Owning a pet has tons of benefits, not the least of which include companionship, reduced stress, and an overall increase of satisfaction in life. Many people in the United States have at least one pet. In fact, there are over 89.7 million pet dogs in the country. With the prevalence of pets, owners need a reliable and reputable veterinary business that can help their animals live a long, healthy, and happy life.
If you are considering opening a veterinary business, you might not be quite sure where to start. Keep reading to find seven tips that will help you launch a successful veterinary business.
Rent Property in a Quiet but High-Traffic Area
You have probably heard the phrase that when it comes to real estate, it is all about location, location, location. If you are planning on opening a veterinary business and you need to buy or rent commercial property, the location you choose is absolutely crucial to the success of your business.
The right location will provide your business with valuable exposure and a number of organic marketing opportunities, while the wrong space could lead to slower growth or even struggling to stay open due to slow business.
When you are thinking about where to set up your veterinary business, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider both the vehicle and foot traffic the space receives. You want to be easily visible and recognizable, but you also want to choose an area that offers a quiet and peaceful atmosphere for both owners and animals.
Next, consider your commercial property from a growth standpoint. Will you be able to grow your business in this area? What are the surrounding businesses like? Are there any competitors, or are there likely to be competitors in the future? You want to reasonably distance yourself from any competition, but you don’t want to be so out of the way that customers forget you exist.
Lastly, you want to consider your customers. The ideal location for a veterinary business is the perfect blend of visibility and convenience. A busy intersection might seem like a great choice due to the high traffic, but it might not be the most convenient location for your customers to reach. You want to make sure your customers are not inconvenienced, while also making sure your business remains visible.
Make Sure the Entrance is Inviting
Curb appeal is important for both residential and commercial properties and if you plan on opening a veterinary business, you want to be sure you make a great first impression. With inviting storefront awnings, greenery, and professional commercial paving services, you captivate guests before they are even in the door.
Pets are often more than animals to owners, they are like children. As such, you want to create an entrance that is warm and inviting. Bells can be a helpful way to know you have a customer, but they can also lead to skittish cats and dogs, so you also want to be mindful of creating an entrance that is quiet and soothing.
You want to make getting in the door with an animal of any size as easy as possible for pet owners, so take into consideration the size of your entrance. Sliding doors can be very helpful for pet owners with their arms full of scared dogs or squirming cats, so having professionals install sliding doors can be a way to enhance convenience for your customers.
An entrance gives the guest a first impression of the business and you want to create an entrance that makes a great first impression of your veterinary business. Keep the area clean and clutter-free, and add personal touches like pet-safe plants or photos of your pet patients to welcome customers into your business.
Create an Outside Play Area for Animals and Pet Owners
Whether you are opening a veterinary business that will double as a place for customers to board their animals or not, an outside play area is a great idea. Not only is an outside play area a fun attraction for guests, but it also provides a perfect spot for dogs in the event they need to go to the bathroom.
When setting up an outside play area, the number one thing to keep in mind is the safety and security of pets and their owners. If your veterinary business is on a property that does not have fencing, get in contact with a local fence company. Their professionals can help you decide what type of fencing will be best for your needs, including your design aesthetic and budget.
Once you have the area fenced in, make sure you are properly equipped. Since dogs go to the bathroom outside, it is a good idea to keep waste bags and receptacles at the ready. You may also want to provide a few toys or tunnels for dogs and other animals to play with.
An outdoor play area is not just fun for animals and their owners, it is a practical addition. Most pets can sit comfortably in a waiting area without causing distress to other animals, but some cats and dogs are a bit more high-maintenance. Having an outdoor area where guests can take their pets is a way to provide a special area for animals that need a bit of isolation, and allows those waiting inside to do so more calmly.
Hire Local Companies to Keep Your Business Safe
If you want to become a trusted veterinary business within your community, it is crucial to be involved in your community. Getting to know local business owners and using their services for your veterinary business is a great way to network within your local area. Whether you need electrical services, commercial painting, or plumbers, nobody knows your market better than your fellow business owners.
