The Psychology of Purchasing and Operating a Veterinary Practice

Too often we as humans make long-term decisions based on short-term thinking. When considering purchasing or starting a veterinary practice, self-reflection is paramount to determine whether the ‘entrepreneurial’ life is for you. At this stage, you have devoted much time, energy, and money into your career and believe practice ownership is the next step.  This next step, however, will likely be the most significant to date.

Before committing more time, energy, and money into pursuing this endeavor, take a moment to truly assess your dedication to becoming a practice owner. Below are some examples of  thought-provoking questions to ask yourself:

  • Can you handle the life of an entrepreneur?
  • Do you desire to be a business owner in addition to practicing medicine?
  • Are you responsible on your own, or do you need parameters to stay focused?
  • Are you people oriented?
  • Can you make decisions quickly?
  • Have you assessed how your quality may change?
  • Is your family on board?
  • Will your family be willing to support you?
  • How will your lifestyle be affected?
  • Are you financially stable and able to weather increased financial uncertainty?
  • Have you sat down and written out short & long-term goals, personally & professionally?
  • WHY start your own practice? 


This last question, WHY? is perhaps the most important. What about practice ownership appeals to you. The ability to practice medicine as you best see fit? Increase income potential? Opportunity to build equity? Or maybe you are just looking for a change? We’re not here to judge your level of commitment, but to provide some food for thought about how your passions and personality can affect your decision.

In the beginning stages of exploring practice ownership, it is highly recommended to develop a relationship with a mentor, preferably someone who has gone through the process and has experienced the same thoughts and feelings you may be having today. This mentor relationship can prove invaluable as you move forward, providing insight you may not have thought about yourself. Think about former colleagues, professors, classmates, or industry professionals who you have good relationships with, you may be surprised at how willing other veterinarians are to help.

If you’ve determined that becoming an independent practice owner is the next step for you, we encourage you to download our FREE e-book The Veterinarian’s Guide to Personal Finance: 7 Actions to Take When You Want to Own Your Own Practice.

You can also visit us at VetWorth or schedule a complimentary phone call to see how our services can benefit you.

Andrew Langdon is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and the founder of VetWorth, a fiduciary fee-only financial planning firm dedicated to serving the unique needs of veterinarians and their families.


Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Andrew Langdon, and all rights are reserved. Read the full Disclaimer.

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