When Should You Hire a New Veterinary Associate?

Bringing in another veterinary associate could change everything, so you need to have a plan.

When you’ve been in back-to-back appointments all day, every day, for weeks on end, the idea of adding a new veterinary associate could feel like the solution to your heavy workload. But can your current practice sustain a new associate? According to Terence O’Neil, CPA, CVA, a partner at Katz, Sapper & Miller, there are clear guidelines that can tell you when to move ahead and how to do so effectively.

Have a plan. Start with clear goals about how and when you would expand your practice, so you can hire an associate before it becomes a crisis. “You have to plan for the future,” O’Neil says. If you address needs only when they become acute, you and your current staff will be under more stress than is necessary.

Check your numbers. Look at your appointment books. How long does it take to fit someone in? If it’s two to three weeks, you could probably benefit from having an associate. O’Neil also references the Veterinary Study Groups database, which shows that 4,600 invoices per year is close to capacity for a full-time equivalent doctor. If either of these metrics applies to you and your practice, it might be time to hire an associate.

Consider your space. Do you have the exam rooms to support another veterinary associate? If you’re a one-veterinarian practice and have only two exam rooms, a new associate may not be feasible.

Evaluate non-doctor staff. Increasing the number of veterinarians is going to increase other things as well, such as the number of appointments and possibly the hours you are open. Consider your office staff and whether you want to bring on more people.

Think about expanding hours. Before you write a job description, consider how you want to work with a new associate. This might be an opportunity to expand your hours later or earlier in the day, or on weekends. If so, you need to know before you create a job posting.

Decide what type of veterinarian you want. New graduates come highly technically trained, O’Neil says, but “they’re green. They don’t know how to be veterinarians, so you have to be patient.” It’s also true, though, that an experienced veterinarian might come with bad habits. “Put together a mentoring plan of how you’re going to help this new associate become a better veterinarian,” O’Neil suggests. It will help them and your practice.

Use a consultant. If you’re struggling with whether your practice can afford to expand, get an outside viewpoint. You could go to a business coach, preferably someone in the veterinary field, or to your accountant or another business advisor, O’Neil says.

Get More Solutions for Healthcare, Dental & Veterinary Professionals 

Contact Us »

pnc.com/hcprofessionals »

Start Your Cash Flow Conversation
Give us a call at 1-855-762-2365 or fill out our simple form and a PNC Business Banking representative will get in touch with you.
Request a Contact »

Important Legal Disclosures and Information

Business Insights for Veterinary Professionals are prepared for general information purposes only by Manifest LLC and are not intended as legal, tax or accounting advice or as recommendations to engage in any specific transaction, including with respect to any securities of PNC, and do not purport to be comprehensive. Under no circumstances should any information contained in the articles be used or considered as an offer or a commitment, or a solicitation of an offer or a commitment, to participate in any particular transaction or strategy. Any reliance upon any such information is solely and exclusively at your own risk. Please consult your own counsel, accountant or other advisor regarding your specific situation.

Neither PNC Bank nor any other subsidiary of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. will be responsible for any consequences of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained here, or any omission. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily the opinions of PNC Bank or any of its affiliates, directors, officers or employees.

Lending and leasing products and services, including card services and merchant services, as well as certain other banking products and services, may require credit approval.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) uses the marketing name PNC Private BankSM to provide investment and wealth management, fiduciary services, FDIC-insured banking products and services, and lending of funds through its subsidiary, PNC Bank, National Association (“PNC Bank”), which is a Member FDIC, and to provide specific fiduciary and agency services through its subsidiary, PNC Delaware Trust Company or PNC Ohio Trust Company. Securities products, brokerage services, and managed account advisory services are offered by PNC Investments LLC, a registered brokerdealer and a registered investment adviser and member of FINRA and SIPC. Insurance products may be provided through PNC Insurance Services, LLC, a licensed insurance agency affiliate of PNC, or through licensed insurance agencies that are not affiliated with PNC; in either case a licensed insurance affiliate may receive compensation if you choose to purchase insurance through these programs. A decision to purchase insurance will not affect the cost or availability of other products or services from PNC or its affiliates. PNC does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice unless, with respect to tax advice, PNC Bank has entered into a written tax services agreement. PNC does not provide services in any jurisdiction in which it is not authorized to conduct business. PNC Bank is not registered as a municipal advisor under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Act”).

“PNC Private Bank” is a service mark of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc

Investments: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value.

Insurance: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank or Federal Government Guarantee. Not a Deposit. May Lose Value. Bank deposit, treasury management and lending products and services, and investment and wealth management and fiduciary services, are provided by PNC Bank, National Association. Member FDIC.

Banking products and services and bank deposit products are provided by PNC Bank, National Association, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. and Member FDIC.

Read a summary of privacy rights for California residents which outlines the types of information we collect, and how and why we use that information.