Seventy-five percent of the respondents to a recent Women In Optometry Pop-up Poll say that they are current practice owners. A slightly larger percentage, 77 percent, said that they have at one time owned or co-owned a practice.
Nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents who said that they have made no significant changes in ownership or location since acquiring or starting the practice. Nearly 27 percent said that they own the same practice but have moved it to a different or remodeled location.
Twelve percent said that they have experienced changes in the ownership or partnership structure since acquiring and opening the practice and 15 percent said that they are now the owner of a practice that is entirely different from one they owned previously.
Change in Current Owners’ Practice Models
The most common reasons that ODs cited that they no longer own or hold an interest in a former practice is because they moved (63 percent). Half of the respondents who no longer own an earlier practice said they left because of lifestyle issues, such as wanting fewer hours or something different, and just more than a third (38 percent) said that a better opportunity presented itself.
Among those ODs who have never owned a practice, 57 percent said that they prefer being employed. The startup or acquisition costs as well as the business experience needed or drive to own a business, have been what’s keeping ODs from becoming owners, says 43 percent for each. Another 43 percent said that they are currently actively looking for an ownership position or expect that they will do so in the next few years. Respondents could choose more than one answer.
The majority of respondents, 69 percent, said that they did become or plan to become a practice owner within five years of graduation. Nearly 16 percent put that timeframe at between five and 10 years after graduation, while six percent each said between 11 and 15 years or more than 15 years after graduation. Three percent of the respondents said they never plan to become an owner.