Defining Your Trading Area

Like real estate value, a veterinary practice’s success and value is highly dependent on location, location, location. 

Where you decide to locate your practice is a critical decision.  You need to consider the composition of the geographic area that feeds it.   First order of business—determine your trading area, based on the address of the practice.  Ideally, you will go through this exercise before you commit to a location. 

First step, create a radial map around the proposed location address.   Using an online map tool (Google Maps has one), create a quarter-mile and a half- mile radius, a one-mile radius, and a 2-, 3- and 4-mile radius.   Once you have your map and its radial rings, consider:

  • What is the name of the area(s) this location serves?
  • Who are my competitors in this location?
  • What zip codes are in this map and who are the people who live in them?
  • What is the average household profile for my trading area?  For example, are they families or singles?  Young or old? What is the average household income?  Education level?  Affluence level? Rural, suburban or urban?

You can get information on the demographics of an area through the Chamber of Commerce and through the census.  You should create a profile of the typical household who will be your audience.  And based on this audience you can infer many things about the types of pets they will have.

Once you have your trading area formally defined, you can refer to it for decisions on staffing, specialties, areas of focus, and marketing.  (Stay tuned for further blog posts on these topics)!

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