I have lost count of the number of occasions when I have written in this column that partnership in a veterinary practice is very similar to marriage. The analogy is one that potential partners must ignore at their peril. Nonetheless, joint ownership of a professional practice can be much like something else as well: a couple moving in together.
With the help of a patient-care coordinator, Veterinary Medical Clinic in Tampa, Fla., is seeing double-digit growth for the first time in years--and patients are enjoying even healthier lives, says practice owner Dr. Eddie Garcia. "The patient wins because it gets a better follow-up on what the doctor recommends and a better quality of life, and the client gets to enjoy the pet longer. The clinic wins because we're providing the service and making the income," he says.
Not long ago in a Midwestern town, the owner of Wylie Animal Hospital, a two-doctor practice, called our office for help. The caller, Dr. Rudy Wylie (a composite character based on real practitioners), was an established practitioner whose companion animal practice had always been able to pay its bills, give staff members an annual raise, and maintain its client base.
Small business owners are particularly vulnerable to the risks of a prolonged illness or disability, because they're often the business's main asset. In other words, the business's success often depends on the owner's ability to earn income. As a business owner, you need to protect both your personal and business income. And the right insurance provides that protection.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cares about accurate classification of employees and independent contractors, but so does your state unemployment tax department. No one ever thinks he or she will get audited, and many practitioners are surprised to learn that state unemployment departments often audit more frequently than the IRS.