Like human doctors, the local veterinarian is slowly being eliminated by Big Pharma. Corporate consolidators backed or influenced by Big Pharma are buying up veterinary practices by the dozens. Therefore, starting your own practice from scratch is becoming nearly impossible without deep pockets.
But is practice ownership even right for you?
Owning your own veterinary practice can be a fulfilling and financially rewarding career choice for veterinarians, but it also comes with its own set of challenges.
A Cultural Tradition is Giving Way to Corporate Slavery
One of the biggest positives of owning your own practice is the autonomy and control it offers. As the owner, you are able to make important decisions about the direction and operation of the practice and can build a culture and reputation that reflects your own values and vision. Additionally, owning a practice can provide a stable source of income, as well as opportunities for growth and expansion.
However, owning a veterinary practice also requires a significant investment of time and money. The cost of setting up a practice, including purchasing equipment and hiring staff, can be substantial. Additionally, as the owner, you are responsible for all aspects of the business, including managing finances, marketing, and human resources. This requires strong business acumen and the ability to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities.
The biggest negative is the level of competition, particularly from large corporate-owned veterinary hospitals. These hospitals often have more resources and a wider range of services than smaller privately owned practices, making it more difficult for independent practices to attract and retain clients.
Statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) indicate that in 2020, there were approximately 100,000 active veterinarians in the U.S. of these, about 70% were in private practice, with the remaining 30% working in other settings such as corporate, government, or academic institutions. The numbers are gradually changing against privateers, as most are older veterinarians who are either selling to conglomerates or just walking away, with no one to take over for them.
Owning a veterinary practice can be a rewarding and challenging career choice for veterinarians. It offers autonomy and the ability to build a practice that reflects your own values and vision, but it also requires a significant investment of time, money, and good business acumen to be successful. Additionally, competition from large corporate-owned veterinary hospitals is a reality that should be considered. Ultimately, it’s important for anyone considering opening their own practice to carefully weigh the pros and cons and seek professional guidance and support.
The Change You Want to See
Owning a local, private veterinary practice offers several advantages over working for a large conglomerate of veterinary hospitals.
One of the biggest benefits is the ability to provide personalized, compassionate care to patients. In a local practice, veterinarians and staff have the opportunity to build close relationships with their clients and their pets, which allows for a more tailored and individualized approach to care. This can lead to better outcomes and satisfaction for both the pets and the pet owners.
Another advantage of owning a local, private practice is the autonomy and control it offers. As the owner, you are able to make important decisions about the direction and operation of the practice and can build a culture and reputation that reflects your own values and vision. This allows for more flexibility in terms of the services offered, the hours of operation, and the way the practice is run.
Additionally, owning a local, private practice can be a more stable source of income and career growth as compared to working for a large corporation. In a larger conglomerate, you may be just one of many employees and your contributions and growth may not be as recognized or rewarded.
Furthermore, local, private practices are typically more involved in the community and can help to build and support the local economy. They are often more accessible to the community and are able to offer a more personal and convenient service to pet owners. This can help to foster a sense of community and trust between the practice and its clients.
Owning a local, private veterinary practice offers many benefits over working for a large conglomerate of veterinary hospitals. It allows for personalized, compassionate care, autonomy and control, stability, career growth and community involvement. These are all factors that can contribute to a more fulfilling and satisfying career for veterinarians and a better service for pet owners and their pets.