With the possible exception of buying highly specialized medical equipment, leasing space will be the single biggest cost for your practice.
Don't underestimate the importance of office space for making a great impression. Patients aren't going to want to come to a drab, uninspiring space that doesn't exude the right amount of professionalism, no matter how exceptional your medical services are.
Your office is the face of your practice. That's why you need to make it a good one.
But unfortunately, looking for a new practice location can be emotionally taxing and time-consuming. Although in many ways, it's similar to finding retail space, there are regulatory and patient safety requirements that you don't have to worry about when looking for other kinds of commercial real estate.
Many medical professionals vastly underestimate the time it takes to find new space. To make sure you don't run out of time, come up with a plan with a detailed timeline.
There's so much to do, and it can be overwhelming if you don't map out the steps on your journey. Plan on giving yourself more time than you think you'll need. If you don't, you could end up not making your deadline in time.
For example, you might think you'll be able to find suitable office space in six months. So, you start looking, and at the end of four months, you find a terrific spot that has all the elements that make for a great practice location.
But after tirelessly working on the deal for over a month, it unexpectedly falls through.
Now what? You're back at square one, and you only have a month to find space before your lease runs out at your old place.
1. Needs Analysis
You can't even think about looking at office space unless you know what your needs are. One way to accomplish this is by doing a needs analysis.
It's imperative that you do a need analysis because if you're not clear about what you want, you might get your heart set on a space because you like how it looks, only to have to say "no" to it because it's not really what you need.
If you have a list of what you need in a space, you can quickly weed out possibilities that don't fit this profile when you start your search. This will save you loads of time.
Ask people who work for you what they'd like to see in the new office. Involving your employees in your analysis can bring much-needed clarity to your efforts and ensure your employees' satisfaction down the road.
Separate the things that are absolutely essential to the running of your practice from those things that are merely nice to have. When you meet with your broker, he can help you refine your list.
Come up with a rough budget to make sure you can afford the spaces you're looking at. While there's always room to negotiate, your landlord's not going to want to reduce his asking price by thousands of dollars.
Estimate how much square footage you'll need. But don't just think about what you currently require. Dream big and think about your future.