For an aspiring solo veterinary practitioner, one of the hurdles that need to be overcome are the funds needed to establish or acquire a practice. According to a 2009 article in Veterinary Practice News, the cost required to start a small animal clinic is approximately $1,000,000, in which the total amount varies on the size of the operation, the type of clinic, and staffing needs, among others. Mobile veterinary clinics are much cheaper with a startup cost of $250,000.
Based on data gathered from How to Start an LLC, some of the estimated costs for opening a veterinary practice are the following:
- Medical/Surgical equipment – $40,000
- Lab equipment – $30,000
- Waiting room/Examination rooms setup – $10,000
- Kennel equipment – $5,000
The figures listed above are only approximate estimates by the website, and the actual amounts vary on a myriad of other factors.
Getting $250,000 – $1,000,000 can be too much for most veterinary physicians who are not loaded financially. However, there are a variety of existing loan programs that give veterinarians the necessary financial boost they need to finally establish their practice.
In the United States alone, there are a lot of lending institutions that offer veterinary practice loan programs, including construction, acquisition, and refinancing, all of which are designed to help veterinarians meet their ownership goals. As for the requirements and benefits of the loan, they entirely depend on the lending institution offering the loan program.
Construction, acquisition and refinancing are types of veterinary practice loan programs that lending institutions offer. A construction loan typically covers the building of a new space for a practice and the purchasing of new equipment; an acquisition loan is a loan for the purchasing of an existing practice; and a refinancing loan helps veterinarians consolidate payments and secure better terms for existing debt.
Similar with other medical practices, there are also SBA 7(a) loans for veterinary practices. SBA lenders prefer to lend money to veterinarians because they are the type of practice that usually succeeds and hardly defaults on loans. Due to the excellent reputation that veterinary clinics have, the loans offered to them tend to be much better compared to other medical practices.
SBA 7(a) loans for veterinary clinics typically cover working capital, construction of an animal clinic/hospital, inventory, and much more. Because of how comprehensive SBA 7(a) loans are, they are the type of loan that’s popular amongst veterinary physicians looking to start their very own practice. However, SBA 7(a) loans are notorious for requiring heavy paperwork and having longer processing times.
While SBA 7(a) loans appear to be the most ideal option for veterinarians requiring startup funds, there are also other loan programs offered by lending companies that have their own set of pros and cons. Some lending institutions offer quick approvals, require minimum paperwork, and release funds faster.
Ultimately, the type of veterinary practice loan you should apply for depends on what fits your current needs and wants. Also, it’s up to you to determine which program offered by a particular lender is the best for you.