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Author: Shardul Gaikwad

Building a Group Practice Veterinarian Business

According to the most recent information published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), California had 7,770 actively licensed veterinarians as of 2022. For veterinarians, there can be significant commercial advantages to operating as part of a group practice. At the same time, building a successful group veterinary practice is complicated. It is imperative that you have the right structure in place. In this article, our Fremont attorney for starting a business highlights the key things to know about building a group practice for a veterinarian business in California.

Develop a Shared Vision to form a Group Veterinary Practice (Business Plan)

Building a successful group veterinary practice starts with getting all major players on the same page. It is generally a best practice to develop a comprehensive business plan. Among other things, your business plan should outline the goals, operational strategies, and financial projections of your practice. It should also include things like a market analysis—which can be used to identify potential clients, competitors, and commercial risks.

Form Your Veterinarian Business – You Need the Right Legal Structure

The right legal structure is essential for your group veterinary practice. In California, a professional veterinary corporation is generally the most sensible structure for group veterinary practices. It provides liability protection while being taxed as an S-corporation. Notably, there are strict ownership requirements for professional veterinary corporations in our state. It should be owned by a licensed veterinarian. To form a professional veterinary corporation, you will need to file articles of incorporation with the California Secretary of State and draft bylaws.

Ensure Your Business is Properly Registered and in Compliance with Tax Regulations

Once your professional veterinary corporation is formed, it is crucial to register your business and ensure compliance with all business regulations and tax laws. Apply for an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS, which is necessary for tax purposes. California has an annual franchise tax of $800 for all professional corporations. Beyond tax laws, it is also crucial that you ensure that all veterinarians who are part of the group practice are properly licensed.

Find and Lease the Right Commercial Space to Operate Your Veterinary Business

A group veterinary practice in California needs the right commercial space to operate effectively. Finding the right location is a key component to the success of your group practice. Consider factors such as accessibility, parking availability, proximity to a demographic that aligns with your target market, and the potential for growth. As commercial lease negotiations can be complex, you should be ready to consult with a top business start-up attorney.

Contact Our Fremont, CA Business Law Attorney for Veterinarians Today

Lynnette Ariathurai is a top business law attorney with the skills and experience to represent veterinarian businesses. If you have any specific questions or concerns about building a group practice veterinarian business, please contact us today for a fully confidential consultation. With an office in Fremont, we serve veterinary practices throughout the Bay Area.

group vet practice, group veterinary business, veterinary group practice, veterinary practice legal advice

5 Critical Aspects of a Franchise Agreement—What to Know Before You Sign

Franchises are one of the most popular business models in California. According to data from the International Franchise Association (IFA), there are approximately 76,000 franchise businesses operating in the state. The franchise agreement is the foundation of the relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee. As a prospective franchisee, you need to carefully review the terms of the contract. Here, our Fremont business law attorney highlights five critical aspects of a franchise agreement and explains the key things to know before you sign in California.

California Regulates Franchise Agreements—But Contract Language is Still Key

The California Franchise Relations Act (CFRA) is a state law that establishes a regulatory framework for franchise relationships. It was passed, in large part, to establish protections for franchisees. The CFRA aims to foster fair business practices and safeguard the interests of California franchisees. Along with other key issues, the law regulates:

  • Jurisdiction;
  • Termination;
  • Nonrenewal;
  • Transfer of rights;
  • Inventory repurchases;
  • Arbitration clauses; and
  • Venue selection.

While California law provides some important legal protections to franchisees, it is imperative to emphasize that the relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee is still primarily governed by the franchise agreement. You should ensure that your franchise agreement is reviewed by a California business lawyer who has experience representing franchisees.

Note: The California legislature recently passed Assembly Bill 676 (AB 676) into law. It updates both the CFRA and the California Franchise Investment Law (CFIL). The state statute imposes some additional obligations/restrictions on franchisors.

