Starting Your Veterinary Practice in Michigan: Legal Essentials You Must Know

If you are interested in opening a veterinary practice in the state of Michigan, you must make sure that you comply with your state’s legal requirements. Fortunately, however, you don’t need to be a legal expert to open your own practice. By hiring a knowledgeable veterinary lawyer, you can ensure that your new veterinary practice meets all of Michigan’s legal requirements. Specifically, your Michigan veterinary attorney will complete all required paperwork, filings, and contracts. For information on starting your own veterinary practice in Michigan, please contact the experienced veterinary attorneys at Mahan Law. 

I. Questions to Ask Yourself 

Starting your own veterinary practice is a major undertaking. So, before jumping into practice ownership, you should understand your goals and motivations for starting a practice. An excellent way to determine this is to ask yourself the following questions before you start the process: 

  • What are the reasons for wanting to open my own veterinary practice?
  • Where do I want to open my practice?
  • How large will my staff be?
  • What types of veterinary services will I offer? 
  • What can I do to make my practice successful? 

Answering questions like these will not only help you clarify your goals and motivations, but it can also help you identify the legal steps you must take to accomplish these goals. For additional information on the steps necessary to start a veterinary practice, please contact a veterinary practice lawyer.

II. Legal Requirements

After taking the steps above, you can begin the legal process of starting your practice. Although there are a number of valid ways to start a new veterinary practice, the basic legal steps are relatively uniform. For a complete list of the legal steps necessary to start a veterinary practice in Michigan, please contact an experienced veterinary lawyer. 

A. Structure Your Business

Before doing anything else, you should register your new veterinary practice as a legal business entity. Choosing the appropriate business structure can help protect you by ensuring that you and your personal property are legally separate from your new practice. This helps ensure that you won’t be held personally liable for legal judgements against your practice. To register your veterinary practice in Michigan as a legal entity, you must comply with multiple legal requirements, making it imperative to seek the assistance of an experienced Michigan veterinary lawyer.  

Depending on your chosen business structure, you will likely be required to register with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. To get started, visit their website here

B. Create Tax Accounts 

Next, you must register to pay taxes. The first step in this process is to apply for a federal Employer Identification Number on the IRS’s website here. Next, you must address your new practice’s small business taxes. Depending on the business structure you choose for your practice, you will have several different options for meeting your tax obligations. For information on how to pay your state taxes in Michigan, click here

C. Create Business Accounts

Another key step when starting a new veterinary practice is establishing financial accounts for your practice. This is important for several reasons. For one, creating business accounts will protect your personal assets and property. Next, doing so may allow you to obtain financing in the name of your practice. Finally, by separating your personal and business assets, you can make it easier to keep track of your finances and file taxes. For assistance with these issues, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of a financial professional.

D. Apply for Licenses and Permits

Finally, opening a new veterinary practice will require you to obtain several licenses and permits. Common permits and licenses that are required to open a veterinary practice include: 

  • State and local veterinary board certification
  • General business license
  • Zoning permit
  • Fire alarm permit
  • Sales tax on goods and services
  • OSHA requirements
  • Certificate of occupancy 
  • X-ray permit

Information on the permitting and licensing requirements in your local area may be obtained by contacting the appropriate local agencies. For additional information, please visit the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ website here.

E. Contact a Michigan Veterinary Attorney Today

Finally, if you would like to open your own veterinary practice in Michigan, you should contact an experienced veterinary attorney as soon as possible for assistance. Although the above information provides a great starting point for opening a veterinary practice in Michigan, it is not a substitute for an experienced Michigan veterinary attorney. Fortunately, at Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary legal professionals know what it takes to get a veterinary practice up and running. In addition to ensuring that you comply with all legal requirements, we will provide you with legal guidance on the regulations, rules, and requirements that apply to your local area. Please contact us to arrange an initial meeting with one of our experienced veterinary lawyers.

