Whether you are opening your dental practice for the first time, or simply relocating it, the importance of selecting the best possible location cannot be overstated. If your office is in an inconvenient location with limited parking, or simply too far off the major thoroughfares, your patients may simply decide that your skill as a practitioner is outweighed by the inconvenience of visiting your practice. This can be a quick recipe for financial disaster for any dentist.
Choosing the right location is critical to your success.
Here are a few key points to consider when selection a location for your practice:
Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate:
Once you’ve found your ideal location, you need to be ready to negotiate on the rent. Never settle for the landlord’s asking price, and be ready to bring added value to the table. For instance, if landlord also has an orthodontist in the same building, or in a nearby property, you will be adding value to the landlord’s property by driving customers to your area. The convenience of having both providers – your dental practice, and the orthodontist – in close proximity will drive customers to both practices, making both of them more successful. And successful tenants tend to be long-range tenants, guaranteeing income for the landlord. Be willing to think out of the box when negotiating. For instance, are there any other advantages to the landlord if you rent from them? Are there other nearby businesses that will benefit from the added traffic you will bring to the area? You may find that such business may be willing to help subsidize your rent. Creative negotiating can save you thousands over the life of your lease.
This seems like an obvious point, but it is overlooked by a surprising large number of practitioners. If your patients are fighting to find a safe, convenient place to park while visiting your practice, they may not be your patients for very long. Nothing frustrates a patient quite as much as a crowded parking lot or a parking lot with far too few spaces to accommodate them. A good location provides enough on-site parking for the maximum number of patients you expect to be in your clinic simultaneous plus at least ten to twelve additional spaces. You also need to provide parking for your staff that is both convenient and separate, if possible, from patient parking. If onsite parking is impractical or not possible, make sure that enough public parking is available nearby. It’s also very important to keep in mind many of your patients may have mobility issues that need to be accommodated.
Proximity to nearby public transportation can be a definite plus when choosing a location for your practice. Public transportation can give you access to patients who otherwise would not be able to visit your clinic, such as the elderly who no longer drive, or patients who do not own cars. However, before including this in your evaluation of a potential location, take the time to find out the transportation schedule, the route, and how close the nearest stop is from your potential location. If the nearest stop is too far for an elderly patient to walk, you will want to factor this into your decision.
Is the location in an area where it will have high visibility? Are their nearby ordinances that will limit the type or size of signage on your building? Potential patients need to be able to find you. If they can’t tell at a glance what kind of business your practice is, they will pass you by. Any savings in rent will be quickly eaten up by marketing or advertising cost.
Do not let the temptation of a low rent, good parking, and high visibility blind you to the most important factor of all when choosing a location for your practice –- suitability. Does the building have the plumbing in place to support a dental practice? If not, who pays to fix it, you or the landlord? What about wiring? The electrical needs of a dental practice are not the same as a business office, and you need to make sure the location is wired appropriately. There’s also the question of handicap accessibility. Does the building have the appropriate ramps or elevators? Are the hallways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and are the bathrooms fully up to code for accessibility? Miss any one of these things, and your perfect location can quickly become an expensive nightmare.
Keep these tips in mind, and you will soon be on the road to success in the perfect location for your practice.
The Six Month Smiles® System is a GP-focused system that equips dentists to help their adult patients with crooked teeth, using unique clear braces. The first step to becoming a Six Month Smiles Provider is to register for an upcoming Six Month Smiles Two Day Hands On Course. You'll leave with the ability and confidence to start cases immediately!
"There is no 'silver bullet' to increased productivity, but Six Month Smiles comes the closest! Without a doubt, the single fastest way to grow your practice." -Bruce B. Baird, DDS, Productive Dentist Academy