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3 Tips for Starting a Veterinary Practice

So, you’ve finally decided to start your own veterinary practice. But remember, this is an important milestone for your professional career, so make sure you make the most out of this decision.

Before you jump right in, you must have an idea of what’s in store for you ahead. Starting any business can be daunting.

You must go through several steps to get started, and there may be challenges along the way. Therefore, you must come prepared.

Below are some tips to help you start a veterinary practice.

1. Location, Location

Choosing your location is one of the most important decisions you will ever make when starting your veterinary practice.

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Think carefully about where you should hold your practice and do your research well. Look for a location that offers plenty of potential clients.

Find out about the demographics in the area. Check within the 10-mile radius if there are enough pet owners.

Consider the mix of residential versus commercial property and see if the residents are renters or homeowners.

Another thing to consider when choosing a location is the competition. Determine how many other veterinary practices are in the area and check how many of them serve the clientele you want to target.

If possible, visit these practices to get your answers.

Once you find a potential location, another thing to decide is whether you should buy or rent a facility. Renting is a more prudent cash flow decision when starting up a veterinary practice.

But other factors must also be considered, such as the availability and whether you want a freestanding facility or something else. Also, consider the amount of space you need.

Moderation is the key when it comes to this. Since you’re still starting out, you do not need a huge facility at first. An area of 1,000 – 1,500 square feet should be enough to get you started.

2. Understand the Basic Business Principles

Sure, you have learned a lot about the veterinary practice from your school, and now you are eager to apply your knowledge and skills once you start your practice.

But aside from being proficient in veterinary medicine, you must also have a solid business foundation. Since you are also the business owner, you will have to take up two roles.

Although some veterinary programs have done a great job at developing a business course into a curriculum, some of them still fall short. Many veterinarians do not realize that they do not have enough knowledge about running a business.

As a result, they often find themselves wishing they know more about running a veterinary practice before they took the plunge.

Regardless of the business that you will put up, having a business plan is important. Creating a business plan should be done during the planning stage.

The business plan should include the type of veterinary clinic you wish to open, the services you plan to offer, and the size of your operation.

It should also include details about your revenue sources and potential expenditures. You also need to figure out your source of funds during the planning stage.

You also need to research the legal aspects of setting up a veterinary practice. Before you start the business, it’s highly advisable to create a legal business entity to avoid any personal liability if you will be sued for some reason.

It’s also important to research if you require any legal approvals from federal and local bodies. If you do, make sure you acquire these as early as you can to avoid any issues later.

Opening a veterinary practice is just like opening any type of business. Therefore, veterinarians must also have some sort of education about running a small business.

They should consider taking up short courses on business, even if it’s only an online course that teaches the basics of running a business.

3. Locums Can Help Staffing Issues

One of the biggest expenditures to running a business is the salaries and wages that you pay your staff. Since you are still starting, you might want to consider locum staffing, also known as temporary staffing.

It’s when an employer hires an employee to work temporarily for a certain period. A locum staff can be used by big and small businesses, especially those that need highly skilled workers like vet clinics.

There are several benefits to hiring locum tenens for your veterinary practice compared to hiring permanent staff. First, you can save a lot of money since locum staff is paid only during those days that they will be working.

But if you hire permanent employees, you are going to pay them for their entire shift, including those times where you don’t get enough patients.

Hiring locum staff for your vet clinic allows more work flexibility. There are lots of locums looking for locum vet jobs around the UK.

Over the recent years, veterinary hospitals and other healthcare services have been using locum tenens to fill staffing gaps and bring in medical staff for only a short time.

Hiring locum staff allows them to bring in new services without offering a contract to a full-time employee.

When new programs are offered, it is not clear how many patients will avail of these services. As such, it would be better for them to hire locum staff, which they can easily dismiss if the new program is not a success.

Many clinics, including those offering veterinary services, find it challenging to manage patient caseloads, especially when they are short of staff.


This is where a locum staff steps in. Using locum as immediate subs can help vets focus more on their work and not worry about the workload.

Since you are still starting your veterinary practice, you can benefit from using a locum staff. Once you start operating and the workload increases, you can consider hiring full-time staff.


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