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How to Find an Ideal Buyer for Your Vet Practice?
Finding an ideal buyer for your vet practice is a critical part of the selling process. Just follow our simple, step-by-step process.
Let us start by telling you a story about John and his experience while selling his vet practice.
John was looking for a change of pace. For 25 years, he had been happily practicing veterinary medicine for beloved pets, but he needed a new challenge.
All he wanted was to breathe the fresh air and bask in the glorious sunshine of a brand new future-to retire from the stress and pressure of running his own practice. Something where the ocean was nearby, an island perhaps? Or maybe a quiet seaside town off the coast of California? That sounded like what he needed!
But John wasn’t sure which direction to go in.
He started searching online for possibilities, but all he found were websites that didn’t seem right, tired listings from other sellers who had already given up hope of finding their ideal buyer; and when someone showed interest, the price offered was nowhere near what he hoped for, or they weren’t even serious about buying.
“That’s not what I want,” John thought. His dream of the perfect retirement was quickly turning into a nightmare.
You see, John didn’t know what kind of buyer would be interested in buying his vet practice from him, or even how much it might be worth! He had heard that there were buyers who pay top dollar for veterinary practices, but where could he find those buyers?
It seemed like there should be another way.
Eventually, with the help of Transitions Elite, the veterinary practice was sold for top dollar. We have helped many similar practice owners in getting the best price for their practices. Here’s one of the practice owners who reached out to us and we helped him in closing the deal for $3.5M.
Need help with the valuation of your vet practice? Contact us now.
That being said, below are some strategies and steps you can use to find the ideal buyer for your vet practice.
Prepare Your Veterinary Practice To Sell
Briefly, here are some things you should put in place that’ll make your practice attractive to buyers:
Make sure your vet practice runs smoothly and efficiently – This means you need to prove that your practice is profitable and can be run by anyone else with minimal effort.
Spruce up your premises – Buyers will want to see a well-maintained facility that reflects its reputation. That means ensuring all equipment is in good working order and keeping the grounds tidy and attractive. If needed, make minor improvements like repainting or redecorating the waiting room, adding new lighting fixtures, or upgrading the flooring. The more attractive you can make your premises, the better it will appeal to potential buyers.
Make sure your finances are in order – Ensure to have a record of business expenses, pay all bills on time, have up-to-date bank statements and credit reports, etc. Additionally, have your 3-year tax returns handy.
Have all necessary licenses and permits obtained before looking for buyers – If any have lapsed over time, get those renewed so that everything is current upon meeting with potential buyers.
Review your marketing assets – Update your online presence (website, social media profiles) and marketing materials (brochures, flyers) so that these reflect your current services rather than what was offered when they were first created many years ago (or even months ago).
Make sure your staff is happy – If there are any issues with staff morale or turnover rate, address them immediately before putting yourself out there as a seller because this could affect your practice sales price!
Create an up-to-date list of all your assets – Including equipment, furniture, and even medical records, so that you have something to reference during negotiations with potential buyers.
Understand Your Ideal Buyer
On a superficial level, an ideal buyer for your vet practice is someone or a business with the financial resources to do so and the experience/qualifications necessary to run a successful business.
With an understanding of the type of buyer that your practice appeals to, you can proceed in pursuit of a sale. Generally speaking, potential buyers fall into one of three categories:
- Practicing vets who already own a vet practice but want to expand the business.
- Veterinarians who want to own a practice. These potential buyers may be the associate working with you or a young vet just starting in the field and looking for an opportunity to buy an existing practice instead of building the vet hospital from scratch.
- Businesses or corporations that have experience with vet practices or want to enter the veterinary industry.
Speaking of outsourcing the search for the “best-fit buyer for your vet clinic” There are many benefits that come with using an expert, such as:
- You don’t have to deal with dozens of prospective buyers who may not be interested in purchasing your business.
- They have access to multiple investors who might be interested in buying your practice, making it easier for them to find one for you.
As well as finding the right buyer for your vet practice, they will also be able to help in other ways:
- They will help negotiate prices and conditions so that both parties can reach an agreement easily and quickly without legal complications.
- Assistance during the due diligence process.
- Support throughout the transition process.
Spreading The Word – Reaching Out To Potential Buyers For Your Veterinary Practice
The good news is that there are a fair number of potential buyers out there for your veterinary practice. The bad news is that they will not come knocking on your door. You’re going to have to find them.
Here is what may come to mind:
- Reach out to other veterinarians in your area who may be interested in buying or expanding their practice.
- Post an ad on a veterinary job board or website and list your practice as a “for sale” listing along with the contact information and ask interested parties to call or email you directly.
- Place an ad in your local newspaper’s classified section or online listings advertising yourself as a “practice owner looking for new owners”.
Without beating around the bush, these strategies won’t always yield the desired results.
The best way to find the right buyer for your veterinary hospital is through networking and referrals rather than cold calling or sending cold emails. Again this is where “Transitions Elite” shines through: leveraging our industry expertise and reach, we can help you find the ideal buyer that can pay the amount that’s worth the value of your practice.
What’s the next step after finding the ideal prospective buyer?
The process aims to ensure that any relevant detail about the potential buyer is accurate and complete. Additionally, it would allow you to see if they check all the right boxes before considering them an “Ideal buyer”. It gives both parties time to fully understand each other before entering legally binding agreements.
Also, the buyer will send their team to inspect your business and get a feel for the current state of operations. The goal is to ensure that the business is up to code, compliant with regulations, and runs smoothly.
Here’s the thing:
It is not enough to “sell” your practice to the first “buyer that got in touch.” You will want to ensure that the buyer is qualified and capable of taking over your practice and that it is a good fit for them.
To do so, there are several important steps that you should take.
- Interviewing the potential buyer. You will want to ask them some questions about their background and experience in veterinary medicine.
- Performing an in-depth credit check on the buyer and their company. A poor credit score may indicate problems with paying off debt promptly.
- Checking references from previous clients, as well as speaking with current clients who have had previous dealings with the prospective buyer. This extra step will give you an idea of whether or not they are trustworthy people overall.
Once you have done this, you will be able to determine if there is a good match between your practice and theirs. If so, it is time for both parties to get serious about negotiating a price for the practice and working out other aspects of the transaction planning.
Final Thoughts On Landing The Perfect Buyer For A Vet Practice
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to find an ideal buyer for your vet practice. Your practice is a wonderful one, and it’s worth its price in gold, but, ultimately, you want to leave the field in capable hands so that it can thrive for years to come. Finding an ideal buyer will take time and effort, but it will be well worth it if you get it right. Because if you make a wrong decision about who you do business with, you will soon face several issues related to the sale of your practice. Contact us to discuss how we can help with the sale of your veterinary practice. We have a proven track record in finding an ideal buyer for vet practices across the US.