A veterinarian’s job is to care for our beloved furry friends that, unfortunately, can’t communicate exactly what’s wrong or what they are feeling. Therefore, many veterinarians rely on equipment such as ultrasounds, digital radiography, endoscopes and analyzers to give them a more holistic view of the situation at hand, and to help make informed recommendations and decisions.
Many times, this equipment carries a high price tag or evolves very quickly, meaning veterinary practices may need to replace this equipment more frequently to keep up with technological advances and ensure they are doing right by their patients.
Those who work in veterinary care or run veterinarian practices know that selecting the right equipment can be a burden in terms of time and dollars spent. Finding the right financing partner for your equipment needs is just as important and can be as timely given they can find ways for you to obtain that equipment while staying within your budget.
At times, finding the right financial partner can be difficult. While it can be hard to narrow down the best fit for your practice, and it might be tempting to select the first partner that you meet, it is imperative to select a partner that is well versed in your industry and that you can trust. The key to finding the right financial partner is to know what questions to ask and what type of expertise to look for before making your decision.
Here are a few tips on what to look for and ask to help identify the right financial partner for your practice:
- Work With Specialists. While several financial institutions service veterinary practices and have relationships with veterinary equipment manufacturers, few are industry specialists. It’s important that your financial partner has a firm understanding of your industry, the equipment that needs to be financed, and how you utilize that equipment within your practice. They should be at the top veterinary conferences so you can meet the sales team, ask lots of questions, and get a sense for their commitment to the industry. This knowledge will ensure that they are able to properly advise you when it’s time to explore new equipment options.
- Explore Their Options and Flexibility. Financial partners that are well-versed in the industry are not only be able to advise on equipment and when is the best time to consider an upgrade, but also to properly forecast the industry, competition and your cash flow. They should be able to utilize their knowledge of the industry, combined with forecasting insight, to offer clients customized payment plans that align larger purchases and payments to when you have a busier season and a bigger influx of revenue.
- Examine the Financing Agreement. Review the contract and look for clues about who your partner is before it’s time to sign. Are they a direct lender or will they be selling the transaction to another financing source? It is written in simple terms. Pay close attention to the language in the contract, ensuring there are few uses of legal jargon – which typically means that the contract is straightforward. Lastly, make sure that the fees are clear – many times, practices can be surprised to see high document or processing fees or pre-payment penalties. By reviewing the contract early in the process, you’ll have a better understanding of the potential partner you are considering and understanding all the terms and fees. Transparency is key!
- Make Sure They Play in the Space. A trusted financial partner typically has numerous years of experience in your industry both with your peers and with manufacturers. Ask for references; find out who they have worked with, ask for case studies of how they have helped their clients and for client testimonials. You should feel comfortable reaching out to the practice one-on-one to learn more. It’s also important to ask which manufacturers a possible financial partner has relationships with. Are these brands that you already work with or are interested in working with? If not, consider finding a partner that works closely with a larger list of brands. Finding the right financial partner should lead to a trusted, long-term relationship – so it’s best to do research to make sure this is the best fit for your business.
When selecting a financial partner, it’s important to take your time to evaluate every aspect of the company, including their track record, their business practices, and how they can help you grow your business. A partner should not only provide you with assistance when asked but should also proactively flag ways that you can improve your business and increase profits. It should feel as though your team has expanded, because a financial partner should be on your team and looking out for your best interests.
This will make all the time-consuming work worth it!
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