Veterinary Clinics For Sale: Complete Listings
Starting a veterinary clinic from scratch may not be the best option for your business. This doesn’t mean that you can’t own your own clinic, however; you might be surprised to learn just how many veterinary clinics for sale in your area.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the basics of owning a veterinary practice and the steps necessary to determine if the practice is a good fit your business plan.
Essential Steps to a Veterinary Practice Sale
So, you’ve decided to sell your business – or you’re looking to better understand the sale process as a buyer. In either case, it’s important to first consider why the practice owner might want to sell their clinic.
For most owners, selling their practice is related to personal issues, whether it’s a major life change, or it’s just time to do something different. Other times, the sale might be related to a career change or retirement.
These factors can influence how much involvement the seller wishes to have in the business on an ongoing basis, after the sale, impacting how streamlined the handover is after purchase.
Overall, you should establish a good rapport with the seller, as you will be going through the lengthy sale process together. This process typically involves several steps from the initial outreach to the buyer securing financing, and the seller handing over standard operating documents and financial sheets.
Initial Outreach: Get the Practice Owner Thinking
The initial outreach is an important part of buying a clinic, and your broker can help you mediate the discussion and provide advice. The goal is to get the practice owner thinking about your bid and establish rapport.
Rapport with the practice owner will go a long way in the sale negotiation, especially if they are wary about the character of any potential buyer and how you will treat the business after they leave. After all in the veterinary field, much of what you do is a labor of love for the greater good, even if profits are good.
The “Sit Down” May Happen Quietly
While the brokers at BSF can help you find listings actively on the marketplace, they can also help you discover businesses in the pre-market stage that may be willing to sell, but have not considered the possibility yet, or have not committed to listing their business. The initial sit-down to discuss the details of the close could happen quietly, without much paperwork or public announcement; then, it’s the letter of intent that helps negotiations proceed.
Due Dilligence Shows You Where the Money’s At
Reviewing the business’ financial documents is necessary before you agree to the sale. These financial documents will help you verify the business’ valuation price and ensure you are not paying for more than the business is actually worth.
Likewise, reviewing the business’ overall growth and historical revenue can help provide insight into how well it has performed in the past, and how much it could be improved based on local market research.
A Contact is Essential in Securing Financing
As a new business owner, it can be difficult to get the right financing solution on the first try, which can extend the sales negotiations and cause unnecessary frustration in the process.
In most cases, the veterinary broker can act as a contact in recommending certain lenders or financing programs to you based on the business’ track record and eligibility. This contact often comes with some weight to the lender, but they will still need to vet your qualifications and bring you through the standard approval process. With the additional help, however, your business has a better chance of approval.
Closing Might Not Be Exciting
For many buyers, the sale process is a lesson in patience, as the process can be frustrating and complicated. Therefore, closing may be an underwhelming experience, often providing you with the keys to the business several months later from the initial start of negotiations.
Don’t be discouraged if closing the deal isn’t as exciting as you had first imagined; it is normal for it to be a relief that the paperwork is done.
Officially owning your own business, however, is still a cause for celebration. After this point, you can start working on the business and making the improvements you’ve been ideating along the way.
What Happens After the Sale?
Once the sale has been made and you are the proud owner of your new veterinary clinic, it’s time to put on the boss hat and start making the necessary improvements to the business to achieve a positive return on your investment.
Depending on how the negotiations go, the previous owner may agree to work alongside you on the business for a time, showing you the ropes of its current operation, helping you transition the business’ operations slowly to better suit your needs and vision. A slow transition will help avoid workflow disruptions and keep staff morale high.
Once you are the rightful owner of the business, it’s important to keep in close contact with your accountant and bookkeeper, tracking the business’ financials so you can make more informed decisions.
Find Veterinary Clinics for Sale
An essential aspect of finding the right veterinary clinics for sale is in assessing the local population, and how local competitors might impact business. (1) Of course pet owners want the best for their animals, but if there are more options available, they’ll be on the lookout for the best deals in the area.
“To many animal lovers, their pets are family. They’re willing to spend
a lot of money to keep them happy and healthy — much of that on vet care.”
Finding the right business for sale that can easily pivot to your competitive advantage, which does not necessarily need to be lowering retail prices, but could be in customer service, quality of care, or specialized services offered.
At BSF, our veterinary practice brokers help you find the right clinics for sale that match your needs best, assisting you in the sale process from negotiations to recommending the right financing solutions, all with no additional fee.
Can You Own a Vet Clinic Without Being a Vet?
Yes, you can own a veterinary clinic without being a veterinarian yourself. If you do this, however, it is important to pay attention to what your staff recommends when it comes to operations and workflow.
Even though you are ultimately the owner in charge of these decisions, a watchful eye and careful listening can greatly improve your staff’s moral and the business’ overall success as your staff is able to work more efficiently and intuitively based on the demands of their work.
The primary advantage of being a veterinarian who owns the business is that you can work within the business itself, reducing the need for one veterinarian position on staff, as well as the inherent understanding of the tools, equipment, vocabulary, and workflow of a veterinarian.
How Much Money Does It Take to Open a Veterinary Clinic?
The amount of money it takes to open a clinic depends on the business model, the size of the clinic, and many other variables based on the individual business’ circumstances. On average, however, most practice owners should expect to spend close to – or a little above – $1,000,000 to start a small clinic.
These costs are typical of purchasing a pre-existing, established business in a moderate-to-high visibility urban location.
Starting a business from scratch can cost more as the equipment must be purchased individually either as-new or sourced used from previous business owners or through manufacturer liquidations.
Staff is another financial consideration that most businesses owners fail to recognize before they sign for ownership of a clinic. The first year of payroll expenses should factor into your expense forecast.
How Big Should a Veterinary Clinic Be?
A small veterinary clinic that offers basic services to domestic animals and small wildlife does not need any more than 2,000 – 3,000 square feet of room for a single vet practice.
With each additional vet, more space will be required for additional exam rooms, operating equipment, and workspace for the additional veterinarian. Typically, each vet will increase the necessary size of the building by 1,00 – 2,500 square feet.
A larger clinic, or a clinic that offers specialized care for livestock and larger animals, however, will need space to accommodate the larger-sized species, as well as additional equipment for monitoring and operating on these animals. These veterinary offices can range anywhere from 4,000 – 8,000 square feet, and often have multiple veterinarians on staff.
Need Help Buying or Selling Your Practice?
Are you looking to purchase a veterinary business and either start your first practice or expand a pre-existing practice?
The veterinary business brokers at BSF can help you find the right practice based on your criteria, walking you through the sale process and helping you find the right financing options for you with no consultation or brokerage fee.
Get in touch with us today through phone or email and let us help you take the next step with your business.
- Forbes.com, Virtual Vets Are Raking in Funding
- Forbes.com, Virtual Vets Are Raking in Funding