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How do you know when to open your own veterinarian practice?

I want to know when Veterinarians decide to go from working at a practice to opening up their own

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Daniel’s Answer

Great question Jordan!

Below are some keys to know when to start your own practice.

1. How long have you worked at a veterinarian practice? At minimum, you would need to work 5 years and build some rapport with clients. By doing so if you leave you have a good chance of some clients following you to your new practice. I would also network with people in the community and you could also work with a local marketing firm to help get your new practice recognized. Another great option is to meet with your local chamber of commerce. Usually, at least once a year they will put on an event to help local businesses meet with the citizens in that area. The best overall method is word of mouth. That is why building your relationship with clients is key to starting your own practice.

2. Can you do anything to set you apart from the competition? This could be extra certifications you could acquire or specializing in large animals. The customer experience is another way to differentiate yourself. I can't tell you how many times my wife and I have picked a business simply because they had excellent Google Reviews. Most people are usually passionate about great/poor service. If you go out of your way to help they will notice and pass that along. If you or your office staff is rude rest assured they will let everyone know to avoid your practice. I know this is simple but 95% of businesses fail in this one key area. Look at brands that people love or have a massive loyalty to. Southwest Airlines, Discount Tire, Toms Shoes, Chick-fil-A. All of these brands have great customer service!

3. How many vet practices are located in a 5-10 mile area? As a pet owner when there is something wrong with our border collie we want to be able to get to our vet fast. Obviously, the less veterinarian practices in your area the more people will come to your office. I am not saying you need to open your practice in the country but be mindful of your location. You can't work 24/7 but having the option for people to contact you or your office after hours for an emergency will give people peace of mind that your/your office is always available and willing to help in a crisis.

I hope some of these items help. Good luck on the journey!
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Dr Gretchen’s Answer

I love that you are asking this question Jordan, as it shows you already have an entrepreneurial mindset! That is what it takes to open a practice of your own! I worked as an associate for 1 year and always knew that I wanted to own my own business. I did my due diligence to research the economics and population dynamics and competition in as my chosen area . I bought a piece of land, designed my own veterinary hospital, built it from ground up and included a grooming and boarding facility. Then I put an announcement in the local newspaper and opened my doors to the public- not knowing if anyone would come. They did. I can still remember my very first client-the Perkins-a British couple who used to be breedets and show their dogs -with their 5 Cairn terriers! They were my clients for life! I went on to get my hospital AAHA certified, because it was important to me to show my clients that I was willing to exceed in my care for their companions. Once you establish yourself as a sincere and approachable veterinarian with sincerity, your clients will follow. Show them not how much you know, but how much you care❤️ I went on to own and build 2 veterinary hospitals, hire associates, and continue today to own my own business. As long as you are willing to work hard, , be innovative, take care of your clients and treat their pets like family, motivate your employees, be sincere in your care and cultivate your bedside manner, you can open your heart and your doors anywhere you choose! 😊
Dr Gretchen Pearson, DVM
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