Protecting Your Veterinary Business: Trademarks and Intellectual Property

Just like other businesses, veterinary practices must take steps to ensure that their trademarks and intellectual property are protected. Unfortunately, however, many veterinary practice owners overlook this key issue. Failing to protect your intellectual property as a veterinary practice owner can place you at a major disadvantage in the marketplace. Therefore, it’s imperative that you work with an experienced veterinary practice attorney to protect your property. In this article, we discuss how to protect your intellectual property as a veterinary practice owner. 

What is Intellectual Property? 

Intellectual property is any work or product that is a result of a person’s original thought. As a business owner, it’s important to take steps to protect your intellectual property to keep other businesses from using it. Examples of intellectual property include:

  • Business names
  • Website content
  • Inventions
  • Artwork
  • Designs
  • Manuscripts
  • Articles
  • Product names 

Steps to Protecting Your Intellectual Property

As a veterinary practice owner, you should take steps to protect your business’s intellectual property. By following the steps below, you lower the odds of having to deal with the theft of your intellectual property. 

(1) Keep Your Trade Secrets and Business Ideas a Secret

Until you have taken the legal steps necessary to protect your intellectual property, you should avoid discussing it with others or publicly disclosing it. Any time you discuss confidential information about your business with others, you risk it being stolen. And if you are working with business partners, you should seek the assistance of an attorney to help you draft non-disclosure agreements.

(2) Document Your Original Content and Ideas

Any time you come up with original ideas and content related to your practice, you should document them. Plans, records, descriptions, and detailed drawings are examples of the types of documentation that can help protect your intellectual property. Such proof can be helpful if someone challenges you as the owner of your copyrights and trademarks. 

(3) Apply for a Trademark

Once you’ve chosen a name and logo for your veterinary practice, you should register them immediately. A memorable trademark that is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office will give you a significant advantage over your competitors.

(4) Register Your Intellectual Property, Creative Works, and Trade Secrets

Finally, in addition to your trademarks, you should work with an experienced veterinary attorney to register the remainder of your assets. When doing so, you should write down all the details of your intellectual property in order to register and distinguish it from similar existing ideas. 

Contact Our Experienced Nationwide Veterinary Lawyers 

As a veterinary practice owner, it’s important to protect your intellectual property. For assistance with protecting your veterinary practice’s intellectual property, you should contact an experienced veterinary lawyer. At Mahan Law, our experienced and knowledgeable veterinary professionals are here to help you take the legal steps necessary to ensure that your intellectual property remains protected. Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation with a talented veterinary attorney.

Navigating Regulations: A Legal Guide for Veterinary Startups

Starting a veterinary practice can be exciting, personally fulfilling, and highly lucrative. However, failing to comply with legal requirements can put a halt to your practice before it has a chance to get off the ground. Therefore, when starting a new veterinary practice, it’s imperative to consult with an experienced veterinary attorney. A veterinary attorney will work with you to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations, giving you the freedom to focus on what is most important—the health of your clients. In this article, we discuss some important considerations for veterinary startups.  

Options for Starting a Veterinary Practice

Although there are several ways to start a veterinary practice, the most common ones are as follows:

Purchase an existing practice: The most common way to start a new practice is to purchase an existing veterinary practice. This can be a great option, especially if the existing practice comes with an existing staff and customers. However, to pursue this option, you must accurately value the practice and negotiate a fair price. Fortunately, an experienced veterinary attorney can help ensure an accurate valuation and smooth transaction. 

Join a veterinary corporation: Another option for starting your own veterinary practice is to join a veterinary corporation. Veterinary corporations provide practices with multiple benefits, such as access to capital, marketing assistance, and back-office support. This is a good option for veterinarians who lack the resources to buy an existing veterinary practice. In this type of arrangement, veterinary corporation directors, officers, and shareholders are required to follow specific legal guidelines and share profits with the veterinary corporation, which makes it imperative to seek the assistance of an experienced veterinary attorney when pursuing this option. 

