First, realize that the world has changed. Practices are striving to meet payroll with fewer clients coming in. A fixed-salary
contract may be a dinosaur in today's economy. Productivity compensation is in. That's a good thing because everyone deserves
to be rewarded for additional diligence and thoroughness in history-taking and communication with clients.
One of the first questions you need to ask is, what is the potential number of transactions available for me in this practice?
If the current transactions are less than 12 per veterinarian per day, then potential compensation may be disappointing. A
decade ago, a practitioner was not considered fully employed unless he or she was seeing 15 to 18 clients per day. Times change.
As transactions per veterinarian drops, so do income and employment.Look for at least 1.8 technicians per veterinarian. That
is an indicator of services such as radiology and drawing lab samples being done by paraprofessionals, releasing veterinarians
to diagnostic medicine and surgery.
Seek areas of growth, predominantly in the South or West, as tens of millions migrate from the North.
Divide the population by 6,000 to determine the number of veterinarians supportable in the area. It's no different than your
school years. Homework and research are important.
Look for a practice with older owners seeking an exit plan for retirement and have stable or increasing revenues indicative
Practices selling for a year's revenues in the 1970s are now worth only half as much, cutting retirement income.
The Department of Commerce cites large numbers of veterinary-practice owners reaching retirement age, but you might be well
advised to buy a pith helmet, because it's a jungle out there.
Dr. Snyder, a well-known consultant, publishes Veterinary Productivity, a newsletter for practice productivity. He can be
reached at 112 Harmon Cove Towers Secaucus, NJ 07094; (800) 292-7995;
fax: (866) 908-6986.