Graduating from veterinary medicine is a success by itself, but now it’s time to put all that knowledge to good use. While you already mastered treating animals, now it’s time to conquer the business part of having your veterinary clinic. It’s not an easy ordeal, but with some effort, dedication, and planning, you will pull it off. Take a look at these steps that will help you cover all the bases when opening a vet clinic.
1. Get the financial estimate
Before you start renting and buying, you will have to start planning. Write down everything you will need for your vet clinic, from the space to the lamp above the desk. This will help you figure out how much money you will need, as well as if you can get it all or you will need to cut your expenses.
You may have to take a loan from the bank or any other source, so estimating your finances will help you stay out of more than necessary debt. There are some other things you will have to do, like opening a bank account, registering for taxes, and other things every business entity is required to have. It is something an accountant can help you with so consider hiring one to help you out with all this bureaucracy.
2. Decide on equipment
Depending on the type of your practice, you will need to buy certain equipment, like tools and devices. The most essential ones include exam and procedure tables that should be available in every treatment room. They differ on many levels based on the size of your patients and the position you need to better approach them. Another important element of your vet clinic is lighting. Besides the usual ambient lights, you will need special ones that will allow you to properly diagnose and treat your patients.
Veterinary ultrasound and digital x-ray imaging machines, you should consider getting are more expensive, but will be necessary to accurately examine your patients. If you plan to perform surgeries and other interventions requiring your patient to be unconscious, you will need anesthesia machines and IV pumps. This is not all, and there is a lot more to consider, so you will have to define your practice before buying any of the equipment to preserve a budget for exactly what you need.
3. Hire staff
It’s impossible to do it all by yourself, so you will also have to hire veterinary staff. In the beginning, you should hire only the necessary personnel, like veterinary assistants and kennel attendant. When you hire any member of your clinic, make sure to choose people who are compassionate both toward animals and their owners.
When the business starts to bloom, you can hire another doctor, a receptionist, a licensed technician, and more assistants. If there is a need for it, you can have a specialist on staff for certain conditions, and experts for more exotic animal species. That will expose your business even more and expand your client base.
4. Have insurance in place
It’s normal to experience unexpected events when you own a business coming out of claims against you or your clinic. One of the first steps to protect yourself is getting business insurance for vets so you are protected against any legal actions and damages. This can include professional indemnity and public liability insurance, which will protect you if such claims occur.
In case of financial and material damages, like fire, theft or any other accident that caused monetary loss to your property, you should have business interruption insurance. Having the right type of insurance in place will make sure that doors of your clinic stay open and you continue to practice veterinary medicine.
5. Think about marketing
Marketing is more than creating a website, social media account, and business cards. It can be a powerful tool that can help your business grow and reach your target audience. Include marketing in your financial planning right from the beginning to immediately start building a strategy.
To have all the benefits of a good marketing campaign, you will have to hire a professional to do it for you. This may be expensive and seem unnecessary, but high-level marketing can pay off in the long run. Your advertising company will create a powerful social media profile for you, research your audience, and design your promotions.
6. Invest in a good location
A location can have a lot of influence on your business and its growth. People like to know that you are close or easily accessible so they can bring you their pets in the fastest way possible. Try to find a location that is not affected by traffic jams and has enough parking spaces.
Also, consider whether you should buy or rent a property. As an owner, you will have to think about potential expansions and modifications to fit your business success. Your rights are not so flexible when you rent the space. So, think about your plans and see how to fit an attractive location and your relationship with the property into that.
Opening a vet clinic is like starting any business. With planning, management, and organization you will get your first patients and slowly grow into a clinic offering more advanced diagnostic and treatments. One day, maybe even a franchise.