Harness your veterinary practice purchasing prowess

Harness your veterinary practice purchasing prowess

A carefully planned strategy could make you a contender in the race for practice ownership.
Aug 01, 2013

You're a few years out of school and you've put a decent dent in your student debt. You've got a good job as an associate, but recently you've had a nagging feeling you could run a practice every bit as well as your boss—probably even better.

You consider starting a practice from scratch. But the idea of incurring even more debt without any assurance of incoming cash flow is daunting. Instead you wonder about buying an existing practice, along with its ready-made income stream. That might just be the ticket—if you do some careful planning and take the appropriate steps.

Easy to finance, hard to find

Recent research by veterinary consultants indicates that practices available for purchase are increasingly hard to come by (see the April dvm360 cover story "Attention practice owners: Buyers are lining up"). For those who monitor the financial markets, this development is not unexpected—rather, it was inevitable.

As large corporate veterinary practices continue to pursue target hospitals, the demand for them increases. At the same time, the U.S. Federal Reserve is forcing interest rates down with its policy of so-called "quantitative easing," which makes cash easily available. This makes financing and the cost of entry (the monthly expense for a loan to buy a practice) less of a hurdle than it has been in the past.

For these reasons it's tougher to locate practices that are available to buy. So as a potential buyer, you need a solid strategy.