Animal lovers often look for a way to turn their passion for these wonderful creatures into a full-time job. From pet-sitting to making tasty treats for pets, there are various animal-related jobs one can opt for. If you’re considering starting a vet business, here is what you need to know.
Get the proper education and licenses
For starters, if you want to work in your veterinary clinic and not just be the boss, you need proper education. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s important that you understand that you cannot become a veterinarian overnight. You will need a four-year bachelor degree, then an additional four years to get your doctor’s degree and potentially a few more years if you want to specialize in a niche like neurology or cardiology. However, if you’re considering this business move, you probably already have your degree. On the other hand, even with a veterinary degree, you still have to get accredited by a local authority before you can start your practice. So, look into all the licenses you need to acquire in order to open a vet business. Another thing you should consider here is that you might not be comfortable handling everything by yourself right after graduating. Think about working in a few practices before you’re sure you can start your own.
Come up with a business plan
No matter the kind of company you want to start, a business plan needs to be a vital part of it. This document should clearly state your mission, goals, and values. In addition to describing what you need in order to open your business, you should also write down how you plan to operate it and where you see it in a year, three, and five. Furthermore, you want to do some market research to better understand your target audience and your competition. Is there even a gap in the market that you could fill or are there already too many vet clinics in your area? What will you be offering that can set you apart from every other veterinarian in town? Having a detailed report on what you intend on doing will make it easier to accomplish your vision. Moreover, you should also come up with a good name for your company that will get you noticed.
Something else that needs to be a big part of your business plan is the finances. You need to know if you have enough funds to start your company and if not, how you can acquire them. For example, you might have been saving up for a while in order to be able to afford everything. Then, you might have decided to borrow some money from friends and family. Lastly, you might still be looking for a way to finance this dream. With that in mind, you can consider bank loans, angel investors, and even crowdfunding. Whichever option you decide to go with, it’s vital that you understand how you need to repay it and if you’ll be losing any executive power in the company.
Find the right location
You also have to find the right location for your practice. It’s best to look for a place that is easily accessible and has plenty of parking to accommodate all your clients. Additionally, you should also add an area where nervous pets can relieve themselves before they enter your clinic.
Cover all legal aspects
Once you’ve made sure that your business idea is solid and has a future, it’s time to incorporate. Choose the business structure you think will suit your company best. Experts recommend establishing an LLC or a corporation as it will protect you from being personally liable in case your company is ever sued. If you’re not sure how to file all the documents that you need, it’s always a good idea to turn to an attorney to ensure everything is done by the book. Something else you need to remember to do is register for various taxes and obtain all necessary permits for operating a business.
Make sure you get insurance
An important aspect you cannot afford to overlook when starting your own practice is insurance. It’s vital that you look into the best vet practice insurance in order to protect your business from all sorts of unexpected circumstances. For instance, get insurance that will keep your company safe from claims for property damage or personal injury. Then, you also want insurance that will cover material damage and financial loss. If there is a theft, fire, or any other accident that might require new equipment or temporarily closing down your practice, this kind of insurance will cover the replacement or your loss of income.
Equip your business
The next step should be equipping your business with all the tools that you need to operate smoothly. From exam tables and small instruments to lab equipment, ultrasounds, and X-ray machines all the way to furniture for the reception, there is a lot to cover so ensure your budget is big enough. The equipment and supplies you will require are countless, so you can even look into the option of renting some bigger machine if that’s a possibility.
Hire the right staff
In the process of setting up your company, you might have turned to lawyers, accountants, and insurance agents. It’s a good idea to stay in close contact with them as you don’t know when you might need their services again. However, you also need to look for the right staff for your company. As you will not be able to handle all obligations on your own, you want to look for other experienced veterinarians, nurses, and assistants. Having an office manager is also a good idea.
Decide on your prices
One decision you will also have to make concerns your prices. By looking into your competitors during the research phase, you’ve surely learned about their prices as well. Taking that into account, you want to set competitive prices that will still allow you to make a profit and your company to thrive. You can offer slightly lower prices as that can attract more people to your business and help establish you in the field.
Develop a good marketing strategy
To get your prices out there, you have to develop a quality marketing strategy. No matter if you decide to promote yourself on your own or hire a specialized company to handle your marketing, you need to cover both online and offline advertising methods. For example, you need to join a few social media platforms and look for the best ways to appeal to your potential customers. Post plenty of useful content and encourage them to turn to you if they have any questions. Moreover, make sure you have a quality website that lists your address, email, phone numbers, and other ways how you can be contacted. Then, you should still make the most of traditional marketing channels like radio ads and promotional flyers. For return clients, you can even offer a loyalty program where they will get a discount every time they bring their pet in for a checkup or something more serious.
When starting a veterinary practice, there are a lot of bases to cover. From developing a business plan to properly promoting your company, don’t skip any of these steps.