The decision to sell your veterinary practice is probably one of the most important business decisions you will make. When considering a buyer—whether they are a private or corporate buyer—there are many details to consider to ensure a smooth transition. The following are some things to consider:
- As the seller, how long will you be required to stay with the practice to help with the transition?
- What will your obligations be with regards to the transition (e.g., practicing veterinarian, management, leadership, financial transition)?
- When should you inform your staff about the practice’s sale?
- Should you inform clients about the practice’s sale?
How long will you stay on?
It is important that you have a clear timeline of how long you want to stay in the practice after you have sold. This can be a point of negotiation, and will be included in the employment contract—once you sell, you are considered an employee of the hospital. Ensure the contract also spells out your specific job duties. For example, will you be required to work a certain number of hours as a practicing veterinarian? Will you be required to retain responsibilities as the medical director (if you performed these duties prior to the sale), and will you receive additional compensation for that role? Will you be required to help interview and train new employees if that has been one of your duties as the practice owner?
What responsibilities must you fulfill?
Corporate buyers typically have a clear process for transitioning the financial aspects of the business, including banking, vendor, and other relationships. However, you will most likely be required to maintain a hands-on role in the day-to-day practice operations, including:
- Working with the practice manager to facilitate smooth operations
- Continuing as medical director or training an associate to take over
- Helping to hire a new veterinarian to allow you to transition out when the time comes
- Ensuring that the business operates as usual to alleviate any staff anxiety
If you sell to an associate or outside private buyer, you may be required to take a more hands-on approach during the transition of business operations, and will likely be expected to mentor the new owner while you transition out of the practice.
Reassuring staff and clients
Reassuring staff and clients that the practice will operate as usual is one of the most important things an owner can do when selling. Therefore, it is critical that you choose the right person or entity to purchase your practice. Finding a buyer who has similar goals regarding practice philosophy and how it relates to team building, customer service, and overall practice culture is immensely helpful. The last thing you want is for a buyer to come in and immediately start changing everything. Since a new buyer has the right to change anything at any time, it is important that your overall practice philosophies align.
Ultimately, a successful transition minimizes staff and client anxiety, sets the buyer up for success, and allows the seller to walk away from the practice knowing their legacy will live on.
Transitioning your hospital to new ownership should not be stressful, especially with the right buyer. Inspire Veterinary Partners’ equity-based ownership model is turning practice ownership on its head, and we offer high-value purchase structures, and customizable compensation packages for owners who choose to stay on after the sale. Contact us to learn more about transitioning your practice without the stress.
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