Five Key Things to Look for in a Franchise Agreement in California

  1. The Total Cost (Start-up Investment, Ongoing Costs, etc)

Cost matters. Franchisees in California should consider both the initial investment and ongoing costs. The initial cost—often referred to as the franchise fee,—is the amount payable upfront to gain the right to operate the business. It can vary widely based on the franchise, the industry, and the specific market conditions. Of course, this is just the beginning: A franchisee in California is often also responsible for ongoing costs, such as royalty fees, marketing fees, and other expenses.

  • Grant of Rights (Territorial Protection, Intellectual Property Usage, etc)

The grant of rights outlines the specific rights and restrictions that the California franchisee has under the franchise agreement. Along with other things, this may include territorial rights. These rights dictate where the franchisee can operate and provide protection from encroachment by other franchisees. Beyond that, the franchisor may grant the franchisee the right to use their IP.

  • The Resources that Will Be Provided By the Franchisor

Franchisors often provide a variety of resources to franchisees to aid in their success. These resources may include comprehensive training programs, ongoing support, marketing materials, and access to proprietary systems and technology. The specifics of these resources should be clearly outlined in the California franchise agreement to ensure both parties understand their obligations.

  • Duration—including Renewal Rights and Early Termination Rights

The duration of the franchise agreement defines how long the franchisee has the right to operate the business. This is usually a fixed term, often between 5 and 20 years, but it varies depending on the franchisor. Additionally, the agreement will detail the terms for renewing the contract at the end of the initial term and conditions under which the agreement can be terminated early.

  • Dispute Resolution Provisions

Dispute resolution provisions are integral to any franchise agreement signed in California. They lay out the process for resolving disagreements between the franchisor and franchisee, whether they relate to contract interpretation, operational issues, or financial disputes. These provisions usually stipulate whether disputes will be handled through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation. Many franchise agreements include a mandatory arbitration provision.

Call Our Fremont, CA Franchise Law Attorney Today

Lynnette Ariathurai is a business law attorney with the skills, experience, and expertise to represent franchisees. If you have any questions about the terms or conditions of a franchise agreement, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a confidential, no obligation consultation. With an office in Fremont, we provide franchise law representation throughout the Bay Area.

Franchise agreements, franchise dispute resolution, franchise law, franchise regulations

Office Lease Considerations for Veterinarians

Veterinary medicine is one of our region’s most important industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are nearly 8.000 actively licensed veterinarians in California. A successful veterinary practice needs the right office space. It is imperative that you reach a lease agreement that effectively protects your interests. In this article, our Bay Area business law attorney highlights some key office lease considerations for veterinarians.

Five Key Lease Considerations for Veterinary Practices in California

1.     Total cost (base rent plus any percentage)

The rent for a veterinary lease is not always as straightforward as it may seem. Be sure to consider both the base rent and any additional percentage charges that may apply. Veterinary practices must thoroughly review the lease agreement and understand all costs associated with the property, including common area maintenance fees, property taxes, and any other expenses.

2.     Viability and fit of the office space for your needs

When selecting a location for your veterinary practice, ensure that the office space is suitable for your specific needs. Assess the layout, size, and accessibility of the property to determine if it can accommodate your practice’s services, equipment, clientele, as well as any plans to house animals on-site. Consider any modifications or expansions that may be necessary and whether the space can accommodate them.

3.     Property maintenance, repairs, and improvements

Before signing a lease, commercial tenants must clarify who will be responsible for property maintenance, repairs, and improvements, including things like routine upkeep, addressing structural issues, and making necessary updates to accommodate your practice’s growth. It is a key consideration for veterinary practices in California.

4.     The liability risks

As a veterinary practice owner, it is crucial to understand the liability risks associated with the property you are leasing. Review the lease agreement for any clauses that may expose you to potential legal issues or damages. Ensure that you have the appropriate insurance coverage to protect your practice from potential risks, such as accidents or property damage.

