George Bednar is vice president of sales at NewLane Finance Co. He has worked in the equipment finance industry for over 35 years. Over the past two decades, he has focused on the veterinary market, working with the largest suppliers, manufacturers and distributors of capital equipment to create financial plans that have helped veterinary practices get the equipment they need.Read Articles Written by George Bednar
A veterinarian’s job is to care for pets that can’t communicate what’s wrong or how they feel. Therefore, clinicians rely on ultrasound and digital radiography machines, endoscopy units, chemistry analyzers and other diagnostic tools to give a more holistic view of the situation and help them make informed medical recommendations and decisions.
Many times, however, veterinary practices need to replace their pricy equipment to keep up with technological advances and ensure they are doing right by their patients. Selecting the right equipment can be a burden in terms of time and dollars spent, so finding the right financing partner is important. You’ll want a company that helps you obtain needed equipment and stay within your budget.
Here is what to look for and ask when selecting a financial partner.
Work With Specialists
While several financial institutions service veterinary practices and have relationships with equipment manufacturers, few are industry specialists. Your financial partner should have a firm understanding of the veterinary industry, the equipment that needs financing and how you will use the equipment. If the company exhibits at the top veterinary conferences, you can meet the sales team, ask lots of questions and get a sense of its commitment to the industry. All of this helps ensure that the company will properly advise you when it’s time for you to explore equipment options.
What a Good Partner Delivers
Financial partners well-versed in the industry should be able to:
- Advise you on equipment.
- Tell you the best time to consider an upgrade.
- Correctly forecast industry trends, the competition and your cash flow.
- Use their industry knowledge to offer customized payment plans that align larger purchases and payments with your fluctuating revenue.
Examine the Agreement
Before you sign a financing contract, review it closely. Is the company a direct lender, or will it sell the transaction to another financing source? Is the agreement written in simple terms? Pay close attention to the language. Little use of legal jargon typically means the contract is straightforward.
Lastly, make sure the financing fees are clearly stated. Many times, practice owners are surprised to see high documentation or processing fees or prepayment penalties. By reviewing the contract early in the process, you’ll better understand your potential partner and all the terms and fees. Transparency is key.
Make Sure They Play in the Space
Trusted financial partners typically have years of experience in the industry with both your peers and manufacturers. Ask for references, testimonials and case studies of how the company helped clients. You should feel comfortable reaching out to veterinary practices to learn about their experiences with the company.
What’s also important is to ask about the financing company’s relationships with equipment manufacturers. Have you or your practice worked with those brands, or are you interested in them? If not, consider a partner that works closely with a longer list of brands.
Finding the right financial partner should lead to a trusted, long-term relationship, so it’s best to do your research to ensure the best fit for your business.
When selecting a financial partner, take your time to evaluate every aspect of the company, including its track record and business practices and how it can help grow your business. A partner should not only assist you when asked but also proactively advise you on how to improve your business and increase profits. A financial partner should be on your team and look out for your best interests.