Tips for managing the slow Fall Locum Season

I don’t know about you, but over the past 20 years I’ve found that October and November are S….L….O….W for locum bookings.
I wanted to give you a few tips that I have found to manage this time of the year.


If you are getting all the bookings you want in the fall, that’s amazing, and I would love to know what you are doing to keep it that way.  Share it in our closed locum-only facebook group so others can learn from your savvy.



  1. Work on a one page bio – listing your stregths, degree, experience and a few personal details you feel comfortable sharing (hobbies, favourite dog breed, etc).  Send it out to your clinics to remind them that you are a super awesome vet and they should hire you.  I hate to break it to you, but you might be choice #4 at some clinics just out of habit.  You will be surprised at what a little reminder can do.
  2. Make a list of your favourite clients.  If you have permission to email them use an email list in outlook/gmail, or use a free email marketing program like Mailchimp (the one I am using now!) to send emails to multiple people.  Send an email reminding them of your availability, and ask them if they need a day off to do some Christmas Shopping, volunteer at their kids’ school, go for a walk before the snow, etc.  Give them your availability so it is easier for them to pick a date.
  3. Make a list of what criteria you want in a locum placement.  Distance from home, equipment or staff available, on call dutes, are a few examples to start.
  4. Take your criteria list and choose 10 practices that meet your criteria – then call them! Introduce yourself and ask if you can drop off or email some information.
  5. CONTRACT REVIEW!  If you follow me at all you know how much I froth at the mouth when I talk about the need for a contract.  Review your terms, your rate, and any dealbreakers.
  6. Stock up on supplies.  As an independent contractor in Canada you need to bring as much of your own equipment as possible.  I bring  stethoscope, my controlled drug pad, my preferred suture for large dog spays (don’t ask…a recent hiccup!), as well as any textbooks I need. Make sure to make a price list if you are using disposables so you can pass this along to your clinic (make sure you stipulate that additional supplies will be billed to the clinic is in your contract!!!)
  7. Take a vacation.  If you can take time off during this slow period it will help to renew and refresh you when it gets busier in the New Year. Choose a new hobby or take a staycation and clean out the garage – or any other job that has been lingering on your to-do list.
  8. Get your receipts in order.  TAXES!  It’s way too early to be talking about TAXES but everyone hates the rush in March for the accountant.  Make sure your reporting and bookeeping is up to date, your mileage is tracking properly.
  9. Find new tools.  I am kinda lazy.  Actually I just really hate admin.  I am constantly looking for ways to minimize my work and make my life easier.  Mileage tracker apps, accounting software, calendar apps, free websites (where you can embed your calendar and contract if desired) as well as the email marketing programs I mentioned.
  10. Get some CE.  We never get to go to the cool conferences, but there are a ton of interesting CE opportunities locally, online and in small areas.  Search on AVMA and CVMA for opportunities, and if you want to consider a combo vacation/CE look into companies like IVS (international veterinary seminars).

Tell me your tips in the comments, and how you like your locum lifestyle!!!


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