In an ever-changing industry like veterinary medicine, clinic owners often find it difficult to navigate the business of selling their veterinary practice. Aside from the simple fact of getting the right offer for their business, owners are undoubtedly concerned with the future of their practice after the sale; selling your business can easily become a stressful and overwhelming process. Due to the challenges of overseeing a life-changing transition while also running a clinic, many owners choose to seek the aid of veterinary practice brokers and advisors.
As in other industries, a broker is a third party agent generally hired by the practice owner whose purpose is to assist owners in finding the right buyer for their veterinary practice in exchange for a commission fee. Typically, advisors will work in much the same way, but for a fixed fee. These valuable (but at times expensive) intermediaries will assist owners in finding a buyer, negotiating the sale, and other important tasks that the practice owner may not be equipped to handle alone. Depending on the firm, and the seller’s needs, the broker or advisor may stay heavily engaged up to the signed letter of intent, through due diligence, to the signed purchase agreement, or even after the sale.
A broker’s purpose in business is to find the best buyer for their client and manage the sale. Brokers are incentivized to find the highest-paying buyer due to the commission they will earn from the transaction. However, in a field like veterinary medicine, a clinic owner’s concerns extend beyond maximizing a business transaction. Practice owners must consider the quality of care that will be provided by the new owner, the treatment of their staff, and their own professional legacy in passing the reins. While brokers can be extremely helpful in ensuring a smooth transition, the professional incentive of maximizing their commission on a short timeline can be contrary to making sure your practice and legacy are protected after the sale.
As opposed to a broker, a veterinary advisor’s job is to work with veterinary practice owners to find the best buyer while considering the other important factors that go beyond maximizing the profit of your sale. Advisors often work more closely with owners to identify a range of buyers and sort through to find the ideal successor to your business. When selling your veterinary clinic, a veterinary practice broker can be an essential resource in finding the best owner for your practice; however, practice owners must be cautious in hiring a veterinary practice broker, as your interests may not always align with those of the firm being hired. Carefully vetting your broker is essential to ensuring your veterinary practice ends up in the right hands.
Veterinary Practice Brokers: Pros and Cons
✅ Brokers have the resources to identify a wide range of buyers
One of the biggest perks of hiring a veterinary practice broker is that a broker will have the ability to quickly identify buyers that will give you the best offers. Hiring a broker can streamline the process of finding potential buyers and beginning negotiations, something that a veterinary practice may not be equipped to do on its own. Good brokers will also be able to identify which buyers have in mind the best interests of you and your clinic, though many brokers do not always take on this more advisory role.
❌ Brokers do not provide a quality guarantee
While a particular broker may have been helpful in the sale of one clinic, that broker may be completely wrong for another. Vetting brokers is time-consuming and difficult, and choosing the wrong broker can ruin your vision for the sale of your practice. Losing money to a broker’s commission during a transitional time for your vet practice may end up doing more harm than good.
✅ Veterinary practice brokers are experienced in business and sales
An experienced veterinary practice broker is ultimately a salesperson and will have the business savvy to understand which buyers are right for you and for your practice. A good practice broker will help you ensure you are maximizing your sale profits and that you are not wasting your time courting offers that are less than ideal. As professional intermediary, veterinary practice brokers will take care of the aspects of selling your business that you as a medical professional may not have experience with. This can make the process of selecting a buyer smooth and painless.
❌ Brokers are incentivized to maximize their commission
While hiring a veterinary practice broker may be the right choice to maximize the sale of your vet clinic, brokers are paid by commission from the sale of your practice. A good broker may work with you to check all the boxes you require in selling your practice, but given that they will not necessarily maximize their own profits from doing so, brokers may instead choose to focus on fielding only the best financial offers and prioritize this over personal and day-to-day factors that are important to the clinic owner and their staff. For example, a practice owner may be opposed to selling their clinic to a group that intends to flip it rather than a long term owner, but a broker may push for the former for the sake of making more money, even if it’s not the right choice for the practice. The wrong sale can do major harm to a practice, its clients, and its employees, even if the profits from the sale were as high as possible.
