Are you fond of animals and have always dreamed of working with them and their owners? Are you empathetic, outgoing, and have a passion for business? If so, then owning a veterinary practice might be your calling.
But there are so many things that you need to consider when launching a vet practice. You need to decide how big your practice will be, where you plan to practice, the type of services to offer, and many others.
And just like with opening any business, you also need to make tough financial decisions, run reports, and hire and manage staff. If you are willing to take on the challenge, then here are some things to consider when launching a vet practice.
1. How Big Will Your Practice Be
The first thing you need to think about is how big you want your practice to be. That way, you can look for a building that has the appropriate size.
Visualize the overall look and feel of your vet clinic so you will have an idea of how big your practice will be. You may need to think about the services you plan to provide, so you will have an idea of how big the place should be.
Think about the reception area, exam room, bathroom for pets, and treatment room. If you plan on offering boarding facilities, then you need to consider that as well.
Consider anything that you might want to add in the future, such as additional boarding facilities, ICU, pharmacy, etc. Will there be enough space in the building to accommodate all these? Another thing to consider when deciding how big your practice should be is the parking space and waiting area for your clients.
2. Where Will the Practice Be and Who Is the Target Audience
When starting your veterinary practice, the location is an important thing to think about. Most vets will decide to set up their practice in their town or nearby towns within a reasonable driving distance to where they live. But if you are more flexible, consider looking for potential locations outside your city as well.
Once you have found a potential location, evaluate if there’s high traffic in the area that will allow your clients to find you easily. Another thing to consider is the ease of access.
Is the location convenient for your clients to reach from the road? Check out the businesses of your neighbors as well. If there’s a dog grooming salon nearby, it will help if you establish a beneficial relationship with them.
On the other hand, if your neighbor is at a bar that plays loud music, this might not be a good option as this could disturb the pets.
What is the veterinary community like in the area? How many other veterinary practices are there? Do you think the community can welcome one more vet?
Research the average income of the household in that area. That way, you will have an idea of how much you can charge for your services.
3. What Services Will You Offer?
Next, identify the services you plan on offering. But this will usually depend on whether you are a specialist or a general practitioner. Knowing exactly what you can offer can help to determine where you will fit in the local community.
For instance, if you are a veterinary neurologist, you may fit in nicely even if there are already several GPs in the area. And if you are a general practitioner, maybe there are other ways you can distinguish your practice from the rest.
Perhaps, by offering something new and unique. For instance, you can offer urgent care services, emergency hours, treatment for exotic animals, acupuncture, etc.
4. Getting the Right Staff
You cannot run your vet practice all by yourself. Therefore, another thing to think about is getting the right staff to be part of your team. Remember, your team members are crucial to the overall success of your practice. So, when it comes to hiring staff, where should you start?
First, you need to figure out what you really want your practice to be like. Think about whether you need to hire permanent vets and nurses, or maybe it is better to settle with temporary staff, such as professional locum vet jobs?
Spend some time thinking about these and consider the pros and cons. Make some notes, so you will have something to refer to in the future.
When hiring permanent staff, make sure you provide them with benefits like health insurance, incentive programs, paid leave, bonuses, etc. If you think you cannot provide benefits just yet, it may be best to hire locum staff for a start.
5. What Equipment Will You Need and Where Is the Money Coming From?
So, now that you have found the perfect location to set up your vet practice and hired staff to be part of your team, you are probably ready to open the veterinary practice of your dreams.
But before you get to that, you must first find the right tools and equipment. After all, it’s impossible to diagnose and treat pets if you don’t have the right tools.
Depending on the type of practice that you will launch, your equipment can include x-ray and ultrasound machines, exam room tables, IV pumps, surgical lights, weighing scales for pets, computers, surgical lights, and more.
There are also smaller items to consider, such as the blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, staff uniforms, and daily supplies like gloves, syringes, and needles.
Purchasing new equipment is certainly the best option. If you can, try to invest in the latest technology to deliver the best results.
The equipment and tools for your vet practice could cost a lot of money. If you do not have a large cash reserve to finance this, you may need to search for financing options.
Consider working with financial experts and veterinary consultants who can help sort this out for you. They can provide you with expert advice on the best option to finance your veterinary practice.