Selling a veterinary practice: Retirement boom or bust?
The demographic impact of the post-World War II "baby boom" has been well-chronicled over the years. This generation constitutes an enormous population peak—or wave, actually—that has taken on a life of its own in the U.S. culture and economy. The baby boom introduced into the marketplace a large group of individuals, each with similar objectives, all around the same time.
Boomers are changing the marketMost people—veterinarians included—don't want to work until they become incapacitated or pass away. Consequently, an increasing number of private practices are coming on the market for sale. And practice owners who haven't committed to selling are seriously considering it. If you haven't cultivated a family member or favored associate as part of an exit strategy, you have to go to the public marketplace.
When it comes to the baby boom generation and the veterinary practice market, it's all about supply and demand. With an increase in supply of any commodity and no corresponding increase in demand, prices for that commodity fall. That means veterinary practice sellers compete against each other for a finite number of potential buyers. And with a glut of practices available for purchase, sellers become increasingly willing to lower their asking price. Thoughts of retirement create in these practice sellers a laser-like focus on doing whatever is necessary to ensure a sale. This is especially true when sale revenue is key to providing a retirement income.