5.     Renewal and/or termination options

When entering into a lease agreement, it’s essential to consider the long-term implications for your veterinary practice. Review the renewal and termination options outlined in the lease. Ensure that the lease terms allow for flexibility should you need to expand, relocate, or downsize your practice.

You Have the Right to Negotiate a Lease: Get it Reviewed by a Lawyer

You have the right to negotiate a lease for your veterinary practice. A well-negotiated lease can significantly impact your practice’s success and protect you from potential legal issues. Before signing any lease agreement, consult an experienced lawyer who specializes in veterinary law. They can review the terms of the lease, identify potential concerns, and suggest modifications that better suit your practice’s needs.

We Provide Business Law Services to Veterinary Practices in the Bay Area

Lynnette Ariathurai is a business law attorney with experience working with veterinary practices. If you have any questions about office lease considerations for veterinarians in California, we are here to help. Call us now or contact us online to set up your confidential initial appointment. From our Fremont law office, we serve veterinary practices throughout the Bay Area.

commercial lease agreements, veterinary office lease, veterinary practice commercial lease

Should You Start or Buy an In Home Health Care Agency?

Are you considering building your own home health care business? It is an important industry that offers major opportunities. Developing your own business is a great way to support yourself, your family, and your community. At the same time, owning a business is a major investment of time and money. One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is if you should buy into an existing business or build one from the group up. Here, our Bay Area home health agency attorney highlights the key things to know about starting or buying a home health care business in California.

Home Health Care is a Complex Industry With High Growth Potential

According to data from AMN Healthcare, the in-home health care industry is expected to grow at a breathtaking pace over the course of the next decade. This rapid expansion is driven by an aging population, increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, and the rising demand for personalized care. More health care agencies will be needed to fill the demand. At the same time, home health care is a complex industry. Major issues—business structure, regulatory compliance, liability concerns, workforce management, etc—can pose significant challenges. Entrepreneurs need the right legal representation. 

Understanding Your Options: Know the Advantages and Disadvantages

If you want to own and operate a home health care agency in the Bay Area, you have three main options. You can buy a business, you can buy-in to a franchise, or you can start your own brand new agency. There are pros and cons to each of these options. The best path forward depends on your situations and your goals. Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages: 

  • Purchasing an Existing Business: Acquiring an established in-home health care agency offers several benefits, such as an existing client base, trained staff, and a proven business model. Beyond that, you can inherit existing licenses and certifications, saving time and effort spent on obtaining them. However, buying an existing business can be expensive. The start-up cost is higher. Another potential downside is you may inherit any outstanding debts or legal issues.
  • Becoming a Franchisee: By joining a reputable franchise, you can benefit from an established brand, marketing support, and a proven business model. As a general rule, the franchisor will provide training, ongoing support, and guidance on regulatory compliance, which can be invaluable for those new to the industry. Most franchises have existing vendor relationships that can save you money on supplies and equipment. However, franchise fees and ongoing royalties can be significant, cutting into your profits. You may also be limited in terms of creativity and decision-making, as the franchisor typically sets operational standards and guidelines.
  • Starting Your Own Agency: Starting your own in-home health care agency allows for maximum control and creative freedom in shaping your business according to your vision. You can create a unique brand identity and implement innovative strategies tailored to your target market. As the business owner, you will retain all profits and have the flexibility to adapt and grow your agency without restrictions. That being said, starting an agency from scratch requires significant effort, time, and resources. Navigating the process of obtaining necessary licenses, certifications, and insurance can be complex and time-consuming.

Contact Our California Business Lawyer for Home Health Care Agencies

Lynnette Ariathurai is a top California business lawyer with specialized experience representing entrepreneurs in the home health industry. If you have questions about starting or buying a home health agency, we can help. Call us now or connect with us online for a confidential consultation. With an office in Fremont, we provide legal representation to businesses throughout the Bay Area.