Q&A: Buying a practice has its pluses
There are many advantages to buying an existing practice, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Craig Woloshyn. The most important benefit for young doctors is the instant personal income you'll receive, assuming the practice is priced correctly. Also, you'll have an existing staff with proven procedures for running the practice profitably, as well as a built-in client base. You'll have a building and equipment, which eliminates large initial infrastructure expenditures. And, most important, you'll have an income stream in place.
In addition, you become an instant part of the local veterinary community rather than adding another clinic to the competitive mix, which would dilute profitability for everyone. Baby boomer doctors are reaching retirement age, so there are lots of clinics becoming available for sale, providing plenty of opportunities for new practice owners.
If you can't find an existing practice with a good reputation in your area, consider starting a practice from scratch. This generally means finding an area of rapid housing growth, which isn't happening much at the moment. New clinics are generally more expensive than older ones, and it can take a long time to become profitable. Meanwhile, the debt is instantaneous, and it can be staggering.Either way, of course, you can make mistakes and fail, so be sure to get some business help early on. Even a small practice is a million-dollar investment, so there's a lot on the line. Do your homework, find some knowledgeable advisors, and you'll soon have an enjoyable and profitable practice of your own.