Moneys where you find it

April 8, 2016
Jim Kramer, DVM, CVPM

Jim Kramer, DVM, CVPM, is a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and a partner at Columbus Animal Hospital in Columbus, Neb.

Practice owners: You own/rent a building. You employ a staff. You have computers. If youre interested, you have a chance to build more businesses, help more people and earn more money than just the hospital.

Editor's note: Veterinarians have a long, proud history of medical and scientific icons, but also innovative entrepreneurs who come up with great products that fill needs. Do you have a great idea? Do you see a business need going unfilled? Be like Dr. Jim Kramer-and jump on it.

I have always been reluctant to suggest this because it seems "unveterinary"-like the opposite of what we should be encouraging veterinarians to be doing. But it actually makes a lot of sense and has always been a big part of our business's journey and success. We have a long list of second business endeavors over these many years. We would not have survived without them.

Liquid deicer has nothing to do with veterinary medicine. But so what? (Photo courtesy Jim Kramer, DVM)

One of our most successful and current endeavors is the liquid deicer Icenator. We sell over the internet to companies and individuals all across the country and have been doing so for 10 years. Our only advertising has been pay-per-click-through Google and now Bing (type “liquid ice melt” into Google and see what you find).

We buy the deicer in semi-sized loads and repackage it in a 10-foot-by-10-foot room into 1-gallon and 5-gallon containers. We own the federal trademark on the Icenator name.

Once overhead is paid, if you can bring in one more dollar, then you get to keep more of that dollar. We have brought in more than $1 million from people we will never meet who live hundreds of miles away selling liquid deicer-using the same computers, phone lines, staff and facilities we already pay for.

Jim Kramer, DVM, CVPM, is a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and a partner at Columbus Animal Hospital in Columbus, Nebraska.