How to Use a Business Loan to Improve your Veterinary Practice
Not only do you need to ensure that you’re taking care of animals’ health, but you also should ensure that the overall appointment process is easy and stress-free for owners. If you don’t, customers will surely bring their pets to a different practice in the future.
Unfortunately, even if your veterinary office is successful, by the time you pay bills and fulfill other recurring expenses, it can be challenging to gather enough capital to invest in improvements. Luckily, you can receive the business financial solution that you need by pursuing a small business loan! Keep reading to gain ideas on how you can use financing options to make your veterinary practice a success.
6 Ways to Use Veterinary Business Financing
1. Update Technology
If you don’t have state-of-the-art veterinary technology, you can’t provide pets with the care they require. Therefore, if you’re noticing that equipment is slow or outdated, utilize your loan amount to invest in updated MRI technology, ultrasounds, and other machinery. Your patients will have peace-of-mind when they find out that you can perform procedures in-house, and you won’t have to worry about your current tools breaking or being inaccurate.
2. Focus on Marketing
To attract new customers, you’ll need to pay for marketing strategies. Although you might be satisfied with your current client-base, it is always possible that you could lose some of this business. In addition, it’s important to note that customer acquisition is critical to ensuring business growth. By investing in marketing expenses such as direct mail materials, website updates, and print advertising space, you’ll appeal to new customers who will hopefully become loyal patrons.
3. Hire Additional Employees
Don’t risk losing customers due to long wait times. If your waiting room is filled with customers and appointment times are missed, you’ll start to lose business. This will be even more likely if you have animals with urgent needs that you’re unable to attend to (if you’re advertised as having an emergency room and aren’t appointment-only).
To combat this, hire more support staff members who can assist customers, eliminate wait times, and ensure that each day runs smoothly. If you have larger needs, you might even consider hiring another veterinarian. Although you might be apprehensive to spend more working capital on paying employees, it can save your business from future failure.
4. Update Your Waiting Room
When customers are waiting for their pet’s appointments, you should make it as comfortable as possible for them. If your waiting room has seen better days, it might be time to invest in new, comfortable furniture. In addition, try to make pet owners’ experience more enjoyable by installing TVs, providing magazines, and offering water and coffee. Having a sick pet can be stressful, and even if they are visiting for shots or other routine needs, you should strive to accommodate them as much as possible.
5. Purchase Retail Inventory
When applying for a loan for your veterinarian practice, it’s important to consider how you can use it to grow your operations. In addition to providing veterinary care, why not offer retail items that pet owners can purchase after appointments. Aim to become a one-stop shop where pet owners can get medical care and necessary items all in one spot. Consider offering inventory such as:
- Pet food
- Leashes and collars
- Beds and cages
- Grooming tools
To purchase this inventory, you can use your business loan, or form a partnership with a local pet store in which you buy items from them, and in exchange they’ll refer their customers to your practice. By offering inventory, you can tap into another market and create an additional revenue stream for your business!
6. Move to a Larger Location
If you need a bigger practice to accommodate your customers, you might benefit from using your loan to invest in commercial real estate. Once you have ample financing, you can either build a new practice, buy an existing space, or build an addition on to your current office. Having additional financing will give you options, making it easier to expand your practice.
Are You Ready to Pursue a Veterinary Practice Loan?
Let your passion for animals shine through by using business loan for veterinary practice growth! Your customers will notice that you’re taking pride in your business, which will ultimately lead to increased sales.
Before submitting your loan application, make sure to ask your loan officer to thoroughly explain the loan terms, so that you fully understand interest rates, repayment plans, and other important information. This way, you can ensure that you’re making the best financial decision for your practice.
If you’re a small business owner and have other ideas for how to utilize a veterinary lending product, tell us in the comment section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in July 2019.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.