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Ep 57: Veterinarian sign-on bonuses are SO HIGH! How can you compete? with Dr. Dave Nicol

Episode Details

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Welcome to another episode of the Veterinary Business Success Show. In this episode, we are joined by none other than Dr. Dave Nicol, CEO of VetX International, to discuss how to compete with the incredibly high sign-on bonuses for veterinarians.

Dr. Dave Nicol is a veterinarian with more than 20 years of experience in general practice and has held several leadership roles within practice and industry. He has written three books, most recently the best-selling, So You’re A Vet…Now What? – a manifesto on how to survive as a veterinarian after graduation.

He founded VetX to help vets connect with their careers and help practice owners create fantastic practices for the vets to work in. He speaks at conferences all over the world to speak about his favorite topic of leadership and generally cheerleading for the veterinary profession, and in 2019 he was voted VMX Practice Manager Speaker of the Year.

In this episode, Dr. Dave addresses the topical veterinary industry concern, “Is it financially stable to offer new doctors a significant amount of signing bonus?”. Dr. Dave and Brendan Howard discuss other aspects of this as well, including inflation, misconceptions about young veterinarians, and the reality behind such huge signing bonuses.

Listen as the expert in the field describes how practice owners can foster a profitable work culture for both themselves and the vets without giving them hefty signing incentives.


  • [01:13] Brendan Howard begins the episode with a short introduction of Dr. Dave Nicol.
  • [01:56] Dr. Dave immediately addresses the hot topic of why veterinarians require hefty signing incentives while bringing up the issue of inflation.
  • [04:00] Like other businesses around the world, how is the veterinary industry changing as a result of inflation?
  • [10:46] Dr. Dave and Brendan Howard talk about how the tendency of new veterinarians to anticipate a high income without taking into account the abilities and qualities they are bringing to the table is causing a reality gap.
  • [12:14] Dr. Dave outlines how the experience and skills that veterinarians bring to the practice affect the value of veterinarians as an association in terms of compensation and signing bonuses.
  • [19:00] Dr. Dave describes why raising the cost of veterinary services is not the best strategy for boosting revenue.
  • [22:45] Dr. Dave talks about a healthy practice environment that allows veterinarians to enjoy their work without worrying about a huge paycheck while simultaneously gaining skills and growing as professionals.
  • [25:50] A short ad break – join VetX international
  • [27:05] In the second segment of the podcast, Dr. Dave and Brendan discuss the value of trust and bond between the young veterinarian and practice owners.
  • [35:15]  Dr. Dave enlists a few effective alternatives to a huge signing bonus that can benefit practice owners as well as veterinarians in the long run.
  • [44:15] Brendan Howard wraps the episode.

Connect with Dr. Dave Nicol

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