Opening your own veterinary practice gives you a lot of control over your career, but some vets are happy to remain associates in existing practices. The right choice for you depends on what you want out of your career. Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each option to see which is right for you.
Why Open Your Own Veterinary Practice?
Veterinary practice owners often have more control over their working lives than vets who work as employees in practices owned by other people. When you own the practice, you can determine the opening hours of your practice, as well as choosing the layout and decor of your working environment. Feeling that you have chosen to come into work every morning can make a huge difference to your state of mind, as you will feel in control of your life. You may also feel more invested in the practice and feel as though you are working toward an important goal.
Why Remain as an Associate?
Associate vets often have a better work-life balance than practice owners. Although they may in theory have less control over their working hours, they often work fewer hours in total. Whereas practice owners must do everything it takes to keep their practice running, including solving any crises that occur, employees are only obliged to work their contracted hours. When you go home at the end of the day as an associate, you can stop thinking about work, whereas a practice owner is responsible for planning the long-term future of their business.
Which Is Better for You as a Veterinarian?
Choosing to remain an associate doesn’t mean you aren’t committed to your career. Some veterinarians choose to forgo practice ownership so they can spend more time reading the latest medical journals and developing their medical skills. On the other hand, practice owners get a wider view of pet care, as they interact with pet owners, insurance companies, and the regulations that govern the industry, as well as the animals themselves. Which option is best for your career? It depends whether you want to focus purely on medicine or explore other areas of running a veterinary business. This is a very personal choice, so take some time to think through which aspects of your job you most enjoy before making the jump into practice ownership.
Which Option Is More Financially Rewarding?
Practice owners have a greater potential to increase their earnings than associates, but they also risk losing money. As an associate, you may enjoy the stability of taking home a fixed salary every month, or you may aspire to build a business that provides you with long-term financial security. If you have access to enough capital to start your own practice, you could create a highly profitable business that gives an excellent return on your initial investment.
Should You Open Your Own Veterinary Practice?
Opening a veterinary practice is a great option for many people, but before you jump into this option, it pays to do your homework. Take the time to learn the business skills you’ll need to manage your practice, such as marketing, accounting and managing practice budgets. Think carefully about what you want from your veterinary career. Are you an ambitious entrepreneur who craves control or an associate who simply wants to care for animals while maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
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