As a veterinarian, you want to be able to care for and treat as many pets as possible. Many veterinarians starting their own practice will open up a practice in an office. According to an article published in Veterinary Practice News, this can cost around $1,000,000. Also, the overhead cost to run the practice is high. Another problem with opening up an office is that you won’t be able to reach certain patients such as farm animals. Most farmers rely on mobile veterinarians to care for their animals. If you were to start a mobile veterinary clinic, it can cost an average of $250,000, the overhead is low and you would be able to reach all animals. This can greatly improve your practice. If you are thinking about opening a mobile veterinary clinic, there are a few things that you should consider.
As a mobile practitioner, you would need to be a licensed veterinarian in the state you intend to practice. If are based close to the border of your state and you intend to cross state lines to treat patients, you would need to be licensed in that state as well. The regulations for mobile clinics vary from state to state, therefore, you would need to research the rules and regulations for your state on the American Association of Mobile Veterinary Practitioners website. You will also need the necessary permits, insurance and licenses to run your practice.
The Vehicle and Equipment
In order to make house calls and farm calls, you are going to need a vehicle with medical and surgical equipment on board. It is important that you have everything that you need on the truck. If you don’t have the necessary equipment, you would need to refer the animal to another facility which will result in you losing a patient. A van or a truck that is between 18 and 30 feet long will do.
You are going to need a veterinary tech to travel along with you. The tech would be responsible for assisting with medical procedures, scheduling appointments, and taking phone calls. You should hire a tech who is licensed. Also, you need someone with strong people skills and excellent customer service skills.
Define Your Service Area
You are going to need to figure out what areas you plan to serve. You can choose an entire town, areas across state lines, or certain areas of a large city. When defining your service area you want to be sure that you can reach as many patients as possible. This means including areas with apartment complexes, assisted living homes, farms, and animal shelters. The more patients you are able to reach, the more successful your practice will be.
Coordinate With a Stationary Clinic
There are many states that require you to coordinate with a stationary clinic. Even if yours doesn’t you should still do so. If an animal needs to be hospitalized due to an illness or after a surgery, you cannot travel around with them. You will need a stationary clinic who is willing to work with you to care for the animal.
Advertising and Marketing
Your vehicle is the best form of advertising that you can have. You can have the name of your business, the phone number, your website listed on the side of the truck. Essentially, it is a mobile billboard. While you are driving around to see patients, people will see your truck. It is also a good idea to advertise through social media. This is a great way to reach various demographics. Also, it is a good idea to leave flyers at local pet stores, groomers and feed stores. You should also consider joining the American Association of Mobile Veterinary Practitioners. When you do, your business would be listed in their public database which will help people find you.
Work With an Answering Service
Pets can become ill or injured after hours. Because of this, you are going to need to work with a quality veterinary answering service. If you are going to be successful, you are going to need to offer your patients and their owners the best customer service possible. The answering system will also be important if both you and your vet tech are tied up taking care of a pet. You won’t want to stop in the middle of an exam to take calls. Not only is this unprofessional, it will make the owner feel as though their animal is not important. When you work with a reputable answering service, you can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you are considering opening your own veterinary practice, you should consider a mobile veterinary clinic. It is cheaper to start than a stationary office, you can see more clients, and best of all, your truck can do all of your advertising for you.