✅ Brokers can improve and empower marketing strategies
Every veterinary practice requires some level of marketing to stand out from the competition and draw in new clients. However, clinic owners may not necessarily be experienced in marketing and advertising, and may need third party assistance in order to come up with effective marketing strategies. This challenge falls into the expertise of a veterinary practice broker. A good broker can manage the marketing of a clinic to ensure its public presence is the best it can be, and in doing so will help to find the best offers for your practice.
❌ Brokers may not be able to find the right buyer
Veterinary practice brokers are generally not incentivized to take a personal interest in the clinic being sold. While a broker may be able to find buyers that will pay well for a practice and advertise the practice in new and effective ways, hiring a broker is not always a great way to ensure your clinic is going to end up in the right hands. The purpose of a broker is the sale they make–not necessarily the buyer being sold to. A veterinary practice broker is likely to seek the highest-paying buyers over the buyer that may be best for your practice and legacy.
At Galaxy Vets, we believe in full transparency and knowledge during the process of selling your clinic. We understand that your practice is important to you and your staff, and passing your business on to its next owner is a major decision that should not be taken lightly. As the first employee-owned veterinary corporation in the country, Galaxy upholds the principle of quality over profit and seeks to ensure that all practices within its network stay true to high-quality veterinary care and ideal work environments for clinicians. Galaxy believes in preserving the work veterinarians have already done in building their practices and offers competitive cash plus equity acquisitions to clinics entering our network.
Here’s a list of just some of the many brokers and advisors in 2023
1st Med Transitions
Advertising modern veterinary practice sales, 1st Med works with clinic sales to both private and corporate clients. With free practice valuations and a tailored associate placement service, 1st Med’s transition advisors have close over $215 million in practice sales.
360 Vet Sales
360 Vet Sales knows that “your practice is your baby,” and with a small team of brokers and analysts experienced in all sides of navigating clinic sales, 360’s focus on the personal touch has earned them a strong reputation. Additionally, 360 owns their own accounting firm and brings unique financial experience to the table.
The Ackerman Group is another major firm specializing in sales to corporate clients. Boasting a combined total of over $1 billion in profits from clinics sold, Ackerman offers virtual consultations and has assisted over 200 clinic owners nationwide.
Carr Veterinary Real Estate Services specializes in the real estate aspect of selling a clinic. With an informative and transparent website, Carr’s team focuses on the overwhelming real estate industry and helping owners cut down on real estate costs in their transitions.
Cavanaugh specializes specifically in emergency clinics in order to offer specialized services to help such practices stay afloat in a time of corporate consolidation. The firm prides itself on serving independent clinic owners and organizing clinic collaboration.
DVM is one of the most experienced firms in the industry and offers a wide and comprehensive range of services. Their “Sherpa” business philosophy insists on prioritizing the desires of the clinic owner and helping to achieve their goals every step of the way.
Evolve Transitions Broker Melisa Edwards comes from a dual background of both finance and veterinary medicine. As a founding VP of the Bank of America Veterinary Finance Division, Edwards and the Evolve Transitions firm are another great option for smaller firms with reputations for success.
Florida Vet Broker
For those living in the Florida area, Florida Vet Broker may be the right choice for a more local firm. With competitive 100% financing options on practice purchases, new start-ups and remodeling, FVB is a well-known choice in the southeast US region.
Legacy Veterinary Advisors
Legacy claims a “culture-focussed” process of prioritizing the wishes of the clinic owner throughout the sales process. With free consultations and a highly transparent philosophy, Legacy works with independent owners to help them navigate the consolidation of the industry.
Monarch Business Consulting
Monarch Business Consulting puts more emphasis on the buying side of clinic transitions than others in the industry. They hold a database of clinics for sale and also offer representation services for first-time clinic buyers, as well as valuations and clinic sales.
