How Risky is it to Buy into or Sell a Mobile Small Animal or Equine Practice?

December 31, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

Karl Salzsieder, DVM, JD, CVA, Owner of Salzsieder & Associates, TPSG, LLC / DBA Total Practice Solutions—­Northwest, explains the risks that can be associated with buying or selling a mobile practice.

Karl Salzsieder, DVM, JD, CVA, Owner of Salzsieder & Associates, TPSG, LLC / DBA Total Practice Solutions—­Northwest, explains the risks that can be associated with buying or selling a mobile practice.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“The special considerations are that [mobile practices] are much more risky to buy into and they’re much harder to sell because there are fewer buyers. And if you can sell them, the value to sell is much lower because the goodwill is not very reliable in that you’ve got the reputation of the seller, that seller is going to leave, the clients call somebody else. It’s not like they can go to where they know the office staff, they know the technicians, and they have compliments. It’s more of a home service concierge kind of a practice, so it’s a big deal, and that’s applying to both small animal and equine.

But in the equine field, it’s more risky because equine practitioners in the field are telling me, ‘My practice was growing, I was doing good. Oh, but we live in a real livability area, a real livable area.’ So, a lot of slowing down equine practitioners come over and put [out] a phone number and hang a sign. You know, I have two or three more competitors one year that I didn’t have the prior year, so that is a big deal unless you can get into an equine that was not mobile mostly. So, it’s much more risky.

And, as a broker, we generally recommend we don’t even list a mobile small animal [practice] because there’s just one buyer in a thousand. Very seldom we’ll have any interest for buying mobile [practices] because you’re buying a truck, and you know, what do you need to buy? So if you were interested in that kind of program you should try to, as we say, get an employer or an owner of that mobile practice to allow you to come in. And we say the employer would grow their own successor so that then both parties are getting the bonding. It’s more of a personal goodwill rather than an enterprise goodwill. There’s a big distinction.”