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Why veterinary practices are joining buying groups and ‘What should practices look out for when choosing one?’

If you run an independent veterinary practice, you will have heard about veterinary buying groups. But what are they? and how do they help?

Veterinary practices experience various challenges, particularly in the areas of profitability, staffing and mental health. As pet ownership increases so too do the demands on veterinary practices and their teams and often the rewards for owners and managers can be disproportionate to the effort that is put in. This means independent veterinary practices are having to work even harder to extract satisfaction, value and balance from their roles.

What benefits do veterinary buying groups offer to your practice?

Becoming a member of a veterinary buying group offers a number of important benefits which help your practice survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

A veterinary buying group is an organisation which offers membership to practices. Becoming a member of a buying group offers access to a wide variety of benefits as it provides collective power. This enables practices of all sizes to reduce their overheads, improve their service offerings and meet the challenges of the current landscape head-on.

If we look at the value a buying group provides from a practice perspective the question morphs into ‘Whats best for my practice, my team and myself?’. If you consider the long-term goals of your practice they may be along the lines of:
– building a great reputation in the community
– making the management of your practice ‘turn-key’ ie. independent of you as its owner/manager
– evolving a thriving and profitable practice
– building value in your practice along with a plan to realise it

Whatever your goal maybe you will find great reward (across your results, financially and intrinsically) in having access to proven business tools, a network of colleagues and a way of enhancing your financial situation without transformational change.

Savings on Costs of Goods
The most effective way to save on cost of goods is to join a buying group that provides the leverage and negotiating power similar to that of a corporate. There is power in numbers – don’t miss a huge advantage. Being a part of a buying group gives you access to preferential pricing on the goods and services you and your team use each and every day. This then frees up the demand on your cash flow and gives you the opportunity to increase your profitability and/or reinvest in your business.

Reducing your Overheads
Veterinary buying groups have the collective power of all their members’ practices behind them. This gives them the ability to forge strong relationships with leading service providers, so membership instantly gives you access to a vast and varied range of support and services.
This collective power then gives buying groups the ability to negotiate advantageous deals. The result is that you pay less for services, enabling you to reduce your overheads.

Proven Practice Strategies
There is great value to be gained from a network of colleagues and a team of industry experts who have a passion for supporting independent practices and have experience in our very situation. Not only can you save time with the ‘been there done that’ experience of a colleague you can also gain greater and faster results when you have access to proven tools and strategies, no more reinventing the wheel.

It saves you time
Becoming a veterinary buying group member helps to save time on a number of tasks involved in running a practice, including:
• Making deals with manufacturers and suppliers
• Staying informed with market insights and trends
• Researching partners and service providers
• Growing your practice in revenue and profitability

What about Membership Fees?
Many buying groups utilise membership fees to fund the support and services they provide to the practices they represent. If you’re interested in joining a buying group, find out how they are funded.

Some purely pay for themselves through membership fees and others get a portion of their money as commission from their partners. Some buying groups use a combination of the two and create other revenue streams. Before you consider a buying group make sure you know how they operate and the benefits you will receive. In many cases obtaining a benefit estimate for your practice from a group will demonstrate that the financial benefits overshadow the fees.

There’s no doubt that there are significant benefits and cost savings you can obtain from joining a buying group. The time spent looking at membership could substantially reduce your practice expenses.

What to look for in a group?
Practices should look for a group that they feel is honest and transparent. There should be an alignment of values between the practice and the group. We believe independent veterinary practices need a group that is focused to their core on offering value to independent veterinary practices which as a result allows them to practice how they wish to practice, stay independent and facilitate a feeling of satisfaction as a practice owner. Ensure you know exactly what’s in it for you financially and collaboratively.

 

About IVA Membership

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of membership with IVA for your practice please contact our friendly team on 1300 83 85 83 or info@independentvetsofaustralia.com.au or via the below form.

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