Wednesday, June 2, 2010

88. An independent contractor

REPLY TO AN EXPATRIATE VETERINARIAN WANTING TO WORK IN SINGAPORE

An independent contractor as a veterinarian means he does what he wants and just uses the facilities of service providers like veterinary surgeries. I hope you understand the concept and business model. It is lots of risks for you. But you cannot have the cake and eat it!

That is why I advise you (for your own good) to be an employee first if you really want to make your fortune in Singapore. There is no short cut to success as you will know by now. My real estate company, asiahomes.com started with zero income for around one year as I had to build it up. Same applies to toapayohvets.com. Vets are not supposed to advertise their presence in newspapers etc. So, it was tough, unless the vet is proactive giving seminars and doing charity.

I find employment agreements not good once the trust is gone as the employee sabotage begins since the employee cannot get out of employment. I think you need to write a business plan first. Ensure that your financial savings to last you at least one year as you will be an independent contractor.

Other things like accommodation can be found when you are here. An HDB apartment will suit your budget for at least the first year. Rental of whole 2-bedroom HDB apartment is around $1,500 - $2,000 per month. A car is essential if you want to do big house-call vet business. Taxis are not convenient. There is the car cooperative rentals. Wessex Estate houses are usually full as Caucasian expats love them.

Please note that I do NOT get involved in car purchases for independent contractors. In life, you need to do a business plan (income and expenses especially) even if you have lots of money. Otherwise the money just goes down the drain within one year. I know of rich and influential people who want to "invest" in veterinary facilities. For example, they provide land and buildings in Myanmar and I provide the rest. But I don't know them. So, I avoid them.

As for you, you need to think and think what you want to do in Singapore as you have to leave the comfort of your home to venture overseas to sell your services.

I met a young English vet who took over a practice from a German vet in Siem Reap. After 2 years, she gave up as business was not to her expectations. I visited her when during my travel to Siem Reap in January 2010. I thought there would be expatriate vets in Siem Reap and she was the only one. She was very frank with me about the business of veterinary medicine in Siem Reap. The difficulty in getting veterinary drugs and the culture of the locals. She decided to go back to England and my visit was her last day of practice. I learnt more from her failures and my other business failures. I can tell you it is very painful. Very costly and involved loss of huge amounts of monies.


So, I don't want you to suffer in Singapore if you are not into risk taking. Costs of accommodation, cars and other matters - if you earn money and have customers through referrals and excellent service and perform correct diagnoses - they are small change.

Best wishes

Dr Sing Kong Yuen

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