Are you a veterinarian thinking about going mobile?
In the last decade, the veterinary practice landscape has changed dramatically, with many veterinarians forgoing the traditional brick-and-mortar clinic in favor of a mobile practice.
In a world where individualized products and services are increasingly available, many pet owners prefer the convenience of mobile clinics. But it’s not just about the clients; mobile vet clinics are less expensive to maintain and operate for the vets themselves. For example, Veterinary Practice News estimated that launching a traditional stationary practice required an investment of about $1,000,000 – compared to approximately $250,000 for a mobile practice.
If you’re considering going the mobile route, here’s your 10-step beginner’s guide.
1) Develop a business model.
The first step in starting a mobile vet clinic is to map out your clinic’s services. Start by asking yourself a few key questions:
What kind of animals will you be seeing?
Will you have more than one veterinarian on staff?
Will you provide basic or comprehensive veterinary care?
What is your geographic range for treatment?
When will the clinic be open?
What will your services cost?
2) Do the math…
Taking into account your business plan, make sure you have, or are applying for, the financial resources you need to invest in equipment, staffing and other costs associated with launching a business.
3) …and the paperwork.
Every business requires permits, licenses and insurance – and a mobile clinic is no exception. In addition to needing a commercial or business driver’s license, you will also need a business license, DEA license, a current veterinary license for your state and, in some places, a controlled substance license for certain medications.
4) Develop your brand.
Now it’s time to get creative! Come up with a name and logo for your business. Try to choose a name that’s relatively short and easy to remember – but that also reflects the personality and tone of you and your staff.
5) Hire employees.
Speaking of staff, whether you’ll be a single or multi-vet practice, you’ll most likely need an extra set of hands on a daily basis. Find a qualified and capable vet tech to support your practice.
6) Get the equipment you need.
The name says it all. Your mobile practice relies on two things: mobility and veterinary care. In addition to purchasing a vehicle, you also have to have it stocked with the equipment you need.
7) Protect our equipment.
Your business is only as successful as the care you provide. A lot of the tools vets use to treat patients with are expensive and fragile, so protecting them is critical – particularly in a mobile environment. Here at Custom Case Group, we are experts at crafting customized reusable storage solutions for medical equipment. With a wide array of materials to choose from, we will make sure your equipment is safe and ready for when you need it – so that you can focus on your patients.
Get the word out to people in your area. Your practice vehicle should advertise your services and include contact information, and you should have a simple and functional but attractive website where people can learn more about your business and how to get in touch with you. Be sure to create business pages on Google, Yelp and similar sites. Bonus: Create a Facebook or Instagram account, and consider social media advertising as well.
Join groups like the American Association of Housecall Veterinarians and start connecting with other pet-related businesses in your area, including pet walkers and sitters and your local 24-hour emergency care veterinary practice.
10) Get ready for a shift.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a recent graduate, a mobile practice will be unlike any veterinary experience you’ve had before. You’ll get the chance to interact with pets – and their owners – in their natural habitats.