As you consider working with local companies, do not be afraid to get creative. Want to provide beverages for your guests while they wait for their appointment? Why not contact a local coffee shop and see if they would be willing to supply beverages for your guests to enjoy as they wait? Love the look of fresh greenery? Talk to a local florist about a weekly delivery of pet-safe greenery and flowers.
The more involved you become in your local community, the more visible your veterinary business becomes. You can also partner with local businesses to host and sponsor events that will bring the community together.
Launch a Navigable Website
The first thing most people do when looking for information about local businesses is turn to the internet. Without a well-designed and consumer-friendly website, it can be hard to grab the attention of potential clients. What do customers look for in a website?
According to industry experts and reputable IT staffing solutions companies, the number one thing people want from a website is clear and easily accessible information. You want to provide enough information that your client feels they know what to expect from your business, but not so much information that they are overwhelmed and overloaded.
Keeping navigation near the top of the page is also a desirable function of a website. If people can easily see where certain information is located, they do not have to spend time hunting for things like contact information or hours of operation. Not only do people not like wasting time, but if your website is difficult to navigate, they may give up on your business and check out a competitor.
One critical thing businesses tend to overlook is how a website appears on mobile devices. With people more connected to their phones than ever before, many users will be viewing your page from a phone or tablet, so choose IT professionals who know how to format a site for optimal mobile usability.
You may also want to spend some time researching website speed and seeing how you can optimize yours. People lead busy lives, as do you, and when constantly on the go, people do not want to spend time waiting for images to load. In fact, nearly 40% of users will leave a website if images take too long to load. Anything that you can do to make information about your veterinary business easy to locate and quick to load will help your customers engage with your website, the content on it, and ultimately your business.
Install a Comfortable Waiting Room Area for Customers
A successful veterinary business depends on many things, one of which is the experience you provide to your clients. The experience should start with a smooth check-in process and a comfortable environment for guests who need to wait until their pet is called into an exam room.
An important part of creating a comfortable waiting room area is the front desk. You want to choose a piece that is both inviting and practical. Like kitchen granite countertops, your front desk needs to withstand daily use and frequent cleaning, so choose your materials wisely. Granite, porcelain, and quarts are good choices due to their durability.
Temperature is another vital component of keeping your guests comfortable, so make sure you have working heating and air conditioning prior to opening your veterinary business. If your system has any problems, call a local HVAC contractor to make any repairs or replacements, and sign up for a routine maintenance plan that comes with an annual checkup to prevent future problems.
You do not need a huge waiting area for your guests, but you should give guests a comfortable amount of space between seating areas. Rather than using medical-type waiting room chairs, why not choose a few cushy chairs or loveseats? This helps the animal owners coming into your veterinary business feel more at home and relaxed.
Provide Information for Other Local Businesses in the Community
A veterinary business with deep roots in the community will help other businesses in the community as well. While you do not have to list every single business in your immediate area, having a community board with information your guests may need can be very helpful, and help you spread goodwill to other businesses in your area.
Consider placing an information board near the reception area or seating area, as these are places where information is easily visible and guests congregate. You do not need to put a ton of effort into a community board. A simple bulletin board that is well thought out and eye-catching is all you need to help your customers find information that might be of interest to them. Of course, a fun and friendly pet theme is a bonus for your community bulletin board, but the main thing is to get accurate information readily accessible to customers.
What kind of businesses should you promote or provide information on? That is entirely up to you. You may want to offer contact information on automotive maintenance services, home companion care, or even your favorite local eatery.
Do you have a local dog bakery? Is there a specialty pet shop that provides toys, leashes, harnesses, and other items dogs, cats, and other small mammals need? Are local groomers looking to attract more customers? Promoting local businesses that are related to your veterinary business can be another great way to help your pet owners. Additionally, collaborating with other area businesses is an easy and effective way to increase the visibility of your veterinary business.
Running a successful veterinary business is easier when you know what your guests are looking for and how you can maximize their satisfaction. Hire knowledgeable veterinarians, vet techs, and other professionals who will take care of every animal that comes through the door as they would their own pet. Front desk staffing is also critical because a negative first impression will severely inhibit your ability to create repeat business. With a comfortable waiting area, clean and friendly front desk, and information to help your customers and their pets feel at ease, you will give your pet owners a great first impression.