The Mini Clinic is the most cost effective way to run a spay/neuter clinic with the exception of programs that rely on volunteer staffing, something that may be very limiting.
Management of a mini clinic is generally, at least in part, a volunteer commitment while all staff is paid. Management includes an unpaid board that may be responsible for ordering, outreach, advertising and even some day to day needs. Before opening, the board should visit other spay/neuter clinics to better understand the service they will provide. They must understand the budget and the overall model.
The clinic requires a relatively small, cohesive board that is focused solely on spay/neuter. If the clinic is under a non-profit umbrella organization that is primarily a rescue or shelter, the people running the clinic should be in a separate committee with a separate budget and decision making powers. The board will fund raise to provide a sliding scale for those who cannot afford the full price.
Paid staff includes:
- A contract veterinarian who is paid by the day,
- Two assistants for up to 35 animals (in some places a surgical assistant must be a licensed veterinary technician), and
- A person for scheduling and check-in. If over 25 surgeries are provided in a day, the scheduling person may be needed to help with other tasks such as laundry and washing instruments.
With the exception of the scheduling person (possibly hired by the month), the staff is hired by the day. It can be a challenge to find people who are willing to work part time, but using weekends may increase opportunities for hiring staff.
Maximizing the use of everyone’s time is the only way a mini-clinic stays on budget; the basic level of staffing will not have time to do extra chores. Adding wellness services increases the demand on the staff and causes the clinic to need additional staff. If the wellness services do not sustain themselves financially, the cost of increasing staff will increase the cost of the spays and neuters and counteract your effectiveness at stopping litters.
Low cost is absolutely vital to serving the chronically poor.