10 things to keep in mind while searching for potential clinic space
By Fazle NaqviFeatures Business Management
Most chiropractors, like other health-care practitioners, will at some point in their careers need professional or retail office space.
The location could be evaluated on the basis of the chiropractor’s practice choice or the client demographic that the chiropractor wishes to attract. It could also be on the basis of geographic convenience for the chiropractor’s target clients or the presence or absence of competition in a market.
Here are the 10 top attributes that a chiropractor needs to consider before finalizing a location.
Who would you like to attract as clients? Do you want to focus on a specific age bracket? Or would you want to focus on a specific ethnic group? Having clarity about the demographic profile of clients that you wish to attract will give you the basis to decide upon a location.
What is the zoning for this location? Remember that a building zoned for an office may not be zoned for a chiropractic or physiotherapy clinic. Make certain that the location has the zoning for your specific practice.
3. Competition and neighbours
You will have competition wherever you open an office. Competition is not necessarily bad, as long as that leads to more traffic for chiropractic services in your area. Who are your neighbours? Will your neighbours assist in traffic generation of a type and quality that is beneficial to your business, or will their traffic be potentially detrimental to your business?
If your office or clinic is in an indoor mall, the mall management can provide you with average daily customer traffic numbers. However, how do you find traffic counts if you are looking at a location in a plaza or in a street front building? The solution in this case is to go to the city’s municipal office, and get traffic volume records for the streets that you are comparing locations on. Knowing the automobile traffic in front of two different plaza or street front stores would give you a high quality quantitative comparison between two locations.
Is there easily accessible, adequate parking at the location that you are considering? For street front offices, this can especially become a challenge.
6. Rent and affordability
What is your net rent and TMI (building taxes, building maintenance and insurance)? Calculate the all-inclusive rent and establish if you can afford that rent, based on your own projections of practice revenue at this location. Make sure to check if your rent is escalating over time. If that’s the case, then redo your numbers a few years out, to get a better sense of affordability.
Remember that your location is unchangeable in terms of its size, but you are surely planning to expand and grow. Therefore, is the size and layout of the space available right for you today and a few years down the road?
Does your location have adequate visibility? Make sure that you are not on a side street or the corner of a mall. Will you have adequate signage? Will you have office name display on a Pylon sign? Pylon signs are especially important when an office is not visible from the street.
9. Condition of the building
A clean, well-maintained building is what a vast majority of your clients would prefer to see when they go to visit their chiropractor. In addition, a poorly managed building will quickly see its maintenance and repair bills go through the roof – and into your rent invoice through the TMI that you pay.
10. Legal and reasonable
Are the terms in the lease reasonable? Not in your view alone, but in the view of a specialist leasing professional and that of a legal counsel well versed in commercial real estate.
These are the top location attributes that you must take into consideration when evaluating a location. Ensure that you have professional leasing assistance and quality legal counsel before you commit yourself to a lease.
Fazle Naqvi is the founder of Health Property, providing real estate leasing solutions and lease negotiation assistance to health professionals. He holds a MBA, and a Master of Management degree from McGill University. For more information visit www.healthproperty.ca
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