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Want to grow your veterinary practice?

Published on 27th June 2019 - Last update on 4th July 2020

You worked hard to gain your veterinary qualification - but that was only the beginning.

You probably found that you worked even harder when the time came to set up your own practice. Of course, hard work becomes a lot easier when you are your own boss and can see the result of the long hours, and often real physical effort, you need to put in.

But are you now enjoying the real rewards of running a successful veterinary practice?

You may be finding that you need to take your practice to the next level to enjoy the kind of income security and status you desire. At Rangewell, we help many vets grow their practices, and we have found that there are some steps to take which could lead to the bigger, busier practice you want. 

Of course, there are a limited number of hours in the day and, consequently, a limit on the number of patients you can see - but there are several steps that could see you take your practice further and earn a higher level of rewards.

These steps include:

  • Taking on a junior - to help you have more capacity and to help more patients
  • Bringing in new services - such as a visiting specialist or even offering hydrotherapy or a grooming room - most clients expect to get all of their services in one place
  • Opening a branch surgery - either from scratch or taking over an existing practice

The potential will depend first on your location, the size of your premises and the scope they give you for expansion - but mainly on securing the funding you need.

Taking on a second vet

Bringing in another vet will let you provide an increased level of care to your patients, as well as create an additional income stream. 

You might be able to call in a seasoned professional - perhaps who is semi-retired -  who might be able to come in on a part-time basis depending on their other commitments - but it is more likely that you want to ring in a full-time junior.

You will need to provide their salary, somewhere for them to work and, possibly, even accommodation. You may be able to cut some of the equipment costs down by selecting good, pre-owned equipment. Many sources of used and refurbished veterinary equipment exist; Asset Finance can also provide funding for used equipment, and arranging your own funding can often undercut the finance plans offered by suppliers.

But the main expense is likely to be an extra salary to pay - which can be a serious drain on your cashflow in the beginning. With this in mind, you might want to look at a Working Capital Finance arrangement to cover the first few months they are with you. This will allow your cashflow to stay positive while you take on more patients to ensure that your new employee is fully occupied.

Need help taking your veterinary practice to the next level? Find out more about the financial solutions you need here

Offering additional services

There are many new techniques which allow vets to further improve the care that they offer. Ultrasound, digital x-rays and blood analysis systems mean faster, surer diagnosis and remove the need to send patients or samples elsewhere for tests - but almost all will require investing in costly new equipment.

At Rangewell we have found that Asset Finance solutions will usually provide the most cost-effective solutions to fund the equipment you need for your surgery. It includes solutions to let you buy outright or lease items of all kinds.

With Hire Purchase, you spread the cost of your equipment - you are technically hiring it until you’ve paid enough to purchase it.

You’ll be required to pay a deposit, plus fixed monthly repayments. When you’ve made all the repayments - which can be spread out over up to 60 months - you will own the equipment outright. 

Leasing provides an alternative and can help you avoid the need to pay a deposit before acquiring the equipment you need. You are also able to decide whether you want to include maintenance and insurance in the agreement, along with whether you need the item for its whole working life or a shorter, agreed period.

Buying a second veterinary practice

Of course, even with a second - or even a third - vet and a long list of patients, your existing practice will eventually reach its practical limit, perhaps when there is no longer room to expand in your current premises. The next step may be to buy a second site - perhaps in a nearby location where your reputation and a proportion of your patients who live nearby will visit and expand your existing operation.

You could acquire an empty unit and start from scratch, or buy an existing practice, perhaps from a retiring practitioner. The latter option would have the advantage of letting you take over their patient list, or ‘goodwill’.

Whatever route you take, it will require a substantial investment.

It may be possible to arrange a straightforward business loan. Secured Loans may be used to borrow upwards of £250,000 and, so, may be suitable for the costs involved in a business purchase. Rates can be as low as 2% above base rate, and you could have ten or more years to repay. 

They are secured because they are supported by security, such as your existing business premises or your home, that the lender can take and sell if you become unable to make repayments. An alternative may be to use a Commercial Mortgage to let you spread the costs involved. Commercial Mortgages work much like a residential mortgage, and can be very cost-effective - often undercutting the costs of leasing - and provide an asset for the future of your business which should appreciate in value. 

If the practice you are buying owns the premises it works from, a Commercial Mortgage might be the most cost-effective solution.

However, another alternative might be a Goodwill Loan, which is, in effect, a loan secured on the future turnover of your existing business. These may be used for any purpose, including buying another business.

Finance designed around your growth plans 

As a professional with an existing veterinary practice, you may find yourself in a very good position to raise the finance you need when you are ready to start a period of growth. 

As lenders will be happy to lend to you, this can mean that they will compete to offer you the deal you want. To make the most of that competition, it helps to have an independent expert on your side. 

At Rangewell, we can provide the expertise you need - and help you cut the cost of the finance you need at whatever stage of your growth plans you have reached. Whether you are looking for specialist Goodwill Loans for vets to start-up finance for a second practice, you can find more information about how we can help vets find the funding they need here.


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Richard Mitchell

Richard Mitchell

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