A whopping 7 in 10 U.S. families now share their homes with companion animals. That translates to 90.5 million households! It also reflects an impressive increase from 1988, when only 56% of households had a pet.
That may explain why experts project a shortage of veterinarians. They say that by the end of this decade, the U.S. would be short at least 15,000 animal doctors.
Thus, if you’ve always wanted to open a veterinary practice, consider doing so ASAP. That way, you can help fill the gap and take your veterinary career in the direction you want.
This guide covers the basics of starting your vet practice, so read on.
Prepare Your Finances
The cost of starting a business in the veterinary field ranges from $250,000 to $1,000,000. The lower end is for a mobile clinic, while the higher price is for a small veterinary clinic. These costs include the following:
- Business registration
- Marketing and advertising
Consider taking out a business loan even if you have enough cash to start your practice. A study found that firms that use debt during their first year have a higher survival rate. They’re also likelier to reap more profits three years from the start of their venture.
Decide on a Business Structure
Common business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, and limited liability companies (LLCs). Many vet clinic owners establish theirs as LLCs. One reason is that being an LLC protects owners from personal liabilities.
If you’re unsure which one to choose, speak to an experienced business attorney. They can help break down each structure and recommend the best one for your practice.
Apply for Your EIN
EIN stands for “Employer Identification Number.” It’s a must for business registration and tax purposes. Fortunately, it’s free and easy to obtain via the IRS website.
Get Your Business Licensed and Insured
Aside from your vet license, you also need a business license for your vet practice. You can only get this after providing proof of insurance in most states. You may need general liability, business, and worker’s compensation insurance.
Form Your Team of Like-Minded Individuals
Becoming a veterinarian enables you to do your part in protecting animal welfare. For this reason, you want to ensure everyone in your team has the same goal and vision.
Thus, you must carefully vet every candidate applying for a job in your practice. At the very least, these include a vet assistant, a vet technician, and a receptionist. You can also hire a licensed recruitment firm to perform this task.
For other aspects of your business, consider outsourcing them. Some examples of outsourceable services are IT, accounting, bookkeeping, and billing for veterinarians.
Promote Your Veterinary Practice
With all the paperwork done, you can now start marketing your practice online and offline. For starters, your clinic should have a website and social media accounts. As for offline strategies, have your friends and family spread the news to their networks.
Start Preparing for the Big Opening Day
When starting a veterinary practice, the biggest holdup you may face is the startup cost. After all, it’s a significant investment, which is why it pays to take out a loan. Then, once approved, you can get all the paperwork done, form your team, and start marketing.
After that, all you have to do is to cut the red ribbon and eagerly await your patients.
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