Veterinary Practice Survey 2020-2021

Here at HLB Sheehan Quinn, we have carried out an in-depth piece of research, in conducting our fourth consecutive annual report on veterinary practices throughout Ireland.

We have over 40 years’ experience in servicing the veterinary sector and have a unique understanding of the current challenges and opportunities posed within this sector.

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a higher turnover for almost half of Irish veterinary practices last year with an increase in pet ownership levels contributing to greater demand for services.

With vets continuing to work long hours, achieving better work/life balance continues to be the top aspiration of both practice owners and their employees.

With increased growth in the veterinary sector, there is a strong trend with over a third of veterinary practice owner respondents planning to sell their practice within the next three years.

Once again, we hope you find this year’s report an interesting and insightful read.

Key Findings

Almost half (47%) of survey respondents said their turnover increased in 2020, partly due to an influx of new pet owners and people working from home having more time to interact with their pets during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

“We are much busier, registering 4/6 new puppies every day,”

commented one respondent.

Achieving better work/life balance is the top aspiration of 60% of veterinary practice owners and 85% of employees with many of our survey respondents reporting that their workload increased during 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic

43% work more than 50 hours a week and almost 1 in 4 (23%) are putting in more than 60 hours a week. Those working the longest hours tend to be practice owners

Staffing issues are the top challenge facing veterinary practices and most respondents (63%) plan to recruit additional vets or veterinary nurses in the next 12 months.

“From a recruitment perspective, early 2020 continued the trend experienced throughout 2019 - a general shortage of both veterinarians and veterinary nurses in the market.”

Commented Gordon Stewart, VetJobs.ie

The number of incorporated practices is up by 12% when compared to last year. While the majority of practices remain unincorporated (60%) of those surveyed indicate that they would consider incorporating their business.

With regard to corporate activity, more than 20 practices have been purchased by the corporates operating in Ireland. Feedback is positive and there is no indication that the practice of veterinary medicine has been negatively impacted.

IMPACT OF COVID 19

Almost half (47%) of survey respondents said their turnover increased in 2020, partly due to an influx of new pet owners and people working from home having more time to interact with their pets during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

“We are much busier, registering 4/6 new puppies every day,”

commented one respondent.

WORK/LIFE BALANCE

Achieving better work/life balance is the top aspiration of 60% of veterinary practice owners and 85% of employees with many of our survey respondents reporting that their workload increased during 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic

43% work more than 50 hours a week and almost 1 in 4 (23%) are putting in more than 60 hours a week. Those working the longest hours tend to be practice owners

TALENT

Staffing issues are the top challenge facing veterinary practices and most respondents (63%) plan to recruit additional vets or veterinary nurses in the next 12 months.

“From a recruitment perspective, early 2020 continued the trend experienced throughout 2019 - a general shortage of both veterinarians and veterinary nurses in the market.”

Commented Gordon Stewart, VetJobs.ie

INCORPORATION

The number of incorporated practices is up by 12% when compared to last year. While the majority of practices remain unincorporated (60%) of those surveyed indicate that they would consider incorporating their business.

CORPORATE ACTIVITY

With regard to corporate activity, more than 20 practices have been purchased by the corporates operating in Ireland. Feedback is positive and there is no indication that the practice of veterinary medicine has been negatively impacted.

Our Experts

Mark Butler

Managing Partner

E: mbutler@hlbsq.ie

“Like many businesses across Ireland, veterinary practices had to find new ways of working in 2020 to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who fared best adapted their working practices, finding ways to overcome difficulties and take advantage of emerging opportunities like the influx of new pet owners. By focusing on areas like practice management, digital marketing, practice culture, and profitability, practices can identify the steps they need to take to optimise their business.

Our research shows that more than a third of veterinary practice owner respondents plan to sell their business within the next three years. As part of their due diligence, potential buyers will examine a practice’s financial track record. Obtaining advice well in advance of any transaction will give practice owners time to identify and address potential problems and ways to enhance value. Look for experts with experience in the sector as traditional valuation methods do not suit veterinary practices.”

Download our Veterinary Practice Survey Report

If you have questions or would like to discuss the findings in more detail, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Download the report

Send Us A Message

Thank you for your submission.

Error while submitting the form. Please try again.