In our previous post on 6 Steps to Setting Up an Audiology Business we covered the main steps one would take when venturing out into private practice. We briefly touched on the importance of location and its significance to your practices’ success.You have decided to go on your own, it's such an exciting time. You will be your own boss and make your own decisions for once. It’s your life and you are going to make it the best, ever.
So, you start looking for a space to make your dreams come true. Somewhere close to home, somewhere people will love to go, maybe right next to your local mall or close to the kindergarten so you can pick up the kids.
With so many options to consider, which will ensure that your practice is a success?
Picking a location is a serious decision that will impact your business and personal life. You will need to invest in careful thinking and attention to details.
Answering the following questions will help you on your way.
- Should I buy or rent?
- How much space do I need for all my equipment and future plans?
- What's the footfall like in the area?
- How will my choice of location affect my patients?
1. To Buy or Not To Buy?
That is the question. You’ve found the perfect location and you find yourself at the crossroad of paying a mortgage or having a landlord. This is a big decision one that should not be made impulsively as each option has its pro’s and cons.
Pros of buying
- Property is an asset and will appreciate over time and, should you decide to sell, you could earn a profit.
- Owning the property gives you the freedom to operate without some of the restrictions put in place by a Landlord and thus gives you the freedom to customize and alter the space to your style/preference
- Long-term, you can benefit by saving Monday, gaining financial security, and an improvement in your credit rating. All of which will allow you to access more financial facilities should you wish to expand or invest further without taking money out of your pocket.
Cons of buying
- Long-term financial responsibility in terms of deposits and bond/mortgage repayments
- Maintenance becomes your responsibility and can be very costly depending on the age and type of the property
- Insurance, services and taxes are all up to the property owner
- Once you commit and buy property, if you change your mind or decide to move to another are more complicated and time-consuming compared to renting.
Pros of renting
- Renting allows you to rent in an area where you otherwise, couldn't afford to buy. This may help to increase the likelihood of reaching more patients within your targeted market. Location, location, location.
- Renting gives you the flexibility of changing locations if the area changes and you find that the business doing well in that area.
- Renting gives you the room to invest less on location and redirect your money to procuring better equipment or investing in other things/services you might need.
Cons of renting
- You will have to operate within the limits set by your landlord and those stipulated in your lease agreement
- You cannot customize your space to suit your style without consent from the property owner
- No return on investment or wealth creation can be generated when renting a property.
With that said, weigh your options, see what works best for you and make an informed decision.
2. Does size really matter?
In this case, YES!. The amount of space you will need may be determined by the services you will be providing and what works for one healthcare provider might not be feasible for the next. So ask yourself what services you will be provided, look at both your long term and short-term plans. Should you intend to expand your services, will there be room for growth? If you are using a sound-treated booth you will need to have more space and this will have an impact on your monthly costs. Opting to invest in a booth free audiometer, like the KUDUwave, the available space could instead be used for another purpose or reduce your rent and will certainly make a difference in your purchasing decisions.
When looking for practice space, consider the following variables:
- Do you need a reception/ waiting area for your patients?
- Will you need bathrooms for your patients and staff members?
- Do you need a separate audiological testing room?
- Will you fit hearing aids or take impressions in a separate space?
Consider your needs, but also remember that allows for more to be done with less, and a simple change in the choice of equipment such as a sound booth could be all you need to maximize your space while reducing running costs.
3. Do looks matter?
As the saying goes ‘first impressions are lasting impressions’. I am not suggesting you hire an expensive interior designer, of course, if you have the money and are not interested in doing it yourself you probably should, but aesthetics are key. Your patient experience is very important to the overall success of your practice. As a matter of fact, patient experience forms an integral part of patient-centered care which is a focal point in the healthcare system.
Research has shown that the design and overall ambiance of waiting rooms determine how patients perceive the quality of care, according to Arnold Melnick. With that said, you wouldn't want old magazines and stained couches to determine whether a patient would be likely to come back, or even refer your practice in future
Don’t make the mistake of neglecting the look and feel of your practice in order to save on cost.
A little time and money could pay off in the future and contribute to your business success.
Stay tuned to our blog for more tips and helpful content on how to venture out in private practice or improve your current practice if you are already on your way.
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