Don’t Underestimate Costs
This is part II of a series. Part III will be published on Friday.
It isn't exactly cheap to build out medical office space.
Unfortunately, medical practitioners often underestimate these costs, causing problems down the line.
But this doesn’t mean costs have to spiral out of control. You can stick to your budget with the right kind of expertise. And, a team of knowledgeable professionals by your side.
That’s why whoever is doing the cost estimates has to do a good job, with detailed price estimates. And timelines.
Timelines are as important as estimates in keeping costs under control. But before you send your guys in to start smashing down walls, make sure you have clarity with your plan.
Your design team needs to think about the current condition of the space. And, what needs to be done to bring it up to inhabitable condition.
Part of a contractor’s job is keeping tabs on building materials before costs get outrageous. He can work with your architect to substitute cheaper materials before this happens.
Your build-out should be in the service of adding value to the patient experience. If it doesn’t do that, it’s merely a superfluous flourish and you just wasted your money.
Out-the-box, trendy building features can be pricey. Sometimes, it’s best to stick to the tried-and-true.
Know Your Build-Out Options
There are two types of build-outs.
The first one is a turn-key build-out. This is exactly what it sounds like. The landlord handles all aspects of the build-out for you. All you need do is to walk in after construction is completed and start booking patients.
With this kind of build-out, bring your design plans to the negotiating table. You can show your landlord what you want.
A turnkey build-out is good for tenants renting less than 10,000 square feet of space.
Turnkey options are also good if you have a shorter-than-average lease. With a shorter lease, you won’t have as much negotiating power as a tenant who’s planning to be there for the long haul.
For everyone else, a tenant improvement build-out will be the best option. With a tenant improvement build-out, you’ll oversee the project from beginning to end. Because you do, it’s your responsibility to stick to the budget.
On the surface, turnkey build-outs seem tenant-friendly. And they are, for the most part. But there are some drawbacks.
Because the landlord is covering all the costs, he might be tempted to do everything on the cheap. And instead of hiring the contractor who’ll do the best work, he might instead go with the one with the lowest bid.
This could result in shoddy work. Like, buying lower grade carpet that won't stand up to heavy patient traffic.
The other kind of build-out option is the tenant improvement build-out.
As long as you’re not planning to go overboard, many landlords will give you some kind of allowance. These days, tenants want offices that are unique expressions of their professional identities.
Often, this means incorporating the latest trends in patient-centered design. This is going to cost a bit of money to do—something that landlords increasingly understand.
You’re in the driver’s seat with a tenant improvement build-out. You’ll negotiate with your landlord for a set amount of tenant improvement money per square foot.
Once you agree, assemble your team to get the job done. If you stay under budget and have money left over, you might be able to use it for other stuff.
Build-outs are expensive.
That’s why you should negotiate with your landlord to get them covered in your lease. If a landlord refuses to give you money for one, try for other concessions.
Like, lower rent. Or even free rent.