Written by: Bill Murray, National Sales Manager, Veterinary Division, Bank of America Practice Solutions!

Choose the right professionals when you buy a veterinary hospital

When you step into veterinary hospital ownership, it’s as crucial to assemble the right team of professionals as it is to plan treatment for one of your furry patients. The fact is, when you acquire a veterinary business, you will face complexities that demand expertise beyond the realm of animal care. To navigate this venture successfully, the team you gather around you is indispensable.

Here are some professionals to consider and what they should bring to the table:

Veterinary Practice Broker: A skilled practice broker specializing in the buying and selling of veterinary practices. When you are ready to find a practice that aligns with your goals and budget, the practice broker’s knowledge of the industry landscape, market trends, valuation methods, and negotiation skills can be invaluable. In most cases, the practice broker will represent the seller’s interest, so you will want your representation. On your team, you will need an attorney at a minimum and potentially an accountant or buy-side representative to assist with your negotiations and interpretation of the data presented to you during the transaction. However, the practice broker can help you locate a practice for sale, introduce you to the seller, and provide you with the necessary documents to aid you in making your decision to buy or not.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA): A CPA with experience in veterinary practices can offer financial guidance throughout the acquisition process. From assessing the financial health of the practice to explaining tax implications and making financial projections, their expertise ensures you’ll gain a clear understanding of the business’s fiscal aspects. Having a CPA with industry-specific knowledge can give you an advantage going forward, too. They can advise you on how a veterinary hospital operates and show you improvements you can make as the new owner that can help increase revenue, establish cost savings, and ultimately grow your bottom line.

Veterinary Attorney: Engaging a lawyer well-versed in veterinary practice acquisitions helps in navigating legal intricacies. They review contracts, ensure compliance with regulations, and safeguard your interests in negotiations, lease agreements, employment contracts, and other legal matters. This is one of those areas where transactional experience can help you save time and money, and it is best not to cut corners.

Lender with Veterinary Experience: For many, financing the purchase of a veterinary practice is a necessity. A lender who knows veterinary acquisitions will assist you with securing loans, exploring financing options, and structuring deals in a way that’s beneficial for your financial well-being. You should expect to receive clear financing offers that detail fees, interest rates, terms, payments, and pre-payment flexibility before you are expected to accept. Working with a lender who also provides the banking products you will need as a new business owner is helpful to you, too.

Practice Consultant: A practice consultant can provide insights into the operational aspects of the business. They assist in streamlining workflows, optimizing staffing, implementing efficient systems, and enhancing overall practice management. You may not want to introduce major changes to operations in an existing practice right from the start, but having an outside firm review the protocols of the office and seek out efficiencies could be a great idea as you grow into ownership.

Insurance Specialist: An insurance specialist knowledgeable about veterinary practices can guide you through insurance requirements. They will ensure you have adequate coverage for the business, employees, and liabilities, which minimizes potential risks. As an owner, you have many more considerations beyond life and disability insurance for your business. Working with an insurance agent who understands what your needs are – and who can help mitigate risks to you as an owner – can be invaluable. You will especially appreciate your insurance specialist when those risks present themselves and you are covered.

The synergy among these professionals creates a robust support system. As they offer expertise in their respective domains, they are also collectively ensuring you have a smoother transition into practice ownership. Their collaborative effort minimizes risks, optimizes opportunities, and equips aspiring veterinary business owners with the knowledge and confidence they need to thrive in a competitive industry.

Remember, each professional plays a critical role in the acquisition process, contributing to the foundation upon which your veterinary practice will flourish. Investing time and resources in assembling your “dream team” is an investment in the success and longevity of your future practice.