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If you’re looking to expand into a new veterinary practice, it is likely that purchasing an existing practice for sale will seem way more appealing than starting another practice from the ground up. Particularly if this is the way you went into business the first time round.
Buying an existing veterinary practice allows you to consolidate your professional position without the set-up risks and capital costs of starting a new practice. Depending on the arrangements you make with the existing owners, you will start to see returns flowing through from this business as soon as you take the reins.
The advantages of buying
There are several other aspects of the business that you will benefit from immediately—most notably, the existing client base of the clinic you’re considering buying. The expertise of the current staff and the current systems in place may also save you headaches in the long run—if you do your homework.
Set up some time with the staff at the practice, to work out whether they will be a good fit as your future employees. Think about how the existing practitioner culture suits you. Are you happy with the layout of the clinic, on the whole, or is it going to require some updates or renovations to suit your purposes? Is it on a main road? Does it have high visibility in the area?
Ways to judge if a clinic is a bargain
Research the culture of the clinic and demographics of the area carefully, to save yourself the marketing expenditure later and ensure a healthy business into the future. What does the community in the local area look like—is it growing or changing? Are there young families moving into the area? Are such families already on the books?
It’s also important to consider the accessibility features of the premises. sure you cover yourself from the word go—check how the business has been running up until now. If you will be buying in as a partner, are there existing arrangements regarding the distribution of income and expenses among these partners?
What to consider with a practice buy-in
With a practice buy-in, it’s important to ensure that you cover yourself at the outset. Consider how income and expenses are distributed among partners at the business—is it by ownership, days worked or percentages? Examine the property issues surrounding the purchase of the business—it’s important to know whether there are complex arrangements concerning the land title or lease agreement. If you are buying only a percentage of the business, these issues become even more complex.
It’s worth seeking professional advice from your accountant or financial adviser about the potential benefits and pitfalls of buying a practice. Purchasing an existing practice can save you the time you would need to set up from scratch, but you are buying an entity that has been operating without you for some time. Thorough investigation of the business proposition can save you from the sense that you’re not in control of all aspects of the practice down the track.
In other words, it’s important to be comfortable about what you’re buying into.