Thinking of setting up your first veterinary practice?

2 Oct 2017 8:00 AM - Veterinary

Setting up and running your own veterinary practice exactly the way you want to can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. However, it also presents some enormous challenges and you need to be prepared to put in the hard yards to make it work.

 

Ask yourself these five important questions to ascertain whether you’re truly ready to become your own boss…

1. Why do you want to set up your own veterinary practice?

Setting up your own veterinary practice is a major decision and shouldn’t be made in haste because you’re frustrated with your current boss or workplace. Running your own practice will increase – not decrease – your workload, and money may be tight while you’re setting up.

Also consider the extra responsibility that will be on your shoulders. For example, you’ll need to make sure you can make payroll every week, and ultimately the buck stops with you for everything from customer complaints to unpaid bills.

You should also have a strong vision of what you want to accomplish with your new practice. What are you going to differently to provide extra value to your patients? If you can’t answer that question, spend some time thinking about it before you quit your day job.

 

2. Do you need a partner?

There are pros and cons of taking on a partner or partners. In the pros column, you’ll be able to share the financial burden with your partner, and call on extra knowledge and experience when required. A partner may also be able to cover your patients when you want to go on holiday, and generally take some of the stress of practice management off your shoulders.

However, there are cons of taking on a partner as well. For example, you won’t have the sole say in how the practice is set up and managed, and disagreements or falling-outs between partners can be very harmful to your business.

If you do decide to take on a partner, it’s vital to ensure you have a solid partnership agreement in place that sets out the course of action that needs to be followed in the case of a dispute. Don’t cut corners here – see a solicitor for the best advice.

 

3. How will you secure finance for your veterinary practice?

The good news is that many lenders specialise in providing finance for veterinary practices. The Cassin’s can recommend a few lenders that may be able to help you where other non-specialist banks fail you.

You’ll need to decide whether it makes better financial sense to rent or buy your commercial premises, and ensure you can secure the necessary funds to finance the fit out of your new practice.

You might also want to consider taking out a line of credit facility to assist with working capital while your practice is in its development phase.

 

4. How many staff will you need for your veterinary practice?

This is a difficult question. The last thing you want to do is cause the patient frustrations that tend to come with under-staffing. However, you also don’t want to over-capitalise on superfluous staff that will take an unnecessary bite out of your bottom line.

The key is to identify how many support staff you need per full-time vet. Each vet will have their own preferences here, but if you try to only hire additional support staff whenever you appoint a new vet, then you should be able to keep tight reigns on how many people your practice employs.

 

5. How will your practice impact your lifestyle?

While running your own practice can deliver more freedom than working for a boss, expect this to take time and a lot of hard work. There will undoubtedly be many late nights in the early years as you juggle the many tasks associated with practice management with seeing as many patients as you can during the day.

In other words, don’t expect to be spending much time on the golf course – at least until your practice is established and humming like a well-oiled machine.

 

Cassin & Sons specialises in custom veterinary fit outs, medical fit outs and radiology fit outs with more than 28 years of experience in the healthcare fit out industry. Call our friendly team on 1300 122 774 to find out what we can do for you.