A Day in the Life of a Practice Manager at Vets4Pets

In essence, my role as Practice Manager for Bearsden Vets4Pets, is to ensure the smooth running of the practice. In reality, this means different things on different days! – and that’s one of the aspects of the job I enjoy, the variety!

As with managing any business, there are several routine tasks such as reviewing staff levels, banking, payroll and analysing the figures but there are lots of other requirements that can come my way unexpectedly. A good example of this was a day a couple of weeks back when I was working on budgets and was suddenly called upon to assist the vet and nurses with an emergency caesarean section. I was delighted to find myself helping deliver 6 little furry bundles who then had to be bottle-fed as the mum had no milk. An hour later and I was back in my office working on the budgets again!

Other responsibilities include managing the team, arranging rotas to ensure we have sufficient resources to meet client demand, organising marketing plans, covering reception, dealing with accounts and of course most important of all, ensuring our clients and furry patients enjoy the best possible experience when they visit.

An average day might involve opening up at 8.00 am and ensuring our reception area is clean and tidy and ready for our clients coming in from 8.30 am. The first couple of hours can be very busy with a mixture of admissions and routine consultations and I often support reception at that time.

I review our practice performance for the previous day, including any new client feedback and satisfaction scores, there are usually some tasks required in relation to marketing, such as approving artwork or providing content for local publications, there may be invoices to be paid, practice maintenance to organise (anything from the boiler being serviced to the lift being fixed) and often there are briefings about promotions or changes that need to be shared with the team to ensure they have a good understanding of what clients will be talking about and asking for that week.

I liaise with our Support Team regularly for a number of different reasons and have built a good network of contacts within the business.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to make the business slicker or operate more efficiently.


Have you always wanted to do this role?

I worked in Financial Services in various management roles for almost 30 years. Although I enjoyed it and has some brilliant opportunities,  I really wanted to do something very different, more local to me and the icing on the cake was that this role involved meeting lots of furry friends!


What skills do you need?

Interpersonal skills are a must in terms of building relations with the team and with clients. You need to be organised, be able to prioritise....and re-prioritise! You have to be able to be flexible and accept that you need to adapt to the needs of the business on any given day. Good communication skills and important and business knowledge and leadership skills are a benefit.  


What do you enjoy the most?

It goes without saying that I love meeting all our clients and patients and it’s lovely to see lots of brand new puppies coming to see us too.

I’m lucky to work with such a great team in Bearsden – everyone has a genuine passion for what they do and I think it is that real love of animals that makes the difference for clients.


What are the challenges?

At times we are much busier than we expect to be, perhaps due to emergencies that have come in, and it can be a challenge to make sure that everyone is seen and no-one is waiting too long, however, our clients are very understanding when we explain that someone’s pet has needed urgent attention.


What are you most proud of in the role?

I really like the fact that, although we are all very busy, we make time to give something back to the community. Myself and one of our vet’s Laura, go out to local primary schools to teach them about basic pet care and about the role of a vet. It is always really rewarding and the children get very enthusiastic about guessing what they see on x-rays, or volunteering to dress up in vet scrubs,  although I always seem to draw the short straw and get to dress up as ‘Spot’!

Another worthwhile initiative that I set up was a Pet Food Bank donation point. I had heard of lots of food banks in Glasgow but hadn’t heard of any pet food banks. I finally found one, the first to be set up in Scotland, and we now act as an on-going donation point for them. In the short time we have been running the project, we have been overwhelmed by clients and local residents generosity and have been able to donate numerous crates of pet food, beds, leads, toys and treats that are then distributed to various worthwhile causes, often providing much-needed pet resources for pets of the homeless or those in poverty.

I’m currently in the process of organising a sponsored dog walk to raise money for the Beatson Charity and the Cinnamon Trust. This is always a great day out for the whole team, a chance for dogs to socialise and an opportunity for us to speak to clients and fellow dog owners, away from the practice.


Do you have pets of your own?

I have a little 6-year-old Cavachon (Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel, crossed with a Bichon Frise) called Smudge, a 12-year-old cat called Simone, who is very tolerant of Smudge, and my  youngest daughter has a dwarf hamster called Sage


What’s next?

We are still a relatively young practice, having opened in March 2012, therefore I am working on building the business further, increasing our presence in the local community and continuing looking for ways to polish the service and experience for all our clients.


Carol Lloyd  

Vets4Pets Bearsden


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