Build a new practice: A third option for starting a veterinary practice is to build one from scratch. Although this option can be risky, it can also be highly rewarding. To successfully pursue this option, you should work with a knowledgeable attorney to research practices in your area, secure financing, draft a business plan, hire staff, and promote your practice. 

Key Legal Considerations

There is a litany of legal requirements for veterinary startups, making it necessary to seek legal guidance when opening your own practice. One area with extensive legal requirements is permitting. All veterinary practices must comply with state permitting and registration requirements. Key permitting requirements include: 

  • Registration with the Secretary of State 
  • Issuance of a federal tax ID number
  • Issuance of a state tax ID number
  • Registration with the Department of Labor
  • Issuance of a sales tax license

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

Due to the multiple legal requirements for starting a new veterinary practice, you should seek legal guidance for assistance with the process. At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary lawyers understand what it takes to get your veterinary practice up and running. So, when you come to us for assistance, we will ensure that you comply with the legal steps required to get your practice off the ground. Please contact us to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced veterinary lawyers.

Insurance for Veterinarians: Legal Insights for Coverage

There are many steps you can take to protect your livelihood as a veterinarian. One of the most important things you can do to ensure that you and your business remain protected is purchase insurance. There are many types of insurance available to veterinarians. Often, to ensure maximum protection, several policies are necessary. In this article, we discuss insurance for veterinarians. 

License Defense 

It’s important to take every precaution necessary when it comes to your veterinary license. Unfortunately, there are many events that can place your license in jeopardy. Depending on the state you live in, disciplinary measures may include suspension, fines, or even revocation. So, when an event arises that places your license in danger, it is important for you to mount a strong defense against state licensing board complaints. This is where license defense insurance is important. License defense insurance will cover your legal expenses in defense of complaints against you that are brought by your state licensing board. The coverage is sometimes included in professional liability insurance, which is discussed below. 

Professional Liability 

This type of insurance protects veterinarians against work-related negligence allegations. The three primary types of professional liability insurance policies are as follows:  

Individual policy: An individual professional insurance policy provides protection to a single party. 

Group policy: A group policy names an entire veterinary practice as the insured party. This type of veterinary insurance policy typically covers the entire practice and all of its employees and veterinarians. When this type of policy is in place, individual policies aren’t necessary. 

Business policy: This type of policy is like a group policy, but professional liability, license defense, and animal bailee coverages are included.

Animal Bailee 

Animal bailee insurance is designed to protect a veterinary practice if an animal dies or is injured while in its care, custody, or control. This kind of insurance coverage is typically subject to a deductible. Common types of animal bailee policies include: 

Individual policy: This type of policy is usually offered as an optional third component for solo veterinarians after professional liability coverage and license defense.

Group policy: A group policy is like the individual coverage discussed above, but it is applicable to the whole practice. 

Business: A business policy is often incorporated into an overall commercial property and liability policy. Examples of events in which this type of insurance policy may apply include:  

  • A fire
  • A natural disaster
  • An issue involving a fenced area, cage, or corral
  • A fight between two or more animals
  • An animal escape

Contact Our Experienced Nationwide Veterinary Attorneys 

If you need veterinary legal assistance of any kind, Mahan Law is on your side. At Mahan Law, our distinguished veterinary team understands what it takes to protect you and your veterinary practice. When you come to us for assistance, we will address the unique needs of your practice in a manner that is legally valid and efficient. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable veterinary lawyers.

Starting Your Veterinary Practice in Texas: Legal Essentials You Must Know

If you are interested in opening a veterinary practice in Texas, you must ensure that you comply with all legal requirements. Fortunately, an experienced veterinary attorney can ensure that your new practice is legally compliant and poised for success. When you hire a veterinary practice attorney, he or she will work with you to complete all necessary paperwork, filings, and agreements. In this article, we discuss some of the legal essentials you must know to start a veterinary practice in Texas.  

