills and wearing lots of different hats; you’ll need to be a leader who is comfortable with decision-making and who deals with finance. You’ll need to be in charge of HR processes, interviewing potential employees, and continuing to make sure they are happy at their place of work. Having good communication skills is of high importance since you will be dealing with your employees, partners, distributors, clients, and many more people.
3) Are you sure of your success?
Of course, nobody can answer this with 100% certainty. But you need to do a thorough market research. How big is the city/town/community where you are planning to open your practice? Are there enough pet owners? How big is your competition? How are you envisioning your practice in 2-3 years? Are you planning to hire more veterinarians? How much can you invest to refurbish real estate and medical equipment?
Different Types of Veterinary Practice Ownership
Now that you have a better understanding of what it takes to dive into the world of practice ownership, let’s cover some different options.
a) Be a sole owner: In other words, be your own boss. As a sole proprietor, you’re in charge of revenue and all operations. While being a sole owner provides full control, it also comes with significant responsibilities. However, you can assemble the team you love working with without having to juggle unpleasant bosses or colleagues.
b) Joint venture: Find a partner. Team up with a trustworthy colleague or find another veterinary professional who is looking to open a practice with you. This makes decision-making a bit easier since you can get an expert second opinion. Finding a good partner can make your business, so consider this if you have the best person in mind. Making joint decisions can alleviate a lot of stress and help you run your business like clockwork!
c) Start independently, then sell to a qualified broker: Either stay on and focus on veterinary tasks or retire early. You can give it a shot for a couple of years and see if you are cut out as a veterinary practice owner. If profitable, your practice can become an attractive prospect for brokers. That way, you can cash in and either decide to stay on or carry on somewhere else. For some, transitioning away from administrative duties and returning to the veterinary profession can be the best career decision. Also, if you are nearing retirement, selling to a broker, your business partner, or another doctor can be a great decision.
d) Not a DVM? You can still own a veterinary practice: Did you know that you can be a veterinary practice owner without going to a veterinary school? In some states (see complete list here), you can be the owner, but a licensed veterinarian needs to be the licensee responsible for the practice/clinic/hospital.
Are you thinking of buying a veterinary practice?
Look no further; you’ve come to the right place.
PS Broker is a dedicated team of professionals who can help you achieve your goals and choose the perfect practice. With our personalized approach and timely communication, we take the time to get to know and understand each client. Our specialty is going above and beyond to find the perfect fit for your budget and preferences. Get in touch with us today.
- Is Ownership Worth It?
- Building Workplace Culture in Your Vet Practice
- Buying an Existing Veterinary Practice or Starting a New One from Scratch
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