The Path to Becoming a Veterinary Practice Owner: An Introductory Guide


Are you dreaming of becoming a veterinary practice owner after graduation? While the path to practice ownership may be challenging, the rewards are immense if you’re willing to put in the effort. You’ll get to practice outstanding medicine the way you want to practice it, experience a better quality of life, and potentially retire earlier than expected! At Partners Veterinary Group, we are here to guide, educate, and empower you to succeed in running your own practice. 

Below, we provide a roadmap to help you better understand the transition from vet school to practice ownership and what that journey entails.

But first, there are 4 key things to remember in the process as you work towards your ownership goals: 

  • Practice ownership offers the best way for you to achieve financial success in the veterinary field. 
  • As part of the newest generation of veterinarians, you have the power to demand ownership and shape your career. 
  • The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little “extra.” 
  • You’ve already done this your whole career. Spending 2-5 hours more per week on clinical skills and your business acumen after you graduate will yield huge rewards.

And here’s what you should be doing now:

  • Stay passionate about providing the best medical care to your patients. 
  • Understand that good medicine equals good business, so focus on learning both aspects. 
  • Make business education a hobby, but don’t stress over it too much. 
  • Embrace challenging cases and learn to excel in communication with your clients, patients, and colleagues. 
  • Gain valuable experience through multiple externships at the best practices you can find.

Finding Your First Job as a Veterinarian

Your first veterinary job sets the foundation for your career and influences how you practice medicine and charge for your services.

To ensure long-term success: 

  • Realize that the smartest way to learn the business of veterinary medicine is to emulate someone that is already good at business.
  • Start your job search early in your fourth year. Be ready to send out your resume in September.
  • The most important business decision you will likely ever make is to work for the very best practice you can.

Tips for Finding the Best Place to Work

Choosing the right veterinary practice for your career is crucial to your future success. Consider these factors when looking for your first job: 

  • Use Google Maps to compare practices in the area.  
  • Read client reviews to gauge the practice’s reputation. 
  • Visit the practice website to see the team, understand the breadth of services offered and technology used. 
  • Check out photos or videos of the practice to get a feel for its atmosphere, personality, and compatibility with your values and work ethic. 
  • Aim for a multi-doctor practice that offers diverse experiences and cases. 
  • Ideally, you’ve already done an externship at this practice. If not, spend at least a 1/2 day interviewing.
  • Ask associates about their mentorship at this practice.

Being the Best Vet You Can Be 

To excel as a veterinarian, focus on primarily, becoming an excellent clinician, but also building strong relationships with your clients and patients:

  • Spend the time looking up cases and tweaking the knowledge you’ve learned from your colleagues. 
  • Focus on building your medical and surgical skills. 
  • Nurture the veterinary-client-patient relationship through effective communication and empathy. 
  • Seek advice from experienced vet colleagues, trusting their guidance while also verifying information. 
  • Go the extra mile by taking care of walk-ins and expanding your medical and surgical skills. 

Skills to Attain in Your First 2 Years as a Vet 


Good communication is absolutely essential to succeeding in the veterinary field. Work on mastering these communication skills in the first two years of your career: 

  • Learn exam room communication techniques, including clear explanations and empathy. 
  • Familiarize yourself with Fear Free techniques and ensure compliance of these techniques in your practice. 
  • Improve post-exam client communications using notes, handouts, follow-up calls, emails, and texts. 
  • Establish positive communication among your staff and with mentors to create an open and harmonious work environment. 

Time Management 

Being skilled in time management is crucial for efficiency in the veterinary profession. Here’s how to start excelling at it: 

  • Minimize distractions like excessive phone use to maximize your productivity. 
  • Use your breaks to finish patient records and make client follow-up calls. 
  • Customize your schedule while respecting practice guidelines. 
  • Be open to taking on extra cases to gain further experience. 

Financial Considerations for the First 2 Years 

Prepare yourself for financial challenges and consider these strategies: 

  • Consult with Sabadoodle. Use them for student loan planning and financial planning. Pay them. It’s worth the fee. Better yet, negotiate in your contract for the practice to pay for this.
  • Maximize your contributions to non-taxable benefits like 401K and HAS. 
  • Read the Wall St. Journal every day.
  • Do a personal budget. Many vets use the Mint app.

Skills to Nurture in the First 2-5 Years


We can’t stress enough the importance of nurturing and building up your communication skills. Continuously enhance these skills by learning from a wide range of sources: 

  • Read books, listen to podcasts, and understand the various personality types to improve interactions with all kinds of people. 
  • Review your practice’s client communications procedures, offer suggestions for improvements, then implement them. 


Leadership is also essential to your growth as a veterinarian and journey to becoming a practice owner. Here are some ways to develop your leadership skills: 

  • Engage in team training and take the initiative to mentor new colleagues. 
  • Identify areas where the practice can improve and actively fill those gaps. 

Time Management 

Become an expert at managing your time. Balance your life outside of veterinary medicine by pursuing other interests: 

  • Allocate a few hours a week to work on practice-related tasks outside of practice hours. 
  • Develop a hobby related to business knowledge and financial management. 
  • Set personal and professional goals, including leaving the practice on time each day. 

Medical and Surgical Skills 

Develop a special interest in a specific area of medicine to distinguish yourself from your peers: 

  • Acquire additional medical skills, such as chemotherapy, advanced ultrasound, and complicated dentals.
  • Enhance your surgical skills with advanced procedures and techniques. 

What to Expect When Starting Your Own Practice 

If practice ownership is on the horizon for you, there are several important things you should expect as you take this monumental step in your journey:

  • Prepare for long work weeks in the first few years of practice ownership. 
  • Have a contingency plan for worst-case scenarios and manage your finances accordingly. 
  • Seek guidance from experienced advisors, including lawyers, accountants, and bankers. 
  • Find a veterinary mentor with business experience to guide you. 
  • Join the Veterinary Management Group (VMG) for valuable support. 
  • Research and use common sense when choosing the location for your practice.

Furthermore, if you’re considering joining a group or corporation, ask yourself these important questions:

  • Who is your mentor? 
  • How will they support your growth as a veterinarian and practice owner? 
  • What percentage of ownership will you have in the practice? 
  • What strategies will they implement to assist you when needed? 
  • What are the costs involved in joining and ongoing expenses? 
  • How will your compensation be structured? 
  • What will your exit strategy be if you decide to leave? 

Fulfill Your Dreams of Practice Ownership with Partners Veterinary Group

At Partners Veterinary Group, our mission is to create more ownership opportunities for ambitious veterinarians like you. We strive to empower you on your journey to financial freedom and fulfillment as a practice owner. We offer partnership opportunities with immediate ownership for existing practices. We also provide potential real estate investment options and direct mentorship with a founding partner. 

Embarking on the path to practice ownership may be challenging, but with dedication and guidance from experienced mentors your dream can become a reality. We believe in providing you with the tools, education, and support necessary to succeed as a veterinarian and practice owner. Join us today and start paving the way to a successful and rewarding career! 



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About Us

At Partners Veterinary Group, we believe in energizing our team members through shared values, while helping them create value for our clients and patients. Knowing we can help make pets’ and people’s lives better motivates us to continually strive for excellence and love what we do.

Our team consistently works to build educational, supportive, and cooperative work environments that cater to positive experiences and professional growth. We’re constantly evolving, creating innovative ways to deliver cutting-edge medicine to our patients. We equip our teams with tools to enhance their skills and improve their knowledge.