Americans will spend $70 billion on pet care in 2017, and about 25 percent of that will be spent on veterinary care. Interestingly, four of the top 10 U.S. cities where people spend the most on pet care are in Arizona – Phoenix (10th), Chandler (4th), Tucson (3rd) and Scottsdale (1st).
If you’re running a veterinary business, clearly Arizona is a good place to be. But wherever you have a strong consumer market you also need a strong banking relationship -- with a banker who knows you, your business and your industry.
As a veterinarian, how can you be sure you’re teaming with a bank that truly “gets it?”
Five Questions Arizona Veterinarians Should Ask Their Banker
Are your services oriented to the specific needs of my practice?
A bank that’s serious about an industry will offer specialized services that appeal to industry practitioners. So first off, determine how well your bank understands the business of veterinary medicine. Ask if your bank’s board members include a veterinarian or related specialist. If so, they’ll have specialized industry knowledge. They’ll also be able to advise on efficient and secure methods to process payments and get faster turnaround on competitively priced equipment loans. How well equipped is your bank to help with matters like these?
Will I have an account manager who knows me and understands my industry?
A banker who knows you and follows the veterinary industry is better able to advise on trends impacting your business. By knowing what factors are key to making your practice successful, he or she can advocate for new bank offerings that can improve your practice’s performance, or more effectively champion your loan request to the credit committee. Seek out a banker who is as knowledgeable and passionate about veterinary medicine as you are.
How can your bank’s services make my practice more efficient?
Efficiency and cost-control are crucial contributors to a veterinary practice’s profitability. How much time does your office manager or bookkeeper spend reconciling merchant card payments? Payroll? Depositing checks? Reviewing credit card statements? New technologies to improve efficiencies in these and other areas emerge every year. Has your banker suggested ways to make banking more efficient for you?
Can your bank help me implement controls to curb fraud?
Many veterinary practices have been victims of fraud by staff. Practices can lack internal pricing controls on such things as fee schedules (discounts) which reduces profitability. Your banker can’t improve all your internal controls (such as inventory management), but a good bank can help improve controls over payment processing and financial management reporting. Make sure you’re partnering with a bank that helps you take advantage of these controls.
What is the process for obtaining credit and when do I really need it?
Is your bank’s credit process clear? Most banks have streamlined processing for small business loans to require minimum documentation for faster turnaround. Often small bank loans are priced better than non-bank loans. It’s worth asking your banker about competitive rates and terms before financing equipment through a vendor; a five-minute conversation could lead to lower interest and fees, which means more profitability for your practice.
The Bottom Line
Every industry has unique banking needs, and the veterinary industry is no exception. To learn more about how Alliance Bank of Arizona can contribute to your veterinary practice’s success, contact Alliance Bank of Arizona today.