Frequently Asked Questions
This section is designed to answer the most common questions about joining TVC. If your question is not addressed here, please contact us so we can clear it up for you and add your answer to this section.
Do I order from TVC or use my current suppliers?
You use your current supplier or new ones TVC has identified for you that you may want to use. You just take advantage of the TVC negotiated price. TVC has no distribution capabilities and does not plan on supplying products directly to our members. Think of TVC as your Price Negotiator. You will keep your relationships with sales people, and suppliers as you have now. The only thing that changes is price. We sometimes can also get better services as well. We negotiate with vendors to remove any minimum buys.
I am too small and do not buy enough to be a member.
Size does not matter. There are no annual or monthly fees to overcome, so you start saving with your first purchase. TVC actually helps the small practice as much or more then the large ones. Small clinics will enjoy the same negotiated discounts and rebates and you just keep buying in the quantities as you always have. You also might be surprised what products and services can bring you savings -- it is not just medical supplies. We save on items like merchant credit cards, external lab work, and are looking to find a program to save you money on everything your clinic buys down to the electricity. We have a 30 day free trial where you can see what the savings will be. If you are not convinced within the first 30 days and do not send in the ONE-TIME (life-time) joining fee, you never will be so we just let your trial membership expire. What do you have to lose? Give it a try!
How can TVC operate without collecting annual fees/dues? (Are there any membership dues/fees?)
TVC has no annual dues or fees. We are positively cash flowing so charging a fee is not necessary to run operations. There is however no free lunch. TVC does need to pay for operations. TVC’s mission is not to make a profit as all profits go back to the owners – you the full voting member once you join. When TVC obtains a program from a supplier/vendor, we hold back some of the discount or rebate (never more than 2% sometimes nothing at all) to run operations. If the TVC hold back is more than needed to run operations in any year, there is a special dividend declared to the members to return the profit. All of this is transparent and each vender/supplier program (deal) is described in the member's only section of the website for your examination. As an owner of TVC our goal is to make you money. The TVC board, made up of members, sets the operating budget each year and we seek to have the hold back dollars match the budget. We are conservative in our hold back numbers, so TVC will never ask the owners to pay for operations at the end of the year. The discount or rebate you see on the vendor/supplier detailer is what you will get at minimum. There may be an extra distribution to members if TVC does not spend its full budget.
How much would I expect to save? Do you have projections on (rebates/discounts)?
Suppliers provide TVC members with a rebate and or a discount. In short, the typical member that follows our suggested purchasing recommendations through TVC suppliers and vendors will see a 10% reduction in their purchasing costs. Depending on the programs you choose you may see only a 2% reduction up to almost a 20% reduction. NOTE: TVC can save you nothing some purchases while in others we provide up to a 50% cost reduction. The average is 10% on your total purchasing of everything from pharmaceuticals to credit card merchant services. In short, that is why TVC offers its 30 day no cost trial so you can figure out how TVC can benefit you. About 80% of all trial members Join TVC. Please also see the TVC “Services” page for additional helpful information. https://www.theveterinarycooperative.coop/services/
What obligations do I have when I join the Cooperative?
You have three basic obligations:
1) We ask our membership to be engaged and to seriously look at the suppliers that support TVC. If they medically, ethically and financially make sense we ask that you buy from these suppliers. If TVC suppliers do not fit your criteria, then you are under no obligation to buy from them. However you cannot use any TVC pricing information to get a better deal from the suppliers you use that are in competition with TVC suppliers. If you leave your supplier, they will likely want to know why you are leaving. You can not disclose TVC pricing. It is best to tell your supplier that you are leaving to support the cooperative than indicate it is on price.
2) TVC will ask you to fill out surveys from time to time to see how we can better serve our members.
3) In order to better communicate with our members we ask our members to spend a few hours a year attending live or recorded virtual conferences that will help keep you informed on ways the cooperative can make you more profit. You must attend our annual meeting (in person or virtually) during the NAVC show in Orlando. If you cannot make it to Orlando, you can watch it from the comfort of your own home or clinic on line.
Are there any contracts?
There is a non-disclosure agreement. Our programs are among the best in the industry and must be kept confidential to members only. There is also a Membership Agreement to sign that shows you how the coop will operate and verify that you qualify to join. A member may leave TVC at any time, simply by notifying us in writing. There is no penalty or anything owed at termination, and you get to keep any discounts you obtained to that point, so there is no risk to you or your clinic, just upside savings!
Does joining TVC in any way give the cooperative power over my personal business?
NO! You continue to make all the choices you have always made in your business. Remember you own TVC, it does not own you.
What are the tax consequences of the Rebate (Patronage Dividends)?
