Are You Planning to Open or Relocate an Existing Veterinary Practice?

Choosing the right location for your business is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your career as a veterinarian; with many important factors that should be considered. Here are a few to keep in mind for optimal success.

The Visibility of Your Veterinary ClinicVeterinarian with a Cat

The location of your veterinary clinic can provide valuable exposure and marketing opportunity. However, choosing commercial real estate in a high visibility location may also drive up rental rates and other operating expenses. Consider the amount of visibility that a location can offer your practice. Would your business’ signage be easily visible? How much traffic passes by? Be sure to consider both vehicle and foot traffic.

Convenience for Customers

Consider how convenient the location would be for your customers to access and park. For example: if the building is located on a stretch of highway, can people traveling in both directions easily access and exit the building without a complicated detour? Is there a parking lot or garage dedicated to the building? Is street parking available? How far will your customers have to walk from parking to your office? Often they will be carrying a pet carrier or walking an animal which can make longer walks from the car uncomfortable and inconvenient.

There is often a delicate balance between visibility and convenience. For example: a busy intersection may provide good visibility but could be a hassle for your customers to reach. Try to find an optimal balance between these two factors.

Clinic Growth Potential

Two Veterinarians in their OfficeThe actual veterinary office space is just as important (if not more) than the physical location of your clinic. Consider if the space is sufficient for your practice needs. What are your long and short term growth plans? Is there room to grow if you decide to expand your veterinary services? For instance, you may find that you will need additional space for kennels, training or examination rooms. Will the space permit a comfortable waiting room area for your customers and their pets? Finding a space that meets your size and business growth requirements should play a key role in your decision. Squeezing into a space that is too small at the onset will work against you in the long run; make sure that the space can accommodate your veterinary clinic for the foreseeable future.

Is the Space the Right Fit for Your Clinic?

In addition to layout, the quality of the space is equally important. Will you take over a vanilla shell or an already-built-out veterinary practice? Does the space include modern features or will it require renovation? Will you need to make any specific improvements such as electrical, plumbing, or structural changes to accommodate your veterinary equipment, supplies and practice plans?

Building-out a veterinary office is an expensive and time-consuming ordeal, requiring an incredible amount of planning and resources. Relocating your clinic in the future for a larger space is not an attractive, feasible, or realistic option. Carefully review all aspects of the space now to ensure you make better decisions for your current and long-term business goals.

Evaluating the Impact of Neighboring BusinessesMale Veterinarian with a Bunny in his Clinic

Another important factor when choosing your veterinary clinic location are the neighboring businesses. Think about how these businesses may impact your practice. What type of clientele do they attract? Do they provide the opportunity to gain new customers? Are there any competing veterinary clinics, groomers or pet supply stores nearby? If so, how many? If not, are there likely to be in the future? Consider how you would carve out these details in your veterinary office lease to ensure you have exclusivity to open a veterinary clinic in the plaza/center, preventing your landlord from bringing competitors in. Also consider how often businesses move in and out, and what this might tell you about the building quality.

More on Choosing the Right Veterinary Clinic Location

The above are just a few key tips on choosing the right veterinary practice location. In general, you should think about location from a growth, marketing and customer perspective. How does the location benefit you and your ability to market and grow your veterinary clinic? What will your customers’ experiences be when visiting your clinic? If you are new to the area, you may want to get an opinion from those familiar with the neighborhood.

In addition to evaluating the pros and cons of the location, you must also review the veterinary office lease with equal scrutiny. The lease is an integral part of your business operations, long term goals, and financial success.

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