Are you a dentist who is planning or considering opening a new dental practice; or are you looking to relocate your existing office?
Choosing the right location for your business is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your career as a dentist; with many important factors that should be considered. Here are a few to keep in mind for optimal success.
The location of your dental office can provide valuable exposure and marketing opportunity. However, choosing commercial real estate in a high visibility location may also drive up rental rates and other operating expenses. Consider the amount of visibility that a location can offer your practice. How much traffic passes by? Be sure to consider both vehicle and foot traffic. Would your business’ signage be easily visible?
Convenience for Patients
Consider how convenient the location would be for your patients to access and park. For example: if the building is located on a stretch of highway, can people traveling in both directions easily exit and access the building without a complicated detour? Is there a parking lot or garage dedicated to the building? Is street parking available? Is parking free or metered/paid? How far will patients have to walk from parking to your office?
There is often a delicate balance between visibility and convenience. For example: a busy intersection may provide good visibility but could be a hassle for your patients to reach. Try to find an optimal balance between these two factors.
Practice Growth Potential
The actual dental office space is just as important (if not more) than the physical location of your practice. Consider if the space is sufficient for your practice needs. What are your long and short term growth plans? Is there room to grow if you decide to expand your services, increase production or require more operatories/hygiene rooms? Will the space permit a comfortable waiting room area for your patients? Finding a dental office space that meets your size and business growth requirements should play a key role in your decision. Squeezing into a space that is too small at the onset will work against you in the long run; make sure that the space can accommodate your business for the foreseeable future.
Is the Space the Right Fit for Your Practice?
In addition to layout, the quality of the space is equally important. Will you take over a vanilla shell or an already-built-out dental practice? Does the space include modern features or will it require renovation? Will you need to make any specific improvements such as electrical, plumbing, or structural changes to accommodate your dental equipment, supplies and practice plans?
Building-out a dental practice is an expensive and time-consuming ordeal, requiring an incredible amount of planning and resources. Relocating your practice in the future for a larger space is not an attractive, feasible, or realistic option. Carefully review all aspects of the space now to ensure you make better decisions for your current and long-term business goals.
Evaluating the Impact of Neighboring Businesses
Another important factor when choosing your dental practice location are the neighboring businesses. Think about how these businesses may impact your dental practice. What type of clientele do they attract? Do they provide the opportunity to gain new patients? Are there any competing dental offices nearby? If so, how many? If not, are there likely to be in the future? Consider how you would carve out these details in your dental office lease to ensure you have exclusivity to practice general dentistry in the building/center, preventing your landlord from bringing competitors in. In medical buildings, how often do businesses move in and out, and what might this tell you about the building quality?
More on Choosing the Right Dental Practice Location
The above are just a few key tips on choosing the right dental practice location. In general, you should think about location from a growth, marketing and patient perspective. How does the location benefit you and your ability to market and grow your dental practice? What will your patients’ experiences be when visiting your dental office? If you are new to the area, you may want to get an opinion from those familiar with the neighborhood.
In addition to evaluating the pros and cons of the location, you must also review the office lease with equal scrutiny. The dental office lease is an integral part of business operations, your long term goals, and financial success.