Are you contemplating ownership of a vet practice? Do you want to take your career one step forward and own your own practice?

Owning a vet practice can be financially, intrinsically and professionally rewarding. It can also be a lot of hard work, gruelling hours, blood, sweat and tears.

Are you ready for it? Or are you sitting on the fence – unsure if you are happy working as an employee without the extra burden? Or are you ready to take the plunge?

If you had to distinguish between the two, you could quite simply just answer this question:

Do you want to work on the business, in the business – or both?

If the answer is the former, then let’s proceed. If you simply want to work in the practice then ownership may not be your cup of tea.

If you answer yes to both – then you are on the right track.

What is your motivation for practice ownership?

When you think about wanting to own your own practice – what drives you?

Is it:

  • Financial reward
  • Being in charge
  • Making a difference
  • Building your own team and fostering a team environment
  • Making positive changes to an existing practice
  • Freedom

It could be one or many of these reasons, but it is important to know what drives you towards practice ownership.

Do you buy a start-up or existing practice?

There are pros and cons to both taking over an existing practice or going out on your own.

Let’s look at both options and the top 5 considerations for each option.

Starting out on your own

  1. Your practice – your way

    Going out fresh gives you the opportunity to build your practice exactly the way you want it. That means designing the layout exactly how you want it. You know what works and what doesn’t – now you have the chance to put it into action.

    The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, creativity and knowledge.

  2. Choosing a location

    Demographic data is your best friend here. It’s time to assess where the highest client demand is and the current supply of vet practices in any given area.

    Do your research. Don’t make the mistake of choosing your practice location based on where you want to live – go where the numbers lead you.

  3. Staff recruitment

    Your own practice means hiring your own staff. Whilst this means you can pick and choose your staff, it also means embarking on a staff recruitment exercise which can be mammoth in itself. Your staff will make or break your clinic so is an all-important factor to consider.

    Will you be front and centre of the practice from the get-go? Starting out on your own often means long hours and holding the fort until you are up and running with regular cash flow and regular clients.

  4. Building a brand

    This is an exciting task when starting out – building your own brand. It’s wise to engage the services of a professional branding agency when embarking on this venture.

    Think of the message you want to convey, the colour palette for both inside and outside of the clinic. What will you name your clinic? Check all ASIC business registers to ensure your name is available, along with website domain and social accounts.

  5. Financing and cashflow

    When starting out, it will take some time before the cash starts flowing in. Building clients takes time. Ensure you have a buffer whilst your practice is in its infancy.

Buying an existing practice

  1. Existing clientele

    An existing practice comes with existing clientele – whether that be a lot of clients or just a few. This enables you to start your new venture with cash flow and bookings.

  2. Established staffing

    Established practice means existing staff, so you will likely inherit the practice staff. Or they may choose to follow your predecessor or find employment elsewhere.

  3. Old brand – old ways?

    The risk of taking over an existing practice is inheriting the ways of the previous owners. Does the practice have a good reputation in the community? Or have they had a bit of a bad rap?

    There is always the option of rebranding under new management, however, some scorned clients can be hard to woo back.

  4. Less risk

    When taking over an existing practice, you are likely to have a full layout of the practice financials, staffing and clients. There are a lot less unknowns in the equation that help to guide your new venture.

  5. Automatic income

    Assuming the practice is well booked, you will have an automatic source of income from previously-booked clients when you take over. Then it is up to you to find new and loyal clients for years to come!

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Consideration needs to be given to all the above items (and more) when it comes to taking the plunge into practice ownership.

If you’d like to chat to us about your options of vet practice ownership, give our team a call. We are experts in assisting veterinarians purchase and manage their clinics across Australia.