Setting up your veterinary practice
At Raising Finance, our business finance team includes specialists in the veterinary sector. You can use our expertise to find the perfect funding sources to set up or buy your own clinic or scale up up existing one.
Give us a call today for a free consultation!
Even veterinary practices need financial support to grow and succeed. We recognise the struggles a plethora of different businesses within the healthcare sector face daily, which is why we work hard to find you solutions for all your financial needs.
Start-up or buy an existing practice?
The thought of owning your own veterinary practice is likely driven by your passion for your craft. Although we recommend that you go into this sector just like any other business venture, starting your own veterinary practice in the UK is not for the faint-hearted.
After you manage to obtain financing, the break-even period for this business is often 3-5 years. Usually obtaining financing for a start up veterinary clinic is more difficult than buying an existing practice. The primary difference being with an existing clinic, you will inherit their current business, which translates to immediate cash flow with the practice acquisition whereas, with a start-up, there is not that existing foundation.
How do I set up a veterinary clinic?
A veterinary practice is just like any other business. Don’t let the sector itself scare you from being able to start up your business. If you are ready to take the next step to start up your own veterinary clinic in the UK here is a simple 5 step guide we have put together. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out and ensured to succeed propper and legally from the very beginning.
Step 1: Make a business plan
A clear plan is essential for the success of any business venture. A clear and succinct business plan will also prove to any lender you approach that you have mapped out the specifics of your business including startup and ongoing costs. Your business plan will need to include who your target market will be, how long it will take you to break even amongst many other aspects that you will need to think about.
The most important part of your business plan is your numbers! Current financials and future projections are vital aspects to include.
Luckily, after you have thought all this through, we can ease some of your stress and help you find the right financing that is best for you and your business.
Step 2: Choose a location
Location is paramount to your business’ success. Choosing an area that is saturated with pet owners and facilities for them (such as doggy parks) will help ensure regular business, while also choosing an area that isn’t already flooded with veterinary clinics.
After location comes property.
You need to pick an estate that is quite visible so that it will be easy for potential customers to find you. Aspects of a location such as easy access and parking spaces are often overlooked however, they are vital aspects you must consider when choosing the optimal location for your veterinary practice.
Step 3: Make your business legal
You will need to form a legal entity for your business. This means once you establish a legal business entity such as an LLC, you are prevented from being personally liable if your veterinary practice is ever sued.
You should consider using a registered service to help protect your privacy and guide you through the steps to make your business legal.
Step 4: Business insurance
Finding tailored insurance for your veterinary practice can be time consuming and challenging, that’s why we can also make this easy for you and offer our services. You will need to get veterinary insurance as it will protect you against a number of unforeseen events that may lead to claims being made against you. Liability insurance is just as important to your staff and your furry clients. As careful as you may be, accidents do happen from time to time and that’s where insurance comes in.
Insurance for vets is designed to protect your liabilities and assets. Getting insurance for your business is just as important as obtaining licences and permits. Your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business insurance protects your company’s well being if any unfortunate event was to take place.
Step 5: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
You need to ensure that you have all the necessary licenses and permits before you open your doors. Failure to acquire any necessary licenses can result in hefty fines or cause you business to shut down.
A veterinary clinic is usually run out of an office building or something similar to a GP office. Businesses that are operating out of a physical location, typically require a certificate of occupancy (CO). Obtaining a CO will confirm all building codes and ensure that all government regulations have been met.
What costs are involved in opening a veterinary practice?
There are many startup costs that you will need to consider. Here is a rough guide of additional supplies you will need to budget for:
- Medical & surgical equipment
- Staffing costs
- Lab equipment
- Kennel equipment
- Waiting room setup
- Examination rooms setup
- Management softwares
- Marketing materials
Opening this kind of business can be very expensive, which is why it is common for many veterinary startups to look for additional funding. With our free consultation we will be able to determine whether a loan is available to you and what types of financing will be best for starting up your own veterinary clinic in the UK.
What are ongoing expenses for a veterinary practice in the UK?
There are a few hefty ongoing expenses for veterinary clinics. This includes keeping a steady supply of prescription medicine on hand at all times, as patients often depend on it. Specialty food will also need to be a part of your inventory and will prove to be one of your greatest and most necessary ongoing expenses.
This is often overlooked but until your business grows, you will need to dedicate a portion of your monthly budget to a marketing strategy to get the word of your vet practice out there and invite potential customers. For many startup businesses the largest expense will be payroll.
You will also need to consider costs such as either purchasing a commercial property or renting one out. You will also likely require professional expenses such as accountancy and legal services.
How does a veterinary clinic make money?
Veterinarian practices charge a flat office visit fee. They also charge separate service fees for testing, X-rays and prescribed medicine. They are all added to the final bill individually.
Most veterinary practices also offer a wide range of goods such as specialist pet food, toys and accessories. These are often very lucrative sides of the business.
