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We Bought a Veterinary Clinic – Advice from an Insider

15/11/2017


​​Veterinary hospital administrator Tina Shewchuk and veterinarians Terri Pettifor and Barb Muzyka were colleagues for many years before they bought their first veterinary clinic in the fall of 2014.

Ottewell Animal Clinic was established in 1974 and was owned for more than 30 years by Dr. Milton Ness, who was also the veterinarian for the Edmonton Valley Zoo. After Dr. Ness passed away suddenly in May 2014, his wife decided to sell the clinic and the three partners made the decision to purchase. The amalgamation of the original and new company concluded in November that year.

The clinic now has two locations serving Edmonton and area, both small animal practices with one including exotics. Currently, the partnership includes a total of five veterinarians. Terri has also continued in the footsteps of Dr. Ness by serving as a backup veterinarian for the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

Here, Tina Shewchuk, who is the clinics’ long-time hospital administrator, discusses the process of purchasing the clinics:

Q: From the experience of buying your first veterinary clinic, what is your main advice for others?
A: It’s really important to do research demographically, to establish the demand for veterinary services to confirm sustainability. How many other clinics are in that area? If you’re a new person coming in and are planning on purchasing an existing clinic, or if you’re opening up a new clinic, this is really important, because you have to have a demand.

Finding a proper advisor also is very important. Seek reputable advisors for sound financial advice and obtain good legal and accounting representation.  If you have good advisors, it’s just easier. They did all the work for us, allowing us to do what we do best, which is practise veterinary medicine.

Q: How did you get introduced to MNP?
A: We were introduced to MNP through RBC. Tim Dawson, MNP Partner, Professional Services, was recommended from our financial lender (RBC).

Q: How did MNP help you in purchasing the clinic? What services did MNP provide?
A: MNP’s tax group helped us on the structure of the purchase, which was a share purchase. MNP also did an overhead analysis to help keep us in line with our overhead, by comparing us to industry standard in Canada.

Q: What was the transition like in terms of purchasing the clinic?
A: It was straightforward and easy because we all had the same vision. We had good advisors - we had a good accountant.

Q: You are still with MNP today – how is MNP helping you now? What services is MNP providing to you?
A: MNP does our financials for the clinic -all of our accounting, as well as the personal taxes for two of our partners.

I’m happy with MNP. I find them very professional and easy to work with. They get back to me very quickly on everything - they are prompt with returning calls and emails - and they explain things in a way that the average person can understand.

For more information on buying or selling a practice, contact Tim Dawson, CPA, CA, Partner, Professional Services at 780.451.4406; toll-free 1.800.661.7778 or [email protected]

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