Traditional models of veterinary practice ownership may seem all-consuming to today's early career veterinarians. Yet, practice ownership can be one of the more financially rewarding areas in the field. Finding new ways to own and co-own can provide the autonomy, stability, and improved work-life balance that so many new generation veterinarians would like to achieve.
- Owning a practice has many benefits.
- The path to ownership takes many forms and is not the same for everyone.
- You can do it your own way with the right help and support.
- On average, practice owners make 50% more than associates working the same hours.
- There are many consultants and lenders who can help you navigate this process.
- I strongly recommend partnering with someone who shares your vision and work ethic.
- Start learning the business side of veterinary medicine early (if you haven't already).
- You are in charge of: when you work, whom you work with, and how you work as a practice.
Q: How did you decide to become a practice owner?
A: I fell into it really and had the right encouragement from family and friends to go for it.
Q: What gap do you see in the veteriary practice ownership field currently?
A: I hear too many practice owners who are waiting too long to work on their succession plan or exit strategy. Early career veterinarians need yeare to build the will and ability to buy in.
Q: How can practice ownership not be overwhelming and all-consuming?
A: Delegating tasks and being efficient with your time as an owner is key. Knowing your strengths can help you do this more successfully.
Q: How do I find the resources to help me pursue practice ownership?
A: Online, conferences, VetPartners, personal referrals or recommendations and ultimately, go with your gut about who you want advice from and ta working realtionship with.
Q: What alternatives to a traditional practice model are you aware of?
A: Multiple owner small business corporations have been around quite some time but some entrepreneurial vets are creating a co-op model for wellness plans and more.
Q: How much business and financial knowledge do I need to have?
A: Remember you can learn as you go. Get the basics down first. Ask for open book sharing at your practice so you can see balance sheets and get a feel for the revenue and expenses.
Q: What if I change my mind? Am I stuck forever?
A: Depending on the practice type and how much you own, it can be difficult to walk away without significant planning and negotiation so your commitment should be pretty longterm.
Q: What about all my student debt--will anyone loan me MORE to buy into a practice?
A: Yes! There are a number of veterinary-specific lenders who know our field and are quite comfortable lending to veterinarians who hjave existing loan debt.
Q: How can being a practice owner help me "do it all?"
A: You must let the veterinary career support your life without letting it run your life. If you have other interests or commitments, structure your practice-owning work around those.
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