If you plan on opening a vet clinic, make sure you have these 9 crucial steps covered.
- Plan your business
Firstly, you need to come up with a solid business plan. In order to do so, there are a few aspects you need to keep in mind.
How much are the start-up costs? How much should you charge for your services? Who are your target customers? What will be the name of your vet business? These are just some of the important questions.
What are the start-up costs?
Firstly, the location of your clinic matters. You need to aim for an area with lots of pets and clinics already established. You can also consult a veterinary consultant who will analyse some good areas for your business.
Along with the start-up costs, you also need to prepare your budget for some additional supplies such as:
- Lab equipment: $30,000
- Medical equipment: $40,000
- Setup for the waiting room and examination rooms: $10,000
- Bookkeeping setup: $2,000
- Practice management software: $3,500
- Insurance: $2,000
- Marketing materials: $2,300 – $8,000
What are the ongoing expenses?
Veterinary clinics have to be supplied with prescription medicine at all times. The inventory of medicine and speciality food will probably be the biggest ongoing expense. Additionally, you will be investing a lot of money into marketing until your business grows.
Apart from medicine and food, the most important expense is your payroll. Your employees are your most valuable asset. They work both behind the scene and on the frontline to keep the business running smoothly and make sure that customers are satisfied. They need to be rewarded for their hard work.
Who is your target market?
You can open a standard veterinary clinic that treats birds, lizards and everything in between. However, if you opt for a more specialized veterinary clinic where you will provide surgical and emergency care, your target market will fall under the category that you choose.
How much can you charge customers?
Clinic visit fees can go from $35 to $150. To come up with competitive pricing you first need to examine the pricing from other clinics in your area. As for the traditional prescription medications they are usually marked up 2.5 times cost and preventives and chronic-use medications are marked at around 1.5 to 2 times cost. Lastly, vaccine prices vary based on historical pricing.
The business name
Choosing the name can be quite challenging, but it’s an important step. If you don’t have any ideas, you can try using a name generator online. Before you register your business name, make sure to check the following:
- Federal and state trademark records
- Your state’s business records
- Social media networks
- Web domain availability
- Form a legal entity
You need to form a legal entity that will protect you in case your veterinary practice gets sued. Some of the most common structure types you can choose from are partnership, proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
- Register for taxes
To open your business, you also need to register for several state and federal taxes and before you do that, you need to apply for an EIN. It’s a very simple process.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on your business structure type, your business can be differently taxed. For instance, an LLC can benefit from being taxed as an S corporation.
- Open a business bank account & credit card
In order to protect your personal asset, you need to use dedicated business banking and credit accounts. Don’t mix your business and personal accounts because you will be putting your personal assets at risk if your clinic gets sued. So, you need to open a separate bank account and get a credit card for your business.
- Set up business accounting
You need to set up business accounting in order to track your expenses and income. This is a key element and it helps you understand the financial performance of your business.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Before opening your clinic, you also need to make sure you have acquired all of the needed licences and permits. If you fail to acquire them, your business can be shut down. You need to get informed about both state and local business licensing requirements before you open your business.
- Get business insurance
Apart from necessary licences and permits, you also need to get your business insurance so that you can operate safely and within the law. This is how you protect your business in case of a covered loss.
There are several different insurance types for different types of businesses. You need to start with General Liability Insurance, but you also need to get specific insurance for your business or in this case business insurance for vets. Additionally, you also need to get Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
- Define your brand
Creating a brand means introducing yourself to the market. You need to define your brand well because that is where the customers get their first impression from. Your brand needs to clearly state what your business stands for.
How to promote & market a veterinary practice
There are many ways to promote and market your brand. Firstly, you need to have a website for your business and social media accounts. These are great platforms for reaching your target audience.
You can also partner with other local businesses. For example, you can connect with a local groomer in your local area and create joined deals where if you treat a dog at your clinic, you can recommend the local groomer’s business and vice versa. They can promote you in return.
- Create your business website
After you define your brand and create a logo, it’s time to create a business website. However, your job is not done once you create a website. You need to know how to use it. You need to be consistent and active on your website. Make sure the site is easy to navigate and that it can be used on all devices. Provide all of the necessary information on your website and ensure that your customers can easily reach you.
All in all, if you cover these important steps, your vet business will be all set up and ready for the grand opening.