Becoming a Private Practice Veterinarian: Your Veterinary Business Plan

You’ve made the decision - maybe even picked out the exact property - to build or buy a clinic. How do you sell your vision to a funder? Your veterinary business plan is the answer. 

We have experience on both sides of the equation: as someone who dreams of becoming a private practice veterinarian while working for a large, corporate practice, and now, as someone who guides you through the funding process. Built based on that experience, we’ve created “Your Guide to Building a Veterinary Business Plan” for you. This includes understanding what you need (or don’t need) to include in your veterinary business plan:

What's inside

1. Summary/Proposal

What a funder specifically needs to know “at-a-glance”. In addition to the usual business plan items of business description, mission statement, leadership team summary, financial summary, overarching growth plans and how much you are looking to finance, you also need to include:

  • Whether you are buying an existing practice, OR building a new clinic from the ground up
  • Overall size and scope of practice
  • High-level demographics/market potential summary

Having a strong proposal/summary sets the stage for potentially positive responses to a veterinary business plan.

3. Market Potential/Location Analysis

Veterinary practices serve specific markets both geographically, as well as demographically. You’ll want to provide details about the depth and breadth of that local market, both in potential clients - and for existing practices, current clients. Being able to answer additional questions about competition and your plans for optimizing your opportunity to earn that business is key.

2. Detailed Business Description

This is where you are going to dig in and describe your veterinary clinic and services in detail. How your organization is going to be structured and how you’ll serve your market:

  • Leadership team and respective biographies, being sure to call out other DVMs
  • Type of tax entity (single proprietor; LLC; etc.)
  • Number/types of employees (and if buying an existing business, which ones are you inheriting/ keeping - or not) and the projection for salaries, benefits, etc.
  • Build-out plans for either an existing clinic or the new one - including construction costs
  • Who will be (or in the case of an existing clinic, who are) the clients - including details on whether small animal/pet practice and/or large animal practice
  • What other revenue generating activities will be offered: pet food, products, etc. - and for existing clinic, contracts that may already be in place that might be valuable to continue
  • Paint a picture with details that can help the funder see your vision realized

4. Sales and Marketing Strategy

You outlined the competitive landscape in the prior section - now you’ll need to lay out the details for attracting, retaining and growing the engagement with clients’ families - so when they add another furry family member, you are first stop on their list.

5. Funds Request and Financial Projections

Time to get down to the nitty-gritty of asking for exactly what you need for funds, how you plan to use them plus how that relates to earnings potential and capability to repay the loan. If you are building a new clinic, what of this is to be used for the capital outlay vs operating expenses for first x # of years? If you are buying an existing business, what are you planning to acquire as part of the assets, while mitigating the risk of liabilities. Clearly defined details and documentation are the core of a successful veterinary practice business plan.

6. Additional Materials

Depending on your particular opportunity, there are additional appendices you’ll want to include:

  • Licenses
  • Existing agreements for referral partners, products and/or related care facilities (specialties; hospitals)
  • Resumes, credit histories and references for principals
  • And more.

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