As with any new investment or business opportunity, there are always legal implications to be aware of. Purchasing a veterinary practice is no exception to this rule. Here are four of the biggest legal questions you need to answer before you make your first offer on a practice.
1. Hiring an Attorney
Before you can discuss any of the intricate details of purchasing and running a practice, you must first ensure that you have hired the best help you can get. Skimping on a professional transition expert is a surefire way to end up with poor advice. The problem is that you may make it through the deal, but you won't know what you left on the table. Moreover, you may not be able to hire the right help by the time you've realized that something is wrong.
2. Who Owns the Practice and Who Owns the Real Estate?
Depending on how you are structuring your deal, you may need to consult both a transition expert and a real estate professional. They will be able to guide you towards the best possible scenario for managing any real estate that you are purchasing or leasing. Understanding your rights as owner of the practice is a whole other topic. You need to be certain that you have rights to make management decisions, and that you will later be able to sell your practice to another buyer or associate.
3. Non-Competes and Confidentiality Agreements
Keeping your staff happy is vital to making the transition to new ownership flow smoothly. You should be sure that the seller has already done some legwork for you by obtaining non-competes and confidentiality agreements from their team members. This will ensure that you take over a practice that is well-staffed without seeing a sudden exodus after you close.
4. Supplementary Information
Once you take control of the practice, you are going to want to have access to the information that made the business run smoothly before you arrived. This includes any contracts that may be open with outside vendors and a complete employee handbook that outlines expectations and guidelines.
All of these pieces make up the total legal picture of the practice in question. You must be vigilant to ensure you are on the right side of the law and that you are protected in case anything unexpected happens.