6 Veterinary Business Trends You Need To Know

0 Comments Posted by Chris Sink in Industry Trends on Friday, August 29th, 2014.

VetNetwork LLC Chris Sink

There are many reasons to become a veterinarian, but having an easy job isn’t one of them. Veterinary practice owners face a number of challenges every day, and those inherent in practicing veterinary medicine are just one piece of the pie. They also must handle the difficult tasks related to owning and operating a small business. With so much day-to-day work, it can be easy to lose sight of the veterinary business trends that are shaping the industry. In this blog, we look at some of the trends that are changing the face of veterinary medicine and veterinary hospital ownership.

Student loan debt for veterinarians is at an all-time high.

Education costs have skyrocketed in recent years, and veterinary schools are no exception. The result: young veterinarians leave school saddled with debt. According to a recent article in DVM 360, the average monthly student loan payment for associate veterinarians is $530.  Because of this debt, younger veterinarians are reluctant to start their own practice: while half of “generation Y” veterinarians surveyed would like to run their own practice, only 39% said they had the financial means to do so.

Spending on pets is at an all-time high – but spending at veterinary practices is stagnant.

According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners spent 55 billion dollars on their pets in 2013, and are projected to spend even more in 2014. The largest expenditures are food, supplies, and over the counter medicine. Veterinary care accounts for 14.37 billion of the total amount of money spent on pet care in 2013, projected to modestly increase to 15.25 billion in 2014.

Veterinarian job growth is expected to increase 27.6% in 2016.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the veterinary field is one of the fastest growing in the United States. Demand for new treatments such as hip replacements, blood transfusions and cancer treatments are helping to drive the increase.

Job growth for veterinary technologists and technicians is expected to increase by 41% in 2016.

While the veterinary care industry is growing, it’s the technician and technologist positions that are projected to have the largest increase in the next two years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says this is because pet owners are becoming more affluent while the number of pets continues to grow, so technologists and technicians able to provide specialized services will continue to be in demand.

The key to practice growth: focus on cats.

Keep up with veterinary trends by effectively marketing your practice.

Keep up with veterinary trends by effectively marketing your practice.

According to a study by Dr. Karen Felsted for the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats represent 80% of clinic growth potential. While there are 13% more cats than dogs, cats visit veterinarians 30% less and cat owners tend to spend less on veterinary care. The AVMA study says that cat owners need to be educated on the value of veterinary care, and veterinarians should keep in mind that the lifetime value of cats is likely higher than they think.

Many veterinarians aren’t using important business strategies.

Felsted’s study says that 62% of veterinarians aren’t using financial concepts to run their business, and many do not review key metrics on a regular basis. Increasing prices is most commonly used to increase profits, which can alienate existing clients. The Small Business Administration recommends that small businesses (veterinary hospitals are not an exceptions) dedicate 7-8% of their overall budgets to marketing. Effectively marketing your veterinary practice can lead to sustainable growth.

VetNetwork is owned and operated by a veterinarian with 20 years of clinic ownership experience, and is staffed with a team of marketing experts that are dedicated to growing veterinary practices. For more information on our veterinary marketing services, please give as  call at (800) 564-4215 or send us an email today.

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