Look Before You Leap
Is it time to hire a new associate? Upon developing a successful practice, many claim the only way to make more money is to add an associate. While that can be true, some who have done so have seen disappointing results. Before making the costly and time-consuming decision to hire another doctor, consider these questions to assess your practice needs and decide whether you should hire a veterinary associate.
Ready or Not
Whether you’ve been thinking about bringing another veterinarian into the practice or not, there are a few signs that suggest it’s time to give expansion some serious thought:
Is your appointment schedule consistently full?
If you aren’t able to perform treatment in a timely fashion or don’t have availability for new referrals to come in, you may decide hiring a new associate is the only way for your practice to grow while providing the same level of service and care that you have in the past.
Is your practice operating at maximum efficiency?
If there are internal problems that may be inhibiting your practice’s ability to handle growth, these should be addressed before bringing on a new veterinary associate. It may be in your best interest to invest in the expertise of a professional who can evaluate your practice efficiency as it is often difficult for business owners to recognize issues when they are right in the midst of everything. By conducting an evaluation, you may find that all your practice really needs is another registered technician, a practice manager or several veterinary assistants who will enable you to see one or two more patients per hour.
Are you working longer hours and left short on family time?
The pursuit of work-life balance is a valid reason to bring on a new veterinarian. However, the goal of working less while still bringing in the same income presents its own set of challenges. Chances are you have more than enough patients for yourself but not enough for two. In this case, you will need to determine whether you are willing to sacrifice some of your own income in return for more time away from the practice or how you will bring in enough additional patients to make up the difference. Keep in mind that since you already have a number of fixed costs in your practice, the additional dollars earned by the associate actually cost less to produce.
Are you contemplating retirement?
You need a strategy for business transition that makes sense for your patients and your financial future. Having an associate with skin in the game allows you a couple of years to slow down, save more money, add extended hours for your patients and prepare your new associate to take over the practice.
Seeking Professional Advice
Professional advisors can provide the guidance and analytical support to assess your business opportunities and craft a plan consistent with your unique circumstances and goals. Contact us today to find out how Aldrich can help you plan for your future.