Many veterinarians choose to have their own private practice. But this is not easy to do especially if you have financial constraints or do not have an existing list of clients. One way to have your own veterinary clinic is by buying an existing one. How? Read on.
- Determine where the money will come from. You need to identify your financial source even before you dream of purchasing an existing veterinary clinic. If you need to make a loan, get your credit report. See how you fare and find out if you have any derogatory notices. Make sure you get the discrepancies corrected. Then, shop for a financial institution you can loan from and work with them to find out how much you are qualified to borrow and at what terms. This allows you to set the price range that you can work with when shopping for a veterinary clinic.
- Decide on the type of practice you want to buy. Small animals or a combination of small and large ones? Do you want to work with farm animals? Rural setting or in the urban jungle?
- Look for veterinary clinics for sale. A simple online search can yield you a variety of results. You can also visit the websites of Veterinary Practice Sales Group (VPSG), The Vet Broker, Simmons Veterinary Practice Sales&Appraisals and VeterinaryMLS.com. These sites can point you to veterinary practices that are for sale or for lease. The first three offer broker services that can help you in the purchase of an existing veterinary clinic.
- Ask the seller what exactly is for sale. Does the lot come with the clinic or is it just the actual practice that he is willing to sell? Are all the medical as well as non-medical equipment for sale?
- Get an appraisal of the physical assets. Have a trusted appraiser establish the value of the office or building, the medical and non-medical equipment, existing supplies, vehicles owned by the clinic and other assets. Determine how much cash is on hand and what the receivables and payables are.
- Find out how the practice is doing. How long has it been open? What is the reputation of the clinic? Is it doing brisk business in the area? Does it have potential for growth given its’ location.
- Ask why the practice is being sold. If the vet selling the practice intends to put up a new one or work for a clinic that is already established in the same community, then you are heading for competition. This would mean that the value of the clinic would go down. See if you can manage to ask for a non-compete agreement to give you time to establish or re-establish the clinic without undue competition.
- Get professional help to compete the process. Hire a veterinary practice sales specialist. Talk to your accountant and consult with your lawyer. You will need their help to negotiate and close the sale.
Many veterinarians dream of establishing their own veterinary practices. Some find it easier to buy an existing clinic rather than setting up one from scratch. Putting up your own veterinary clinic can be risky. It some cases, it makes more sense to buy an existing one. If you are interested in buying an existing veterinary clinic, be guided by the tips above to make sure that you make the right decision.