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How To Choose Your Clinic Location?

By May 14, 2021August 20th, 2021Read more

How To Choose Your Clinic Location? | Symbiosis LLC | Medical Clinic Space Operations Management

If you have decided to open a private medical practice there are many considerations to be aware of when searching for a location.

You want a space that works for your needs, and that makes a good first impression, both on the inside and in the location you’ve chosen.

Studies have shown that 50-70% of patients consider location to be a key factor when choosing their medical practitioner.

But it can be more complicated than you think.

Just being near the local hospital or in a population center is not enough.

Larger group practices often spend a lot of money on area studies to find a suitable location.

Working with a commercial real estate agent allows you access to properties you may not otherwise notice, but this can also be costly.

At Symbiosis, our goal is to help you ease the burden of setting up your own practice.

If you are looking to go it alone, here are some of the key questions to ask yourself when searching for the ideal location.

Important Questions To Consider

Start by defining your needs and the needs of your patients.

Are you a general practitioner, or is your practice highly specialized?

Are you looking to be based in a dense urban setting, a suburban area, or a rural environment?

Below you’ll find some of the big questions you’ll need to answer when choosing your clinic location.

1. Is Your Clientele In The Neighborhood?

Several factors come into play when considering the neighborhood in which you want to set up your new practice.

Take into account your consultation fees when considering an area and ask yourself whether your target clients reside there.

Seek to join the community and demographic that you cater to.

For example, a pediatric practice should search for a location where young families reside.

Meanwhile, if you’re going for a younger, health-conscious crowd, try finding a hip and upscale neighborhood.

Don’t be afraid of areas that are not exactly in your target neighborhood – you may have stumbled upon an underserved area.

2. Can Your Clientele Access The Neighborhood?

The area you choose should allow for minimal commute times, for both you and your clients.

Is the space easily accessible by public transit?

Are there good roads and sufficient parking spots for your older clients?

If locating your new practice in a spot where patients will commute in from the city, are there major highways, bus, or train stations nearby?

Try to situate yourself within about 20 minutes of the neighborhood you wish to serve.

If your clinic is on a higher floor, an elevator is a must, particularly if you’re serving older patients or those with disabilities.

3. Are There Allied Practitioners Nearby?

If you have an area of specialty, you can aim to situate yourself close to other practices whose specialty complements yours.

Referrals by local practitioners will help you to grow your client list.

If you specialize in treatments for chronic pain, for example, it might be a good idea to set up near a physical therapist, occupational therapist or an acupuncturist.

Filling a missing niche in the neighborhood, this makes you the straightforward choice for potential clients as well as for referrals from complementary specialties.

Being close to a hospital may look like competition, but it can be a blessing to your patients, who will have less far to travel for tests and referrals.

4. Are There Competing Practitioners Nearby?

Rather than looking at your competitors as enemies, try to see if they could become potential allies.

Consider the rate of population growth in the surrounding area, for example.

In areas of growth, with practices that are bursting at the seams, you may be a welcome addition to the community.

But even beyond that, every healthcare provider has a certain area of practice they’re more interested in than others.

Speak to the other healthcare providers similar to you in the area – it’s possible their area of interest just happens to be a field of medicine you’d rather avoid.

This makes you a perfect resource for referrals.

And even if they do happen to be directly competing for your ideal client, they might be gearing up to retire in the next few years, leaving you in the position to pick up the slack.

It’s important to do your research to find out not only who else is in the area, but what potential the area shows in the coming years.

5. How Visible Is Your Location?

Rather than skimping on rent by locating yourself on the outskirts of town, try to see the added costs of being in a space with prime visibility as a marketing investment.

It’s no good keeping the rent low when you have no clients coming through your door.

Choosing a location with maximum visibility, however, means more than just being on a busy street.

Examine the area in question, looking at it through the eyes of your patients.

Is the location easy to find, or will patients be unable to locate you, even if they did spot your online advertising?

Is the clinic in a “healthy” area, or is it sitting in the middle of fast food alley?

Does the exterior of the building seem welcoming to clients, or is it in a run down area that no one will want to visit?

The look and feel of the neighborhood makes a statement about your quality of care, as patients will associate “clean” with “healthy”.

And of course, that’s only possible when you have a highly visible location.

6. What Are The Terms?

Once you’ve found the location of your choice and narrowed down a few spaces as the strongest contenders, it’s vital that you closely examine the terms of the lease or sublease.

The terms of a lease or sublease could greatly change the amount of time and money you spend on your clinic location.

Just as the outside of the building should be welcoming, the inside space is of equal if not greater importance to make that good first impression.

If you’re considering signing a new lease, see if the landlord is willing to offer a tenant improvement allowance, some money to help offset the renovation costs.

If you have the budget and the space needs work, ask what is the time frame for the renovations to be completed?

Your clinic space should be designed to facilitate easy patient “flow” and should be well maintained by the building owners.

As well, the terms of your lease or sublease should clearly state who is responsible for what.

Find out how much is included in the asking price, such as water, electricity, trash removal, or cleaning.

These considerations are just the tip of the iceberg and all of them are negotiable.

The time it takes to negotiate these considerations and the cost in the negotiation such as getting an attorney should be factored in when deciding on your new space.

Just as the outside of the building should be welcoming, the inside space is of equal if not greater importance to make that good first impression.

The space should be designed to facilitate easy patient “flow” and should be well maintained by the building owners. Is this covered in the terms of your lease or sublease?

Based on your budget, is there too much work to be done to make the space work for you? Will your prospective landlord provide a Tenant Improvement Allowance in your lease?

If you have the budget and work does need to be done, can you work with the time frame for this to be completed? Build outs of blank spaces may take less time and renovations of already built out spaces.

Once you have found a prime location, it is also important to also examine the terms of the lease or sublease.

Find out how much is included in the asking price, such as water, electricity, trash removal, or cleaning.

Each of these considerations is negotiable and should be factored in when deciding on your new space.

Questions? Contact Symbiosis Today

Looking for a space for your future practice can be costly and time consuming.

If you are facing the decision of where to locate your clinic, why not get the experts involved?

Contact Symbiosis with your questions and concerns.

We can help you take care of business so that you can take care of your patients.