New England Animal Health Solutions
Serving the New England region, New England Animal Health Solutions specializes in creative exit strategies and both buying and selling. NEAHS puts a strong focus on tailoring unique plans and employing new ideas for those in the midst of this difficult transition.
Omni Practice Group
Omni was founded in 2004 and is the leading provider of veterinary practice brokerage. They also keep a database of clinics for sale in addition to their reputation of high-quality services and uniquely tailored transition plans.
Pacific Professionals, Inc.
Another firm specifically for California’s veterinary community, Pacific Professionals has more than 30 years of experience helping clinic owners sell their practice. Pacific Professionals works with owners through every step of the process, whether you are buying, selling, or just looking for an appraisal.
Practice Sales Advisors
With a single central office, Practice Sales Advisors offers personal agents assigned to clinics being sold. PSA’s client testimonials reinforce their philosophy of prioritizing the needs and wishes of the clinic owner and providing creative solutions to this difficult process.
Praxis Veterinary Practice Brokers
Praxis Veterinary Practice Brokers advertises a balanced brokerage strategy that puts emphasis on finding the right match for a clinic owner. Praxis’s team of professionals is prepared to cover every step of the selling process and offers free appraisals.
PS Broker Veterinary Practice Brokers
PS Broker has decades of experience assisting practice owners in selling their clinic as well as all accompanying real estate. They have relationships with both independent and corporate clients and their team includes both doctors and analysts.
Simmons Veterinary Practice Sales & Appraisals
The oldest veterinary practice broker in the United States, Simmons Inc. sports twelve regional offices across the country. Simmons’ team of experienced brokers pride themselves on a reputation of success in their business and includes a number of DVMs, including their CEO.
A major national mergers & acquisitions firm, Sterling Point is another option for those looking for larger entities that work in more than just the veterinary industry. Sterling Point has the resources and history to ensure high-profit sales and a painless process.
Swingbridge is a larger firm at which veterinary practice brokerage is just one aspect of the larger company. For those seeking a high price on their clinic, Swingbridge may have the cross-industry experience and resources to ensure the best offers.
The Veterinary Practice Broker
Serving clients exclusively in California, The Veterinary Practice Broker offers a full range of brokerage services. Though the firm is large enough to accompany all the needs a clinician could have, its local focus makes it a strong choice for clinics in California.
Total Practice Solutions Group
Specializing in sales to corporate consolidators, Total Practice Solutions has a reputation of high-profit sales. With a number of former and current clinic owners on their team, TPS works across the country to help owners find the best deals.
Transformation Group’s comprehensive team of advisors, marketers, negotiators, and analysts puts a heavy focus on finding the right buyer for their client. This firm works with both veterinary professionals and other specialized medical clinics, giving clinic owners the advantage of hiring cross-industry specialists.
Transitions Elite was founded on the idea that there is a mismatch between the job of a practice broker and the desires of an owner. They put emphasis on helping clinic owners find ideal outcomes in their sales and offer a trademarked selling process that covers all the bases.
Unique Practice Valuations
Unique Practice Valuations founder Sang Park has years of experience personally assisting VCA and NVA acquire veterinary clinics. Now continuing his work as the broker of his own firm, Park’s personal touch and transparent process make Unique Practice Valuations a good choice for those looking for smaller firms.
Veterinary Sales and Consulting
Offering services for both buyers and sellers, Veterinary Sales and Consulting is run by former clinic owners with experience in the industry. VSC’s comprehensive packages for both startups and existing clinics highlight their history of success in real estate and management for clinics.
Veterinary Sales Partners
With a team dedicated to full transparency, VSP develops individualized plans for clinic owners and holds a wealth of information about the sales process. VSP works with independent clinic owners and prides itself on not receiving compensation or incentives from consolidators.
Offering valuations, brokerage services, and a network of clinicians ready to help with day to day operations and management challenges, VetValue boasts some of the lowest fees in the industry. With decades of combined experience, this firm puts a strong focus on efficiency and accuracy in finding the right buyer.