Success story: Dr Rob Hill on opening his veterinary hospital

A decade-long dream of opening Australind Veterinary Hospital in Bunbury WA has finally made him 'King of the Hill'.

 6 minutes


Background

Dr Rob Hill is a man who likes to dream. He is also a man who has learnt never to give up on one. As he awaits the opening in the coming months of his new Australind Veterinary Hospital on the outskirts of Bunbury in WA, Dr Hill is watching his decade-long dream finally come true. But it has been a long, and at times, difficult road.

“Dreams come at a cost,” Dr Hill admits. “Despite our business success over the past 15 years and good performance, the fact was we couldn’t borrow enough money to build our dream hospital.”

Since 2001, the Australind Veterinary Hospital has been in its original premises—what Dr Hill calls, “an old, dilapidated house”—on Old Coast Road in Australind, about two hours south of Perth.

The building has hardly been the picture perfect vision of Dr Hill’s dream of a smart, well-appointed animal hospital, but it has been home to the practice as it has grown from strength to strength. Business has been so good that in recent years, the practice has often not had enough room to accommodate all the patients.

Paying for the dream

Dr Hill never abandoned his dream of building his own hospital from the ground up. He bought a block of land a few kilometres down the road, and had the plans drawn up for the state-of-the-art facility. Which is when the problems began.

While business in the old building was booming, financing his new dream hospital proved almost impossible, with his existing lender determining the deal was just too tight to turn Dr Hill’s dream into a reality.

“Our existing lender had turned us away time and again, and wanted us to compromise on our dream to build a smaller hospital,” Dr Hill recalls. “We wanted to build a beautiful hospital to wow our clients and their pets. We also wanted to build the sort of environment people just love working in, to help attract outstanding people to our practice. Our business had reached a critical crossroads—it was time to either evolve or suffer a slow death.

“We had spoken to a number of banks and they were not happy with the security position. It was so frustrating and went on for years. Meanwhile, our practice got stronger by the day, despite our ancient facility.”

The BOQ Specialist difference

Then one day Dr Hill decided to contact Richard Curia, a consultant with BOQ Specialist. He had spoken to Richard back in 2007 about the plans, but when the GFC struck, that derailed the proposal. Richard, meanwhile, filed away the plans for Dr Hill’s new hospital.

So when Dr Hill made contact again in August 2015, Richard not only remembered the project, but said he was sure he could get the deal approved. Within weeks, contracts were signed and in October, construction commenced. “Richard is such a positive person and worked hard to get the deal done,”Dr Hill says. “We were asking for a lot more than a normal veterinary hospital build, so there was a bit of negotiation, but then Richard got it through.

“After years of rejection, we were delighted to finally hear the word, ‘yes’. Our dream was within reach, so we refinanced immediately with BOQ Specialist and then building works were underway.”

A seamless process

Ever since the deal was signed, the service from BOQ Specialist has continued all the way through the months of the build. “As the invoices came in from the builder, they were forwarded to BOQ Specialist who had them processed and paid within days,” Dr Hill adds. “The process has been seamless.”

Dr Hill says the most important lesson to take from the experience has been the reminder to never accept a first response to any proposal. “You must explore all options and focus on all opportunities,” he says. “I am just so energised and excited now, and just can’t wait to greet our new clients in our beautiful hospital. The internal design will be jaw-dropping!”

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