How to market a veterinary practice in the UK
There are a number of ways to define your brand and let the pet-owning community know that you have opened your doors and are ready to treat their pets. First and foremost, every business must have a website and active social media pages. This is what you should have at the least. Having a social media presence can help your business immensely and it’s a great cost-effective tool for attracting business.
Some clinics have had great success marketing through partnering with other local businesses. Connecting with local groomers in the area and offering discounts for referrals will help conjure up more business for you. Open houses and events are a great idea to host when your business is ready to open. This gives both you and your clients to openly meet each other.
What is the growth potential for a veterinary practice?
There is a lot of opportunity within the animal care sector for your business to grow and thrive. It can take some time to get your name out there, but after having made a name for yourself within the animal community there are multiple options for growth. Use your name as a brand and once you grow you will have the opportunity to franchise.
Funding your veterinary practice
Buying an existing practice can be helpful to you as you will inherit its current client base. However, this will require a substantial investment. You will be often able to arrange a business loan to finance this. Secured loans are ideal for larger sums while unsecured loans can be used for smaller amounts and are suited more towards funding for equipment and other costs for your practice.
If your goal is to buy into a larger practice, sometimes it just isn’t feasible to buy into it directly, you will have to do so as a partner. This is usually best to do when there is an availability to buy out a current partner who may be retiring. Buy-In and Buy-out finance may also help provide tailored funding for you to make full use of the opportunity to buy into a large company.
Funding for veterinary equipment
Many different types of equipment are needed in a veterinary clinic from ultrasounds to printers and copy machines. Whether you are ready for an update or you are setting up a new practice, being able to provide up to date treatments with the latest technology is essential to deliver the quality of care that you want. Unfortunately, the latest equipment comes at quite a hefty price point. From digital X-rays to portable ultrasounds, it will require a major investment. We have found that asset funding can often be one of the most cost effective solutions for you when you need equipment for your practice.
Leasing equipment can be a great option depending on your financial situation. Those who have limited capital and need equipment that needs to be upgraded quite frequently, leasing is a good option for you. Leasing the latest technology will allow you to provide up to date treatments without the large costs that are accompanied by actually owning the equipment. Leasing gives you the freedom and flexibility that your cash flow will need.
Leasing equipment that you need preserves capital. It is important to note that in the long run, leasing will almost always be more expensive than purchasing the equipment out right. However, a great advantage for practices that are just starting up with slim cash flows, lease payments can usually be dedicated as a business expense on your tax return, in turn, reducing the net cost of your lease.
Hire purchase can be a good way to hire equipment that you may need rather than buy it outright. You will be able to hire the instruments for a period of time by paying instalments and you have the opportunity to own the equipment at the end of the agreement if all instalments are paid.
You will often need a good credit score to get hire purchase deals at the lowest interest rates. Even though instalments can be repaid monthly or quarterly depending on what suits you best, they are known for their higher interest costs which makes them an expensive choice in the long run.
Finances will be through the roof for you, especially when you are just starting up. Investing in good quality used equipment may be a good investment for your practice while you are starting up. Buying used and refurbished veterinary equipment may mean that you save a lot more than buying brand new equipment and contrary to popular belief, you will not have to pay cash.
Our trusted advisors at Raising Finance can help you spread the costs of used and new equipment. We have found that the most cost effective way to do this is through asset finance. We will be able to provide you with solutions, not just for clinical equipment that you will need but for all items you will need to use in your practice, however mundane they will be, we can help you reduce the costs for you.
Funding to buy your premises
You will need a clinic for your practice with kennels, consultation rooms and a waiting room. You may need help with extra funding for the deposit of a long term lease.
Depending on your situation, it may be more cost effective to buy a suitable property with a commercial mortgage as it might reduce your monthly outgoings.
Tax loans for veterinary practices in the UK
Having a tax loan arrangement can help lift the overbearing expenses that you encounter when you first open up your practice. A tax loan helps spread out the cost of annual and quarterly tax demands by paying them off with regular monthly payment, helping your cash flow and keeping the tax man off your back.
Working capital finance for your veterinary clinic
Working capital finance is business finance designed to boost the working capital available to your business. It is often used to help the growth of your business or help in day to day finances for startups. This loan will help finance everyday operations not to purchase any assets or equipment. This loan can be particularly advantageous during the early stages of your new practice, giving you the necessary cash to pay staff and suppliers. The loan itself is designed to be short term.
Find out more about working capital finance here.
Funding a Veterinary practice with Raising Finance
There are many financial logistics that you need to understand to help ensure the success of your practice. Here at Raising Finance, we are here to make your dream of opening your own veterinary practice come through with the best financial options for you! Contact our experienced team today to help find the best funding and mentoring that will help you start your business on the right foot.
Major projects, such as buying as practice may require funding from multiple sources. We can provide the most cost-effective solutions to each aspect of your financial planning. Our help and advice is derived from years of experience in the sector. Our experienced advisors can help you through any hurdles that you may encounter through your business acquisition!
Contact us today for a free consultation on how to start your dream business.
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