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Starting a Veterinary Clinic Costs $467,000 to $840,000

Are you looking to start your own veterinary clinic? As part of your business plan, make sure to consider the startup and operating costs to start and run a veterinary clinic.

We’ve identified that it costs anywhere from $467,000 – $840,000 to start a typical veterinary clinic with 2 veterinary doctors, as well as $27,800 – $44,400 in operating costs per month to run the business the first few months.

Want to know more? In this article we’ll go through all the different costs you will need to incur to start your own veterinary clinic. Read on!

For more information on veterinary clinics, make sure to read our guides below:
How to write a Veterinary Clinic Business Plan: Complete Guide
How To Build A Financial Model For a Veterinary Clinic?
How To Open a Veterinary Clinic In 8 Steps
7 Strategies To Increase Profits For Your Veterinary Clinic

What are the Startup Costs of a Veterinary Clinic?

According to Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association, the average cost of opening a small veterinary clinic from the ground up is around $1,000,000.

Logically, the costs to start a veterinary clinic vary significantly depending on factors like the size of the clinic, its location and the equipment you will use.

So we’ve decided to give you below a clear overview of all the key expenses you can expect for a typical small clinic with 2 veterinary doctors (note that these costs are for illustrative purposes and depend on a number of factors as explained earlier).

Startup costAmount
Building or refurbishment$380,000 – $750,000
Supplies & equipment$85,000
Legal expenses$2,000 – $4,000
Licenses $500
Total$467,500 – $839,500

Download the Veterinary Clinic budget template

  • Lender & investor-friendly
  • Easy-to-use Excel template
  • CPA-developed financials
  • 30+ charts and metrics

Veterinary clinic building costs (or refurbishment)

This is the most important cost you need to consider. The clinic must be located in a region that doesn’t have too many competing veterinary clinics and has a significant number of pets (or/and farm animals). The location will determine how profitable your business will be.

Real estate price varies from location to location. Additionally, the price is also determined by the square footage you want.

You will have an option of either building your clinic from the ground up, or you can rent a commercial property to set up your clinic.

There are certain vet clinic rules of thumb laid down by dvm360 which are:

  • At least 2 exam rooms for each vet.
  • Minimum of 1,000 square feet for each exam room.

So, going by that rule, if you want 2 exam rooms of 1,000 square feet each, one waiting & office area of 1,000 square feet, you will need a total of 3,000 square feet. The new construction cost for vet clinics, according to dvm360 is $250 per square foot. By that calculation, if you want to build your 3,000 square feet clinic from the ground up, you will need 3000 x 250 = $750,000 just for building a new clinic.

Of course, that is an estimation. The prices will differ based on your location and the size of the clinic.

If you are settling for an existing building and want to go for renovations, you can expect an average cost of $130 per square foot. So, for a 3,000 square feet area, the renovation cost will be 3000 x 130 = $390,000 approximately.

Veterinary clinic equipment costs

Once you have your clinic space set up, you will need some essential supplies without which you cannot run your clinic. These are usually one-time investments.

According to Truic, you will need the following:

  • Surgical and medical equipment – approximately $40,000
  • Lab equipment – approximately $30,000
  • Exam and waiting room setup – approximately $10,000
  • Kennel equipment – approximately $5,000

The total approximate cost for essential supplies will be $85,000. Again, you need to understand that this is just an approximation. The actual cost can vary significantly.

Legal expenses

There will be some upfront legal expenses for drafting a rent contract, customer contracts, employment agreement, etc. Lawyers charge anywhere between $200 and $300 an hour, which means you can end up paying anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000 in upfront legal expenses.

Veterinary clinic license fees

You will need a veterinary license from your relevant state agency. Additionally, there may be certain state license and permit requirements. You can learn all about the licenses in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

You will also need a Certificate of Occupancy to ensure that your veterinary clinic conforms to zoning laws, building codes, and government regulations.

Licenses are in average $500 and need to be renewed every year or so.

What are the Operating Costs of a Veterinary Clinic?

Once your veterinary clinic setup is complete, you must budget for operating costs to run the business. On average, it costs $28,000 to $44,000 to run a small practice with 2 veterinary doctors.

Operating costAmount (per month)
Salaries$20,000 – $25,000
Rent $5,000 – $10,000
Marketing$1,200 – $2,400
Insurance$100 – $400
Bookkeeping $500 – $1,000
Miscellaneous$1,000 – $2,000
Total$27,800 – $44,400

Download the Veterinary Clinic budget template

  • Lender & investor-friendly
  • Easy-to-use Excel template
  • CPA-developed financials
  • 30+ charts and metrics

Veterinary clinic staff costs

You may need to hire:

  • A veterinary doctor (median salary of $100,000)
  • A veterinary receptionist. The average hourly wage you will need to pay is $13.53
  • A veterinary assistant. The average hourly wage you will need to pay is $13.62

Assuming you have a clinic with 2 veterinary doctors, 1 receptionist and 2 assistants, the monthly salary expense will range anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 per month.

Veterinary clinic rental costs

If you are renting a space to start your veterinary clinic instead of new construction, you will need to pay a recurring rent. The rent you pay will depend on the size of the space, the location, and other factors.

For example, if you decide to rent a 3,000-square-foot commercial space at a rate of $35 per square foot per year, you will end up paying $8,750 per month in rent.

Veterinary clinic marketing costs

Because of high competition, you cannot expect customers to start pouring in after you open your veterinary clinic. You need to spend money on marketing and advertisements to attract new customers. According to imatrix, if you are opting for a PPC advertisement with Google, you can expect to have a CPC of anywhere between $2.73 and $3.59. If you opt for Facebook ads, you can expect to pay $0.97 per click and $7.19 for every 1,000 impressions.

The overall advertisement expenses will depend on your ad frequency, the number of clicks, and the number of impressions. It is a good practice to set a specific monthly budget for each advertisement platform. The good part is that the ads will stop running when the set budgetary limit is hit.

According to AAHA, on average, you can typically set aside around 1.2% of your gross revenue for advertisements. Logically, in the first months you’ll likely spend more as you try to get new customers and cannot (yet) entirely rely on organic (word-of-mouth) customers.

Assuming an average procedure price of $250 per customer, and 8 customer per day (2 veterinary doctors) in the first months, you can expect approximately $40,000 in monthly revenue. You’ll likely spend anywhere from 3-6% of your revenue in marketing the first months, hence $1,500 to $2,400.

Insurance

Insurance is necessary. You can opt for Business Owner’s Policy for your veterinary clinic. This type of policy covers general liability, commercial property damage, business interruption, etc. The premium can range anywhere from $500 to $4,900 depending on your chosen coverage.

Bookkeeping

You will want to maintain your finances for the smooth running of your business. Accountants will likely cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per month in fees.

Additionally, you can also opt for accounting software such as Quickbooks which will cost anywhere between $12.50 and $90 a month depending on your chosen plan.

Miscellaneous expenses

You can expect other miscellaneous expenses which can be up to $1,000. These expenses usually cover office supplies, utility bills, etc. This can actually change depending on your facility size, the number of staff members, electricity and water consumption, and other factors.