I have seen a trend that is becoming more and more common over the last 15 years and has probably been perpetuated somewhat by magazines like Veterinary Economics. What I have seen, is a trend towards building animal hospitals that don’t just meet your animal’s needs, but instead are unbelievable facilities with granite counter tops. Doggie boutiques have replaced boarding kennels. It really is unbelievable that my dad started an animal hospital in the early 80’s with a $60,000 loan (that is not a misprint, and the monthly payment was $200.) I admit, I like seeing what monstrosities are being built and winning the “hospital of the year” accolades in Veterinary Economics.
Many of these animal hospitals have piped in music throughout. They have boarding facilities that rival four and five star hotels. One of my favorites is a hospital that actually has a real bed (albeit kids bed) and TV for the dogs boarding in that “dog suite”. There is nothing wrong with having all those bells and whistles. Actually, my team and I quite enjoy getting to perform surgery at these amazing animal hospitals. These facilities are definitely something to be proud of!
What does concern me, is whether we, as a profession, have become too caught up in what the hospital looks like (I am not at all talking about cleanliness!) Have we given enough thought to what really matters-the people we hire for the inside? Did you spend as much time making sure your newest team member “fit” into your hospital’s culture as you did picking out which flooring you wanted?
Your team is everything. Along with you, they are the ones who will make your hospital successful or not. You can have the most amazing facility in town, but who you have working on the inside is what keeps your clients coming back. I doubt anyone reading this blog would disagree with me when I say that the right people make all the difference. What are you doing to ensure that the “right” people are coming on board?
Don’t get me wrong, I am sure a beautiful facility does bring in new clients. However, after the first visit, it is the people on your team who will influence whether or not they come back.
What’s your take on this trend to build multi-million dollar hospitals? Is it good or bad for our profession? Does it matter?