Building Out a New Practice: 8 Tips for Ultimate Success!
Building out a new practice is a major undertaking for any medical provider. Your medical office must be practical and welcoming. When designing a new space, you want one that is undeniably “you” while still meeting your professional needs. There is no room for cutting corners and often times the emotional component of having your own space may cloud your judgment. Without a good plan, costs may quickly spiral out of control. The tips below will help make sure your buildout goes smoothly and that you’ll have a space that meets your needs!
1. Create a Solid Plan From the Get-Go
Create a plan and stick to it. Before you make your first purchase or swing the first hammer, it is fundamental that you have a solid plan. This plan should include a detailed budget, a realistic timeline, and any other goals you have for your space. During the design phase, try to predict logistical problems before they occur. Keep in mind that something that looks good in a blueprint may not be practical in real life. Make sure you are maximizing every square foot.
#2. Make Sure You Have Enough Space
Be wary of the size of the space you decide on. Often times practices will underestimate the cost of tenant improvements. Each practice is unique and your individual needs will have a major influence on the overall cost. You also need to consider the state of the physical building. Is it a pre-existing office? Does the layout make sense? Will you need plumbing or electrical work? These are all questions you should ask yourself when making your budget. Keep in mind that it’s often what you can’t see about a space that ends up costing the most. On average, a medical office costs between $75-$125 per square foot, but depending on what you need, it can be double that.
3. Get A Good Team
Don’t go at it alone! Unless you’re moonlighting as a general contractor or happen to flip commercial properties as a hobby, surround yourself with a good team. Trying to finish the project on your own will be exponentially more difficult, and potentially more expensive. There are a lot of moving parts to any construction project and their smooth interaction prevents headaches and costly delays. Work with your General Contractor and Architect to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Make sure you are meeting with them regularly and that you’re keeping an eye on expenses.
4. Avoid Personal Guarantees
If possible, try to avoid a personal guarantee when negotiating your lease. Your landlord will probably be the biggest advocate for having one of these agreements in place, and why wouldn’t they? It allows them to sleep soundly knowing they will still be getting paid regardless of whether or not you default on your rental agreement or your business goes bust. You, on the other hand, get no such guarantees. A personal guarantee puts your personal assets at risk if you default on your lease.
If your landlord is persistent about having one of these in place, try to negotiate something for yourself. Often times your landlord will make concessions like lower rent or a tenant improvement allowance. Also, if you are sharing the space with other people, make sure everyone has equal responsibility.
5. Know the Cost of Building Materials
It is very important to keep a close eye on the cost of your building materials. Don’t be afraid to ask your architect or general contractor for lower-cost alternatives should things start getting out of hand. While in any aesthetic practice, you want to have the most gorgeous, top-of-the-line materials, unfortunately, this doesn’t often make sense from a budget standpoint.
Remember that the goal of any buildout is to make the most of the patient experience. While granite countertops and hardwood floors may look spectacular, your patients prioritize other things over whether or not they’re standing on some exotic wood. Seek out alternative materials, as there are plenty of lower-cost options that are just as nice.
6. Have a Good Traffic Pattern
An important aspect of your office layout is to create a good flow of patients that avoids any potential traffic jams. Ideally, you want to have a clear path from the waiting room to the reception area to the consultation room, to the exam room, and then back to the reception area. A circular flow prevents congestion and makes the office much more efficient.
7. Don’t Neglect the Waiting Room
Don’t skimp on your waiting area, as this is a key factor in your patient experience. It helps to give patients a great first impression of your practice. Make sure that your waiting room and reception area are the first things your patient sees when they enter your office. It should be a warm and inviting space. Often times it serves a dual role as a retail area so make sure you can effectively display your products. Remember, your waiting area reflects your practice; you’re in aesthetic medicine, make sure your waiting area is aesthetically pleasing!
8. Don’t Forget About Storage
Make sure your practice has ample room for medications, office supplies, equipment, and everything else you need to run your practice. Many items specific to a medical office require secure storage so make sure your buildout is accounting for this. Chances are you will need a few large file cabinets, and it seems like they double in size when placed in your office. Make sure you have enough space to secure your documents in a HIPAA compliant manner. Your storage space should be easily accessible to providers yet out of sight for the patients.
Written by: Rob Deters, Business Development Manager
Are you getting ready to go out on your own and start your own aesthetic medical practice? At Shorr Solutions, we help aesthetic medical providers just like you start their own venture each and every day. We have also created packages to help you get started. We’ll work with you to ensure that every last detail is wrapped up with a bow. Click here to learn more details about our assistance in opening a new practice!
About Shorr Solutions:
Shorr Solutions is an award-winning practice management consulting company with offices in South and Central Florida. We work with aesthetic medical practices in all 50 states of the U.S. to help them strengthen the operational, financial, and administrative health of their business. With decades of industry experience, our father-daughter partners, Jay Shorr and Mara Shorr, lead our knowledgeable team of experts to assist practices in the aesthetic medical fields increase efficiency, increase revenue, and decrease their costs.
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