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Practice Ownership Makes for Happier Veterinarians

Contributed by our friends at

Studies show some 35% of associate veterinarians are thinking about starting their own practice—and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re one of them. Practice ownership offers numerous benefits, both financially and emotionally, and veterinarians who work for themselves consistently rate their satisfaction higher than those who do not.

Why is this? You might expect the demands of operating a business would only add stress to your already packed schedule. As it turns out, the opposite is often true: veterinarians who own their practices actually report lower rates of burnout, according to recent studies. Below, we’ll dive deeper into some of the key reasons why ownership makes veterinarians happier—and reveal why it may be the right choice for you.

1. Control and Decision Making

Associate veterinarians, particularly those working at large conglomerates, can have very little control in the day-to-day operations of a practice. The resulting lack of empowerment can be frustrating.

Running your own practice means you get to call the shots. As an owner, you get to decide your schedule, the size and makeup of your team, your formulary and equipment, and more. But even having control over small decisions—such as the color of scrubs to outfit your team—can have a positive impact. Building a business around your ideals is incredibly rewarding.

2. Culture and Values

As the owner, you get to set the tone for how you run your business. Your leadership style forms the foundation of your culture, and how you hire, train, and motivate your staff builds the rest of it.

In your own practice, your values can shine as you get to be your most authentic self at work. This creates a more rewarding and welcoming environment for everyone: you, your staff, and your clients. A strong culture gives you something to feel proud of in addition to the work itself.

3. Wealth and Long-Term Planning

More money may not buy happiness, but it can pay down student loans faster—and that, the data shows, does buy happiness. While starting any business comes with a certain amount of financial risk, veterinarians have earning opportunities in ownership that don’t exist outside of it. While it’s possible your salary will be higher, the real value is in equity, or your stake in the business.

Equity is important because it has the potential for significant benefits in the long term. Your clients, culture, and brand all contribute to the value of your business. If you build a thriving one, you may be able to sell it for a significant profit by the time you’re ready to retire. And even taking money out of the equation, as an owner you can decide how, when, and to whom to sell. Nobody can buy you out unless you want them to.

Ownership Is Easier Than You Think

The benefits of ownership are clear. New models are evolving every day that gives the power back to the doctor to be an owner of their business, their practice. Traditional pathways to ownership are being replaced by unique opportunities that reduce the barriers to ownership. So – even if you are thinking “not me, not now, not possible” this might be your chance to explore all the options open to veterinarians.

A special thank you to our blog contributor and 2022 CON sponsor PetSmart Veterinary Services. We hope you join us September 22nd-24th for some scandalous shenanigans at the HAUNTED La Posada Resort and Spa in Santa Fe, NM. Register now to score early bird pricing. The wet lab at this year's con will 'blow you away'. There's a hint sure to register for that too!

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