Should Your Veterinary Practice Expand to Exotics?

Should Your Veterinary Practice Expand to Exotics?As pet ownership increases nationwide, the question of whether to expand your veterinary practice to serve exotic pets may be top of mind. Today we’re covering the considerations you should take into account when deciding if seeing exotic pets is the best move for your business.

But first… what exactly is an exotic pet?

An exotic pet isn’t a dog. It’s also not a cat, nor is it a farm animal. Exotics are essentially birds, reptiles, fish, even those cute pigs some people have decided to keep as companions. We might even throw hamsters on the list. To nail down if your practice is ready to dive into the world of these less-common animal friends, there are some questions you should ask yourself.

Are you staffed appropriately?

The vets and vet techs you employ at your practice need to be ready and willing to tackle the challenge accepting exotic pets may present. They will need to educate themselves on how to treat this different patient population and be willing to keep themselves abreast of the latest research and trends in care. It might be a lot to ask of your current staff. Be sure to run the idea by them first, and make the appropriate staffing decisions based on their feedback—you may end up having to hire additional resources, which costs money.

Is your clinic outfitted appropriately?

Many veterinary practices have separate waiting rooms for dogs and cats. Do you need an additional one for the exotic pets you’ll see? If you’re going to include boarding options for your clients you’ll also need to consider that real estate. And then there is the new equipment you may need to purchase to accommodate the new lineup of patients. But with a line of credit on-hand, expanding your practice’s footprint and equipment supply may not be too tall an order.

Does it make sense for your area?

There very well may not be a demand for exotic pet care in your area—and that’s okay. It’s not to say folks won’t come from a distance to see you if there isn’t a viable option closer by, but it might just not make sense for you to expand. However, something else to consider is that if you start seeing exotic animals, the pet owners are more likely to bring their dogs and cats to see you as well. If you’ve identified that there is likely a need for this type of veterinary service, are you prepared for an influx of new patients? Any uptick in business may mean you have to hire additional staff, expand your hours, even add more space—all of which are net positives if it means you’re growing your patient base.

Whether you’re expanding your clinic, looking for marketing tips, or need expert guidance on the best loan product for your veterinary practice, ARF Financial has your back. We’ve approved over 17,000 small business loans over the past two decades—and we’re just getting started. Be sure to stop by the Financial Pantry for regular tips on everything from boosting revenue to training staff, and take an in-depth look at the satisfied clients we’ve helped over the years. See for yourself why businesses bank on us.