The Veterinary Cooperative (TVC) Review
This review is part of our directory of buying groups/group purchasing organizations.
Buying Group Name: The Veterinary Cooperative
Industry/Specialty (if applicable): Veterinary Medicine
Number of members: 1,000+ independent clinics
The Veterinary Cooperative (TVC) touts itself as America’s largest veterinary industry purchasing cooperative. It’s located in Evanston, IL, although it’s actually incorporated in Minnesota. Founded by four veterinarians in 2012, the goal of the cooperative is to ensure independent veterinary practices and hospitals remain profitable by gaining a great deal of purchasing power and marketing prowess. In addition to its purchasing activities, the Veterinary Cooperative offers revenue-enhancing programs, profit-maximizing programs, and an online best practice knowledge exchange.
How does this group work?
You can continue using your current suppliers, or you can use the ones TVC has identified. TVC doesn’t distribute products directly to members – it simply negotiates better prices, and in some cases, better services. The Cooperative has negotiated with vendors to remove any restrictions on the minimum amount of merchandise you must buy; a helpful feature for smaller practices.
TVC, like other cooperatives, is owned by its members. Their obligation is to be actively engaged in the organization and attend (either in person or virtually) annual events. Members have a say in how the organization runs.
What is its focus?
TVC’s primary focus is on saving its members money through its negotiated pricing. The Cooperative can save you money on such necessities as supplies, lab fees, merchant credit cards, and telephone bills.
How does it work in terms of the purchasing process?
You place orders with TVC’s recommended vendors, or your own. When possible, the Cooperative prefers that you work with TVC approved vendors if it’s medically, ethically, and financially viable to do so.
The vendors ship the products directly to you. TVC’s website doesn’t make it clear who sends you the bill – the Cooperative or the vendor. What TVC does emphasize is that the organization sends you a rebate check after making purchases.
TVC’s website has a section for members in which there’s more information about the purchasing process, but of course, you have to join in order to access it.
How does the buying group choose vendors?
There are three groups of people responsible for choosing TVC vendors: its staff, its members, and special committees.
TVC staffers research the best deals and the best suppliers with whom to work. The organization’s membership also shares where they’re getting the best deals. TVC’s board has product committees, too. The role of these committees is to approve the research carried out by TVC’s staff to ensure the membership gets the best prices. Any member is welcome to join these committees.
How much does it cost to join?
There’s a one-time, lifetime membership fee to join TVC. However, if you’re interested in joining, be aware that there’s a 30 day free trial period you can take advantage of before committing. If you don’t believe you’re getting the best deals from TVC’s suppliers, there’s no obligation to join. In order to join, contact TVC for an application.
There is no contract or penalty to cancel membership, but TVC does have a non-disclosure agreement that members will need to sign.
The Veterinary Cooperative Buying Group Reviews
TVC’s website has a section featuring member testimonials (a couple of TVC founders share their thoughts, too). The testimonials include individual veterinarian’s names, the names of their practice and their locations, and in some cases, pictures of the veterinarians and their staff.
All but one of the testimonials talks about how much money members of TVC save. The exception to the trend talks about how helpful TVC employees were.
There is one review on Facebook for the Veterinary Cooperative, but it doesn’t offer any text information, simply providing a 5-star rating.