Veterinary finance experts David Soto and Jimmy Stern discuss their experience in the industry and the progress veterinary hospitals have made with the help of financial technology (fintech).
Provide Regional Directors of Practice Finance David Soto and Jimmy Stern are no strangers to veterinary practice finance, with 10 years in the industry respectively. They sat down and discussed their process of working with veterinarians who are looking to acquire a practice, current fintech, and their most commonly asked questions.
1. Every healthcare provider is unique, but at a high level, can you walk us through the process of working with a doctor to make their veterinary practice ownership dreams come true?
Jimmy: It depends on what the provider wants to do. We offer both practice acquisition and startup loans for first-time veterinary hospital owners. If the provider is interested in purchasing a practice and they don’t have a target practice in mind, we recommend as their first step that they get in contact with a buyer representative in their area to check availability. They can also view available listings via Provide’s practice marketplace. The next call a doctor makes should be to a lender. We can get our providers pre-qualified in two minutes or less.
If a provider is going the startup route, their first step should be to call Provide. Not only do we offer flexible finance products, but we can also align them with industry-specific professionals who can help every step of the way.
“We’re someone they can call, confide in, and speak openly with to achieve their dreams of practice ownership.”
David: Oftentimes, the initial touchpoint Provide has with a doctor is at their respective schools — sometimes at a conference. But a lot of what we do focuses on educating these healthcare providers on what lenders like Provide look for when they have entrepreneurial aspirations. We provide that consultation and level of service to each borrower. We’re someone they can call, confide in, and speak openly with to achieve their dreams of practice ownership.
2. What is unique about Provide’s technology, and how does it make it easier for veterinarians to work with you?
Jimmy: Our technology is the driving factor behind our speed and efficiency throughout the loan process, from applying to closing. Everything is done digitally, with great people behind the scenes and in front of you. Our technology — but more importantly our people — allows for a smooth process from start to finish.
David: Provide’s technology puts the convenience into veterinarians’ hands. A lot of our veterinarians work long hours, so oftentimes they don’t feel as though there are enough hours in the day to do what they need to do for the betterment of their careers and their patients. We offer them autonomy to go through the entire loan process from the comfort of their homes, whether it be via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Our veterinarians no longer need to put their dreams on hold because we’ve created a practice finance solution that is streamlined and truly at their fingertips.
3. At Provide, we talk a lot about partnership. Can you describe how we serve as a partner for veterinarians?
David: We are the embodiment of a collaborative institution. When a veterinarian works with Provide, they’re working with an entire team. They’re working with individuals who are specialists in their own respective niches throughout the entire loan process. That way they have accurate, real-time responses and further peace of mind that we’re doing everything we can to make their practice ownership dreams a reality. With a lot of our clients, this might be their largest investment outside of a home, and we want to make sure we’re attending to their every need and are answering all their questions.
Instead of calling a 1-800 number, our customers call a real person when they have questions. When you receive financing from Provide, you’re always going to have a real-life touchpoint with us.
Jimmy: We’re here every step of the way. We have a lot of experience lending specifically to veterinarians, so we provide more value than just offering the loan. From our small business banking products to the relationships we have in the veterinary industry — we have you covered.
4. The process of acquiring a veterinary hospital can be a little daunting for first-time practice owners. What are some commonly asked questions you receive from veterinarians, and how do you respond to instill confidence?
Will you pull my credit? We do a soft pull of your credit during pre-qualification. We don’t do a hard pull until you’ve committed to the loan. The soft pull does not impact your credit score.
What are your fees? We’re different here, we don’t charge lender fees. For practice purchase loans, some lenders will charge anywhere from $700-$2,000. If that acquisition includes real estate, some lenders charge .5-1% loan origination fees. Some lenders charge $500-$1,200 in startup loan fees — our startup loans also don’t have any fees either. These are instant savings for our veterinarians.
David: We receive a lot of questions, but one of the major ones I receive is:
Can I afford to buy a practice?. One of the unique things we offer at Provide is the opportunity to get pre-qualified within two minutes. This gives us an understanding of our clients’ financial picture and allows us to better educate them on the loan process. Even if someone does not get pre-qualified the first time around, we don’t give up on them. We educate them and come up with a strategy around what they need to improve so they’re better prepared when the next opportunity presents itself. Being honest and open with our providers truly sets us apart. It’s a large reason why veterinarians enjoy working with us and come back to us when they’re ready to open their second, third, and fourth practices.
“Enjoy the experience. This is a very exciting time for you and your loved ones.”
5. Anything else you want doctors who are considering purchasing or starting a veterinary hospital or veterinary clinic to know?
David: First and foremost, the goal is to build a reliable team of professionals to guide you through the process. Find industry experts (your lender, broker, attorney, CPA, etc.) who understand the veterinary world and speak your language. It starts with the lender: someone who’s innovative, different, has experience in your industry, and is forward-thinking. Having this team will help streamline the entire process of reaching your goal of practice ownership. We’re all an extension of you, with one common goal, which is to ensure you’re successful for many years to come.
Jimmy: Don’t hesitate to ask questions throughout the process. Lean on us and your team of professionals for guidance. If this is the first time you’re embarking on this journey, you will need some support. Let us help you. Work with professionals who set the right expectations and deliver on those expectations. Also, enjoy the experience. This is a very exciting time for you and your loved ones.
At Provide, we want to empower you to take each step forward with peace of mind. Ready to start building the practice of your dreams? Visit getprovide.com and pre-qualify in two minutes or less with no impact on your credit score.
This content is for informational purposes and it does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, tax, or investment advice or other professional services by Provide or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, and it is being provided without any warranty whatsoever. Please consult with appropriate professionals related to your individual circumstances.
All lending is subject to review and approval. Provide, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fifth Third Bank, National Association.