Choose a Legal Structure

Before doing anything else, you should register a legal business entity. Choosing the right entity will ensure that you and your property remain legally separate from your practice. This is important because it ensures that you won’t be personally liable for judgments against your practice. To register your practice, you must comply with all local and federal requirements, which is yet another reason to work with an experienced attorney when getting your new practice off the ground. 

Register for Taxes 

Before opening your veterinary practice for business, you must register for a variety of state and federal taxes. First, you must apply for an Employer Identification Number. This can be accomplished for free through the IRS website. Next, you must account for small business taxes. Depending on the business structure you decide on, you will have different taxation options.

Establish Business Accounts

Next, you should establish dedicated credit and banking accounts for your business. There are several reasons for this. First, this will protect your personal assets. Second, when you have good business credit, you can obtain financing in the name of your business. Finally, separating your personal assets from your business assets makes tax filing and accounting much easier. 

Establish an Accounting Process

Regarding taxes and finances, it’s important that you establish a solid accounting process for your business. Recording your income sources and business expenses is crucial to understanding your practice’s financial performance. There are several useful software accounting tools available for small businesses. In addition, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced accountant or bookkeeper to ensure that your practice’s finances are in order. 

Obtain the Proper Permits

When starting a new business of any kind, you must obtain the necessary licenses and permits in your area. For a veterinary practice, these will likely include the following:

  • Local and state veterinary board certification
  • Sales tax on services or goods
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements
  • Certificate of Occupancy 

Contact Our Experienced Texas Veterinary Attorneys 

If you are seeking to start a veterinary practice in Texas, Mahan Law is here to help. At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary professionals know what it takes to successfully get a veterinary practice off the ground. Therefore, when you come to us for help, we will ensure the legal validity of all steps necessary to launch your practice. Please contact us as soon as possible to arrange an initial meeting with one of our experienced veterinary lawyers.

Handling Disputes: The Importance of Clear Veterinary Contracts

All well-run businesses rely on contracts, and veterinary clinics are no exception. Veterinary clinics rely on many types of contractual relationships, including employment contracts, leases, and contracts with clients. As a rule, it is important to strive for clarity when drafting business contracts. Although there are several reasons for this, the primary reason is that clear contracts ensure that all parties involved understand their contractual obligations. Contracts that are unclear, however, are more likely to lead to legal disputes. In this article, we examine the importance of clear veterinary contracts. 

Basic Contract Requirements and Remedies

Before examining the importance of clear veterinary contracts, it is helpful to understand the elements of a valid contract. The basic elements of a legally enforceable contract are: 

  • Mutual assent of the parties, which is expressed by a valid offer and acceptance; 
  • Adequate consideration, which means that each party offers something of value to the other; 
  • Capacity, which means that the parties are each legally capable of entering a contractual agreement; and 
  • Legality, which means that the subject of the contract is permissible under the law.

When parties fail to fulfill their contractual obligations, possible remedies include:

  • General damages;
  • Consequential damages;
  • Reliance damages; and 
  • Specific performance.  

Benefits of Clear Veterinary Contracts

As noted above, clear veterinary contracts are imperative in the veterinary industry. There are several benefits to drafting clear veterinary contracts, including: 

Reducing confusion: Contractual uncertainty can take a toll on business relations and lead to litigation. Clarity, on the other hand, can help reduce confusion and possible legal action.

Building trust: Clear, well-drafted contracts can help cultivate an atmosphere of trust between contracting parties. However, when terms are ambiguous, the parties are less likely to trust one another.  

Clear expectations: Clear and concise contractual language can help provide the contracting parties with a clear understanding of their respective responsibilities and expectations.

New opportunities: Finally, in some situations, potential clients or other parties may be reluctant to enter into contracts that lack clarity. On the other hand, new business partners, employees, customers, and others are much more likely to enter contracts that are clear and understandable. 

