- I'm ready to become a practice owner. What are the advantages of buying a practice versus opening one myself?
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.