Experience has shown that while many practitioners dream of owning their own veterinary practice, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the scope of such an undertaking. How can you feel assured your business will be viable?  Can you qualify for a large enough loan? Who can you call on for guidance so you don’t have to go it alone?

Below are answers to these questions, as well as resources you can tap into to help overcome obstacles and take a step closer to practice ownership.

Start with a good business plan. A carefully thought out business plan serves to focus your goals, identify all the necessary elements for success, and inform your lender that you understand the opportunities and challenges before you. Your business plan will address a range of issues, from local demographics and competition in your area to marketing plans and financial projections. As you go through the steps to complete your business plan, you are laying the groundwork for creating a successful, viable practice. For a free business plan template, visit or call 1-866-4MY-PAWS (1-866-469-7297).

Ensure a healthy credit rating. A healthy credit rating forms the basis for all your financial investments. Check your personal credit rating to ensure everything is accurate and positive. If you need to make corrections, give yourself plenty of time to do so before you meet with your lender to discuss practice financing. Here are a few steps to consider when seeking to improve your credit*:

  • Try maintaining at least two or three revolving accounts to show you can manage your debt
  • Avoid applying for credit from too many lenders;
  • Demonstrate you are creditworthy by not using all the credit available to you
  • Consistently make on-time monthly payments

Surround yourself with a good team. Whether purchasing or starting a practice, it’s important to remember that you do not have to make key decisions all alone! Surround yourself with a team of reliable advisors to support you throughout the transition process. Key advisors might include:

  • Lender: Provides funds and resources for acquisition/startup; services financing agreements; may offer business planning tools and educational resources
  • Practice broker: Identifies available practices; negotiates transaction, including sale terms; can offer evaluation and appraisal services; works with attorney to provide sample purchase agreement
  • Attorney: Prepares and executes contracts and leases; offers tax advice and planning; may provide other document review
  • Accountant: Develops tax projections, plans, estimates, and filings; can help establish financial procedures; can offer investment advice
  • Insurance broker: Recommends coverage to protect your investment
  • Practice management consultant: Helps establish healthy practice systems; identifies potential areas of improvement

Starting your own veterinary practice is one of the most rewarding achievements you can undertake. Get to work laying the groundwork for your new practice and before you know it, you’ll find it’s no longer a dream, but an exciting reality.

For additional guidance in making a successful transition to ownership, request the Preparing for Practice Ownership Workbook from Wells Fargo Practice Finance, a business planning book for defining your goals and making informed decisions.

To learn about practice financing, call your Wells Fargo financing specialist at 1-866-4MY-PAWS (1-866-469-7297) or visit us at

Gavin Shea is the senior director of sales and marketing at Wells Fargo Practice Finance. Shea has over 18 years of financial experience helping practitioners start, grow, and transition their practices through a diverse array of financial products and services.


All financing is subject to credit approval. 

© 2017 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Wells Fargo Practice Finance is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

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