AdvertorialWhat it takes to open a veterinary practice

2016-05-03 06:00

A VET wanting to start a vet practice of their own has a lot of hurdles to overcome. It’s probably taken this young vet seven to 12 years to pay off his student loan, after seven to eight years in varsity, so reserves are thin.
Banks sadly, will rather give a GP money for a Maserati or home in Zimbali, than a vet money for a hospital. They see it as too high a risk, and cannot easily sell off the assets if it’s unsuccessful.

The vet will need a visible, accessible property (higher rent) with appropriate land zoning (hard, neighbours always object). If you buy a house, rezone it, put in cages, sign boards, ADSL, some computers, phone lines, theatre lights and table, surgical instruments for basic surgery (no orthopaedic stuff), X-ray machine, maybe a lab machine to do blood tests, microscope, and before you have hired staff, you will be about R3 million to R4 million poorer.
This means the repayments will be in the region of R50 000 per month. At an average transaction per visit of R500 to R700, that’s the first 90-odd patients you see a month just going to the bank. Now pay drug wholesalers, oxygen supply, X-ray film, staff salaries, and see what is left over … not much. No wonder new practices are not popping up all over. Next time I’ll write about breaking down your vet bill into English. - Dr Anthony Zambelli


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