Merging an Existing Veterinary Practice
If you already own a veterinary practice, have you ever considered buying an existing veterinary practice located close to your first practice and merging the two together? If you ask most doctors, they will say the best way to build a practice is through taking care of your patients and bringing in new patients via word of mouth and marketing. And, they would be correct. However, acquiring a second practice and merging the two together makes sense in many ways.
First off, have you ever calculated the cost of acquiring a patient via old-fashioned word of mouth? It requires a lot of work if you include everything from building your brand, training your staff, maintaining a spotless, high-tech practice, etc., the cost could easily be hundreds of dollars or more per patient. The cost of acquiring a patient via marketing is even more. Acquiring a veterinary practice with existing patients can typically run from several hundred dollars per active patient to $1,000 per active patient. Slightly less to maybe equal to acquiring a patient through a normal channel. However, you get a high volume of patients very quickly in addition to adding income to your pocket.
Secondly, you acquire a stream of revenue at a near dollar-to-dollar relationship. If the selling practice is producing $500,000 per year, you should be able to repeat the $500,000 in revenue by merging the practices together, or worst case, slightly below the $500,000. The good news is you don’t bring over all of the expenses of the selling practice. You typically can save in a number of ways including reducing the staff of the selling practice, utilities are not double as the practices merge to one location, there is only one rent payment (more on that in a minute), only one set of books, so only one payroll service and one bookkeeper and accountant and several other services can be eliminated. So, while getting most of the revenue to increase your practice collections, you only get a portion of the expenses. This increases the income of the practice owner – you!
Thirdly, by acquiring another veterinarian’s office, you reduce the number of practices in your area by one. Less competition equals more new patients for you. You can hire the selling doctor as an employee to help with the veterinary transition as well as perform some other things that will help with patient retention.
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