Running a veterinary clinic involves much more than the daily routine of a practitioner. You’ll need a business foundation, the right staff, risk mitigation, and sound financial decisions. Before starting your practice, consider everything from the financial plan to disability insurance for soon to be veterinarians.
Here are the steps involved in launching a veterinary practice:
Plan the Business
You need a solid plan when looking to start a veterinary practice. Consider the startup and ongoing costs, target market, pricing structure, business name, and profitability. Planning allows you to map out the business specifics and identify some unknowns. You should choose a location, define the target, calculate the startup costs, and research competitors. A plan is the blueprint for every entrepreneur and allows you to determine whether the business will be profitable.
Form a Legal Entity
You can form different legal entities depending on the practice you’re starting. Sole proprietorship is the popular structure. Partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations are also common. A legal entity protects you from personal liabilities if your veterinary practice faces a lawsuit. Once you have a clear plan for the veterinary practice, you can hire an attorney to help you determine and form the ideal legal entity around the business.
Register for Business Taxes
Your veterinary practice is expected to pay business taxes to the proper authorities. Make sure you register the business for state and federal taxes before launching. To register for business taxes, you must apply for an employer identification number (EIN). You can apply for one for free through the IRS website. Taxes depend on the entity formed around your practice. An LLC may be taxed as an S Corp, while sole proprietorships and corporations have different taxes.
Open a Bank Account & Credit Card
Your veterinary practice should be separate from your personal assets and affairs. Opening a dedicated banking account and credit card line is one way to guarantee separation. Mixing business and personal accounts can put your personal assets at risk. Consider opening net 30 accounts and getting a business credit card. All business expenses should be placed on the business credit card to build your company’s credit history.
Establish Business Accounting
Business accounting is the framework for assessing your practice’s performance. You should record all business expenses and income sources and maintain accurate and detailed accounts. Besides simplifying annual tax filing, the records will help you determine whether your practice is profitable. Recording expenses also enables you to calculate the funds you need to start/run the practice. You’ll need an accountant to handle the books.
Obtain Business Permits/Licenses
You risk paying fines or being closed if you fail to obtain the necessary permits to operate a veterinary practice. Before launching a veterinary clinic, research all state permits and local licensing requirements. Each state has unique requirements. You’ll need a veterinary license from a certification board. Local regulatory requirements will also apply, so check with the town/city/county clerk. You can also seek help from local associations. Don’t forget labor safety requirements and a certificate of occupancy.
Purchase Business Insurance
Veterinary practice requires different policies to protect the business from lawsuits and other risks. Fires, sickness, disability, distrustful employees, blackouts, and hackers pose various threats to the company. If you’re accepting apprentices and undergraduates, consider disability insurance for soon to be veterinarians. Hire an expert to assess the practice and identify the liabilities and risks you must cover to protect your financial well-being.
Install a Phone System
Veterinary practices rely on direct calls made by pet owners. You should get a phone system for the company to avoid mixing personal and business calls. A phone system also automates the business and gives it greater legitimacy. Clients can easily reach your business for inquiries and appointments. You can use modern phone services to establish exceptional customer support.
Market Your Business
Setting up all these aspects without marketing will leave you with a legitimate practice and taxes to pay but no clients. You should consider a professional website for your practice and leverage social media in your marketing. Create powerful content and develop an audience to help you reach more customers in your area. Put more effort into marketing the business and getting the word out through different avenues. Exploring online marketing can also open new revenue channels.
Disability Insurance for Soon To Be Veterinarians
Insurance is a must-have if you’re looking to start a veterinary practice. Consider disability insurance for soon to be veterinarians and other policies to cover general liabilities. Disability insurance can pay for your income in case of injury and illness that leaves you unable to work. Whether you’re a practitioner or the clinic’s manager, disability insurance can offer enough to get by and keep the practice running.