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Updated: Jan 22, 2016
Question: What has 14 legs and a bright future?
Answer: Dr. Celina Hatt, her three furry sidekicks, and her two thriving veterinary practices. But it hasn’t always been a walk in the dog park—especially when it came to finding veterinary financing.
Just three years out of veterinary school, Dr. Hatt was working as an associate at a veterinary hospital in Hawaii — and offered the opportunity to purchase the whole practice herself. “I wasn’t planning to own that soon, but it turns out, that’s why I was hired in the first place! I wasn’t sure I was ready, but the owners wanted to sell. So they said, ‘Okay, how about in 6 months?’” For Dr. Hatt, just being a vet ultimately wasn’t enough: she decided she could make a much more fulfilling impact and legacy in her community by actually owning a practice.
Fast forward ten years, and Dr. Hatt’s Hawaiian practice was running as smoothly as her favorite patients at the beach — so much that she decided to leave it in the capable hands of her senior staff and move back to the mainland to open a second practice. That’s where she found Mid-Valley Veterinary Hospital: an old, struggling practice whose clients and operations needed some tender loving care. “I wanted to revive the practice, and help the previous owner retire comfortably.”
Without endless liquidable assets at her disposal, Dr. Hatt went off in search of veterinary financing to make the huge upfront investment in a second location and new equipment. First stop: her bank. As a successful client of her bank’s for over ten years, Dr. Hatt was disappointed when they wanted a larger upfront payment than she could afford and focused more on the previous owner’s financials than what she was capable of. “I just didn’t fit that box they were looking for. I needed to find a lender that actually believed in my ability to be a fruitful entrepreneur.”
As an entrepreneur, she didn’t dwell on the word ‘no’ for very long. Soon enough, Dr. Hatt was able to secure a loan from an online lender, but ultimately wasn’t pleased with the prognosis: it was zero percent down, but had a really high interest rate. “The monthly payments were eating up all my profits, and I was concerned I wasn’t reinvesting enough back into my practice. My credit score was going down, and my debt just wasn’t being serviced fast enough.”
After pausing to review her finances, she switched routes and looked for a lender who would refinance her existing veterinary financing with more digestible terms. With the help of a third party referral partner, Lendeavor, Dr. Hatt finally found the right lender to help her reach her goals. “I liked working with a referral partner, because I could focus on my practice while they did all the homework. I don’t give up easily: that’s how I found Funding Circle.”
Thanks to her experience as the owner of a successful first practice, Dr. Hatt was able to work out refinancing terms with her Funding Circle underwriter that were healthier for her credit score and month-to-month cash flow. “Funding Circle’s process was fast—it just got right to the point. It felt like they had compassion for me as a new business owner and an understanding of my financial needs.”
For Dr. Hatt, the benefits of refinancing were life-saving: with her new veterinary financing terms, she was able to reduce her payments by $4,000 a month. “When I looked for a way to refinance my debt, I was worried I would only have other bad, high-interest options. I didn’t expect to get a great offer and drop my payments by 70 percent. Now I can breathe so much easier.”
By stabilizing her practice’s financial health, Dr. Hatt freed up cash flow for other growth investments: in the next couple of years, she plans to hire 25 more employees and expand her practice to include a doggy playcare, boutique, and grooming services—all under one roof! “Business is booming! My practice is growing 15 percent every month. It was a dead practice when I bought it, and now I am 700 clients strong.”
The wagging tail on top? “If Funding Circle hadn’t helped me buy my second practice, I would never have met my my dogs Ramona, Maverick, and Kipling. It’s really great to be an owner: not just of the practice, but also of my three little guys. It’s nice to have some warm fuzzies to come home to every night.”
Are you looking for veterinary financing to jumpstart your practice? A Funding Circle loan can help. Check your eligibility here today.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.