Veterinary buying cooperative now has 500 members

A US-based veterinary co-operative set up two years ago to bring the benefits of bulk buying to smaller practices says members have saved between $US10,000 and $US30,000 annually through discounts and rebates.

The Veterinary Cooperative, started in 2012 by four veterinarians, now has 500 members.

The cooperative aims to level the playing field for independent veterinary hospitals in the face of growing competition from large corporate hospitals, big-box pet retailers and online pharmacies.

The member-owned cooperative negotiates with its vendor partners for exclusive, favorable pricing and rebates on nearly all clinic purchases, including laboratory services, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, hospital equipment, flea and tick products, office products and more.

The cooperative’s vice-president for member experience, Allison Morris, said not all members participated at the same level, but estimated that members’ combined profit had been improved by at least $US3 million to $US7 million since the venture began.

“As the veterinary industry experiences rapid consolidation, independent veterinarians are really feeling the squeeze,” Morris said.

“Independent hospitals and clinics are finally banding together to compete directly with the corporate engines for pricing on veterinary supplies.”

The cooperative has grown quickly since its founding, averaging a new member every business day. It now has members in 44 of the 48 contiguous states. There are no monthly or annual fees, and members buy only the products they want from the suppliers they choose.

Dr Laura Betts, of Parkdale Animal Hospital in Manistee, Michigan, said the cooperative had given the “little guy” buying power.

“I order the same products in the same amounts I always have. On top of the discounts I enjoy every day, I just received my first rebate check – for over $US800.”

In addition to buying power, the cooperative also offers marketing programs, business guidance and online peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and networking.

To mark two years in existence, the cooperative had reduced its lifetime joining fee from $US1000 to $US100 for the next 100 members and is offering a free 30-day trial.

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