If you think constant barking is maddening, add the steady pounding of jackhammers. Then work under those conditions for a year. Partners Drs. Scott Griffin, Ann Allen Salter, and Bill VanHooser sacrificed quiet to add 6,613 square feet to their 7,295-square-foot Carriage Hills Animal Hospital and Pet Resort in Montgomery, Ala.
Q. After 23 years in the same location, my veterinary practice is landlocked. Parking space is almost nonexistent, and traffic is so heavy clients sometimes struggle to even enter the lot. My wife suggested we move into an area where housing is booming. But our practice is still growing where we are, and I don't want to move too far from this location. In a city with 80,000 people and nine other clinics, how far can I move without losing my client base?
Dr. Timothy J. Thompson wanted to own a practice so much, he says he would've bought a lemonade stand with a dog run attached. So he and his wife, Dr. Shannon A. Thompson, both 1994 Texas A&M University graduates, only spent a year as associates before buying Hope Animal Clinic in Marble Falls, Texas. They leased the 850-square-foot building and within a year bought land to build the mixed animal facility of their dreams.
There's strength in numbers, the saying goes. But for the veterinarians at Findlay Animal Hospital in Findlay, Ohio, strength comes not only from the number of doctors but also from the number of hospitals they own around town.
Looking at the 18,832-square-foot Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado in Englewood, Colo., it's hard to imagine the practice's humble beginnings. In 1991, Dr. Sam Romano's emergency practice merged with Dr. Steve Wheeler's internal medicine practice and Dr. Marlon Neely's mobile surgical practice in an 1,100-square-foot garage. Three years later they added oncologist Dr. Robyn Elmslie, Dipl. ACVIM, and moved into a 5,600-square-foot converted dental facility.
If you come to work every day, park in back, and hurry in the staff entrance, you may be missing out on the little things that detract from clients' impressions of your facility. To identify areas where your practice falls short, look at your hospital the way pet owners do. Here's a guide:
You're finally ready to build your dream hospital or expand your existing facility. For years, you've read design articles in Veterinary Economics and carefully studied every floor plan. You've also planned to hire an award-winning veterinary architect. But one of your clients is an architect, and you like her work.
Do veterinarians and staff members constantly trip over each other's feet at your practice? Or maybe you round corners with caution to avoid taking out unsuspecting clients. Even remodeling or expanding your facility may not fix the problem if you don't develop an efficient floor plan.
Q. I lease space for my hospital but want to purchase some land and build a facility when my lease expires in three years. My Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contains enough money to cover the down payment on the land. Is this a wise use of my IRA funds?