Practice ownership? Dream on!
We’re not blowing smoke here—we can’t find a practice consultant who thinks a veterinarian can’t get money to buy or start a practice. (Email us at [email protected] if you think now’s a bad time to own part or all of a hospital—seriously.)
Now it remains and always will remain a shaky idea to jump into a one-percenter’s-yacht-sized cargo hold of debt because you want “buy a job.” But if you’re down with learning about business ownership (or hiring a whizbang practice manager, maybe a CVPM, to help you out), here are some starting tips from decades-long multi-practice owner Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA, who has parlayed 20 years’ practice at buying, selling and owning veterinary practices in and around the Detroit suburbs. LET’S DO THIS!
The price is right!
Umm, is it? Trust that valuation? One super-obvious element is buying the practice at the right price. Get involved in the valuation process and be sure you agree with the method of valuation and understand what your monthly obligations will be and what you can realistically expect from revenue in your first few years after buying.
Younger the better!
Great wisdom comes with age, but the early bird gets the practice growth and compound interest. “Buy earlier rather than later, that is, three to five years out of practice,” Rothstein says. Time goes quickly, and the sooner you're able to pay it off, the sooner you can be making a better living.
Price still right?
Rothstein says practice owners lost in the fun (and furious work) of day-to-day medicine and management can forget to look at the big numbers of their biggest business investment. Don’t do that.
Rothstein recommends that once you start or buy a practice, get a professional to value it at least every three years. And always be looking for future buyers. “I know a number of practitioners who have started relationships years before selling in hopes of a future sale,” Rothstein says. “This keeps the broker out of it, which means a better price for the buyer and more profit for the seller."