Importance of Hiring a Veterinary Contract Attorney to Draft Contracts 

Given the importance of drafting clear veterinary contracts, it’s imperative that you seek the assistance of a veterinary contract attorney for all contractual matters. Without an experienced veterinary contract attorney on your side, your odds of making mistakes increase drastically. Mistakes made during the contracting process can lead to legal disputes down the road. When you hire an experienced veterinary attorney, however, he or she will draft a veterinary contract that addresses your unique needs, helping you to avoid lengthy and expensive litigation in the process. 

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Contract Attorney 

At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary contract attorneys are here to help you draft and execute clear contracts for your veterinary practice. When you come to us for help, we will take the steps necessary to fulfill your practice’s contractual needs. Please contact us today to schedule an initial meeting with an experienced veterinary contract attorney.

Hiring and Onboarding Staff: Legal Best Practices for New Veterinary Practices

As a veterinarian, your employees are your practice’s greatest asset. Without a strong team around you, your practice is unlikely to thrive. Therefore, to ensure the protection of you, your practice, your employees, and your customers, you must ensure that you have a comprehensive and legally sound hiring and onboarding process. In this article, we discuss the best legal practices for hiring and onboarding veterinary staff. 

Comply with Employment Laws 

All businesses with employees must ensure compliance with relevant employment laws—and veterinary practices are no exception. However, employment law is complicated. With countless state and federal employment laws that apply to veterinary practices, ensuring compliance can be difficult—if not impossible—for non-attorneys. Therefore, to ensure compliance with all federal and state hiring requirements, it is imperative that you work with an experienced veterinary business law attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will help you establish a legally sound hiring process that will afford maximum protection to you and your employees. 

Create Fair and Clear Employment Contracts

Next, when hiring new employees for your veterinary practice, it’s imperative that you draft clear and fair employment contracts. However, to be legally enforceable, each contract must comply with all applicable federal and state laws. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced veterinary business law attorney for all contractual matters. Although every contract is different, some common veterinary contract provisions include: 

Term: The term is the time period during which the contract is effective. 

Duties: Veterinary employment contracts should clearly outline the requirements of the position.

Schedule and compensation: Veterinary employment contracts should also detail the number of required work hours in a given time frame and the position’s compensation and benefits. 

Termination: Finally, veterinary employment contracts should outline the ways in which the employment contract may be terminated. In addition, each agreement should indicate whether there is a time frame for notice if the employee or employer decides to end the professional relationship. 

Implement Employment Policies and Procedures

Without a set of employment policies and procedures in place, your employees will be left to guess as to how to meet your professional expectations. Not only can this hurt the overall effectiveness of your practice, but it can lead to legal disputes down the road. Therefore, as a veterinary practice owner, it is imperative that you implement clear employment policies and procedures for your veterinary practice. When it comes to drafting policies and procedures for your employees, the more clarity you can provide about what you expect of them, the better. 

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Business Law Attorney 

At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary business law attorneys are here to help you address the legal needs of your veterinary practice. Regardless of your specific needs or circumstances, our experienced veterinary team has the knowledge and experience to take the steps necessary to protect your practice. Please contact us to arrange an initial consultation with an experienced veterinary business law attorney.

Financing Your Veterinary Clinic: Legal Considerations and Options

Many veterinarians dream of owning their own clinic. There are many advantages to owning a veterinary clinic, including professional autonomy, financial gain, and personal freedom. However, most people don’t have the funds available to start a veterinary clinic. Therefore, in most cases, outside financing is required. In this article, we discuss some options for financing your veterinary clinic. 

Self-Financing

As discussed above, self-financing isn’t an option for most people. Unfortunately, high upfront costs make it extremely difficult for most people to finance a veterinary practice. However, this is a great option for those with the means to pursue it. The advantages of self-financing include:

  • No debt obligations
  • Increased control
  • Reduced risk
  • No interest costs

SBA 7(a) Loan

The SBA 7(a) loan, which is offered by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), provides financial assistance to small businesses with various financing needs, including business expansion, working capital, debt refinancing, startup capital, and equipment and inventory.

