10 legal challenges when growing your veterinary practice

Veterinary practice

Are you an ambitious veterinary practice owner? Scaling a practice can lead to increased profits, market reach, and operational efficiency, but it also entails higher costs, potential loss of control, and the challenge of greater legal obligations.

10 key strategies to ensure your veterinary practice expansion is legally compliant

  1. Due diligence is imperative

Due diligence when scaling a business is critical as it allows you to thoroughly assess opportunities, risks, and potential pitfalls before committing resources. It helps in uncovering crucial information about markets, competitors, regulatory compliance, and financial health, enabling informed decision-making and minimising unexpected setbacks during the expansion process.

  1. Secure your financials

When considering funding expansion, evaluate various sources such as profits, loans, or investments, weighing their pros and cons in terms of interest rates, control, and repayment terms. Assess your business’s financial health and projections to determine the amount needed, ensuring the chosen funding aligns with your growth goals while maintaining financial stability.

Additionally, explore alternative financing options or government grants that might offer favourable terms or support specific aspects of your expansion plans.

  1. Review regulatory compliance

Veterinary practices must comply with regulations set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), which includes maintaining professional standards, adhering to the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct, ensuring veterinary surgeons are registered with the RCVS, and following guidelines on practice standards, animal welfare, and ethical conduct. Additionally, veterinary practices must adhere to various other regulations concerning animal welfare, medication handling, waste disposal, and health and safety standards.

  1. Employment laws

Expanding a practice requires understanding and complying with employment laws, ensuring fair and legal practices when hiring new employees and managing existing staff. Address considerations such as drafting clear employment contracts, understanding regulations, and implementing fair and non-discriminatory hiring practices to avoid legal issues and foster a positive work environment conducive to growth.

Additionally, staying updated on evolving employment laws and seeking legal advice when creating policies or dealing with HR matters can mitigate potential legal risks during expansion.

  1. Protect your brand

When growing a practice, protecting your brand involves trademarking the name and logo to safeguard against potential infringement or misuse. Consistent branding across expansions ensures brand recognition and loyalty, while actively monitoring and addressing any unauthorised use or infringement protects the brand’s integrity and market position, preserving its value amidst growth.

  1. Liability protection

A practice owner should consider various types of insurance, such as general liability, property, and professional liability insurance, to protect against different risks. General liability covers third-party injuries or property damage, property insurance safeguards physical assets, while professional liability protects against claims of negligence in the services provided.

  1. Draft clear partnership or shareholders’ agreements

If expansion involves taking on new partners or shareholders, have a clear agreement in place. This will define roles, responsibilities, profit-sharing, decision-making, exit clauses, and ultimately avoid disputes.

  1. Stay updated

Laws and regulations change. Stay updated on any legal changes in the veterinary field and adjust your practices accordingly. Join regional veterinary associations and consider subscribing to legal bulletins relevant to the industry.

  1. Establish robust client contracts

A veterinary practice typically requires legal documents such as employment contracts for staff, client service agreements outlining services and payment terms, and regulatory compliance documentation ensuring adherence to veterinary standards set by the RCVS and health and safety.

Additionally, leases or property agreements for practice premises, consent forms for treatment or surgeries, and website terms and conditions might also be necessary.

  1. Seek expertise

Lastly, never underestimate the value of a good lawyer and accountant with expertise in the veterinary field. They can guide, advise, and ensure all legalities and financials are addressed, letting you focus on what you do best—providing excellent veterinary care.


For expert advice on growing your practice please get in touch:

0117 435 4350 | info@rubric.law

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