You need to take advice from your accountant not TVC. However, TVC believes there is no special tax advantage or disadvantage in receiving income from a dividend from TVC vs. receiving a discount from the supplier.
Is my gross and net income tracked, and do I have to pay a percentage of my net/profit to the coop?
No this is a cooperative not a franchise. Remember you own TVC, it does not own you.
Your purchases may be tracked by TVC suppliers to calculate rebates to TVC and your business. Currently these suppliers are tracking your purchases anyway, so nothing truly changes.
What is a purchasing cooperative, how am I the owner and how does it benefit me?
Purchasing cooperatives first appeared around the world in the 1800’s. In the U.S., a cooperative is a legal entity owned and controlled by its members for their mutual benefit. The profits flow through to members and are not taxed at the cooperative corporate level (much like a modern day “S” corporation or a partnership). Some purchasing cooperatives you may have heard of are: Ace Hardware Corp. with more than 6,000 members and more than $3 billion in cooperative sales and HealthPartners, Inc., which has sales in excess of $3 billion. During the past 20 years, pharmacies, hospitals and medical clinics have formed cooperatives to obtain savings from their vendors, exchange best business practices and save money in marketing and other business-related functions that make sense to the cooperative members. If you buy from an electric or food cooperative or REI, you already know how this works.
The TVC cooperative offers pricing better than what you are currently experiencing. Beyond purchasing power, members will share best practices, and TVC will develop new turnkey products and services you can incorporate into your business to improve growth and profit. We want you to think of TVC as your other practice manager.
Who will ensure that TVC is constantly getting the best deals possible?
TVC staff will be responsible for researching not only the best deals, but the best suppliers with which to work. TVC members also tell us where to find the best suppliers and deals. If we were not getting the right price, our membership would complain and tell us! We also believe service and quality of products is part of what makes your business profitable. TVC has put together Product Committees that approve all of our programs to insure the proper research is done. You are welcome to join these committees.
I already negotiate the best pricing possible from the vendors I use—how can you possibly find better deals?
TVC can understand why you might think this; you are probably a great negotiator! Now consider how well you could negotiate if you had thousands of veterinary practices all buying under your negotiating power? Wouldn’t you get a better deal? Who gets better pricing – Walmart or the local store selling the same product? TVC gives members the strength of a large big box store when getting price for their members. In the U.S. there are also laws that essentially make it impossible for independents to get the same deal as the big box stores and other large buyers. TVC as a buying consortium can get access to those best prices! Our members help us as well. Think about if you had over 1,000 employees searching for the best product and price? Our members share what they learn in the market place and we share that with you making you able to compete with your true competitor -- corporations, not the independent veterinarian down the street. Join TVC and become part of the cooperative and the committees that makes this happen!
If I were to join, how can I be assured that I won’t be bombarded with e-mails, sales calls and marketing stuff?
Actually, many veterinarians will see a reduction of unwanted marketing communication. Some veterinary practices do not want sales people calling on them, some do. Because TVC will be negotiating the contracts with suppliers, TVC will deflect a good deal of unwanted contact from marketers. You can even tell vendors who try to solicit you (those you do not want to talk with) to “contact the person in charge of your buying—TVC”.
TVC’s goal is to have suppliers and the cooperative communicate with you in a way that enhances your business, not distracts from it. You will be able to choose your communication methods and how often you are contacted. Remember, you’re the owner so you’re the boss!
Will competitive veterinarians be allowed to join in my region?
Just who is your competitor? The veterinary business has been undergoing consolidation and encroachment, as have many other industries. Just who is your competitor, the independent clinic down the street or all of the big box, on-line and corporate hospitals? Today you may see the veterinary practice down the street as your competitor. The reality is, soon you will see them as your partner.
I already belong to another veterinary buying group—why should I join yours?
Unless you currently belong to a veterinary cooperative, why let a purchasing group make money off you? By joining our cooperative, you will be the owner, getting that additional profit. If you do belong to a veterinary cooperative, we encourage you to stay right where you are or have your cooperative contact ours to see how we can work together. We are all about cooperation!
Why are you incorporated in Minnesota?
TVC believes that Minnesota law best protects cooperative members while offering the cooperative the most flexible operating environment so we chose to incorporate in this state.
The whole thing just sounds too good to be true…what's the catch?
There is no catch, and we encourage you to check our references. See what has been written on VIN. TVC is not going to be perfect. It will become whatever you and the thousands of expected members want TVC to become. You can sit back and just use the buying power and other services TVC will offer or you can become involved on committees and the board and help set TVC’s direction. OK there is one catch; you have to believe in the power of cooperation! Please contact us for reference