How to run a successful vet practice

25 May 2018
Advice on operating a vet clinic
Building a thriving veterinary practice takes skill. Success stems from a deep knowledge of animal health and welfare as well as sound business acumen. To learn more, we asked alumnus Dr Diederik Gelderman for some pointers.
Dr Gelderman with a stethoscope, standing beside a brown horse

Dr Gelderman graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in 1977. Upon completing his studies, he invested in Greenhills Veterinary Hospital - a practice his parents had been attending for years for the treatment of their horse stud.

"It was just an assumption that I'd take over the practice from the previous owner when I graduated. I walked straight out of university and into the practice. When I stepped in, the previous vet retired so I had to learn the ropes on my own. I paid $10,000 to walk in and walk out and $40,000 for the property," said Diederik.

Over a period of six years, Diederik transformed the practice from a one-man operation to a thriving business with over 35 employees. The regional surgery won many awards including the Australian Veterinary Association's Practice of Excellence in 2004.

So how did he do it? Diederik offered five tips for aspiring veterinarians.

Final words of advice from Diederik

"Learning to do surgery takes time, if you don't know something, start from the beginning, get in and have a go. Don't expect to be perfect, get a mentor, set boundaries, take time off, interview the practice you are looking to work for as hard as they interview you and remember to go easy on yourself."

Dr Diederik Gelderman has now published a book, 'Veterinary success secrets revealed'. It is available at all major retailers. If you would like to win a copy, please message us on Facebook @SydneyScience explaining in 25 words or less why you decided to become a vet.