SBA 7(a) loans are provided through a network of approved lenders, such as credit unions and banks. In addition, the SBA guarantees a part of the loan, which reduces the risk taken on by lenders and makes it easier for small businesses to qualify. The advantages of SBA 7(a) loans include:

  • Flexible terms
  • Competitive rates
  • Low down payments

Bank Loan

Another option for financing a veterinary practice is a bank loan. In fact, some banks offer loans that are specifically geared towards starting or purchasing veterinary practices. The rates and terms for bank loans tend to be higher than SBA loans, but this varies based on several factors, such as the lender and the financial position of the applicant. In addition, banks often look favorably on veterinary borrowers because veterinary practices tend to be stable businesses. There are several advantages to using a bank loan to fund a veterinary practice, including:

  • Flexible terms
  • Competitive rates
  • Loan customization 

Partnership

Finally, a veterinary practice partnership is a business arrangement in which two or more veterinarians join together to open, own, and operate a veterinary practice. A partnership can take many forms, and the legal structure and terms are dependent upon the preferences and needs of the partners. Although this isn’t actually a financing option, starting a partnership can make it easier to secure funding. However, successful partnerships require mutual trust, a shared commitment to the practice, and shared goals. Therefore, it’s important that all partners be on the same page before moving forward with this option. Advantages of entering a partnership to start a veterinary practice include: 

  • Ease of financing
  • Capital access
  • Shared risk

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Lawyers 

These are just a handful of the financing options for starting a veterinary practice. For a complete list of options that may work for you, you should contact an experienced veterinary lawyer. At Mahan Law, our veterinary professionals will evaluate your needs and formulate a financing strategy that gives you and your practice the greatest chance of success. Please contact us today to arrange a consultation with a talented veterinary attorney.

Exit Strategies for Veterinarians: Legal Planning for the Future

Building a successful veterinary clinic takes years of hard work. However, when the time comes to move on, it’s important to understand your options. As a veterinary practice owner, the correct exit strategy can ensure a healthy profit and smooth transition to retirement or your next business venture. On the other hand, the wrong exit strategy can bring your plans to a screeching halt. In this article, we discuss exit strategies for veterinarians.  

What is an Exit Strategy?

An exit strategy is a strategic plan for selling one’s ownership in a veterinary clinic to a person or organization. For a successful practice, a sale can be highly profitable. And for a practice that has experienced difficulties, the right exit strategy can help to limit losses. So, whether your practice is profitable or not, choosing the correct exit strategy is imperative. 

Common Types of Exit Strategies

The exit strategy you choose will depend on your specific circumstances. The most common types of exit strategies are mergers and acquisitions and sales to private individuals. 

Merger and acquisition: An option to consider when exiting your practice is to sell it to a corporation or merge it with another clinic. When merging with a corporate practice, it will likely have its own centralized management system, meaning that your practice will be required to adapt to that practice’s operating procedures and culture.  

Sale to an individual: Another common type of exit strategy is a sale to a private party. This option is often preferable for an owner who wants to retain the cultural values of his or her practice following the sale. In addition, private sales are sometimes made to investors who are primarily interested in the operational aspects of a practice and wish to scale it. Also, veterinary practice owners sometimes sell their practices to other veterinarians. 

The Importance of an Exit Strategy 

As a veterinary practice owner, determining when and how to exit is an important decision, especially considering all the time and effort you’ve put into growing your veterinary practice. Not only can the correct exit strategy help secure your financial future, but it can ensure that the values of your practice continue long after you’re gone. Therefore, regardless of your reason for exiting your veterinary practice, you shouldn’t leave the results of your exit to chance. Instead, you should contact an experienced veterinary attorney to ensure that you are fully aware of your exit options. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

If you are seeking to exit your veterinary practice, you need an experienced and knowledgeable veterinary lawyer on your side. At Mahan Law, our distinguished veterinary professionals understand the steps necessary to successfully exit a veterinary practice. When you come to us for help, we will help formulate an exit strategy that aligns with your personal and financial goals. If you are ready to begin the process, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced veterinary attorneys.