WHAT TO CONSIDER
WHEN SEARCHING FOR A LOCATION FOR YOUR MEDICAL OR DENTAL PRACTICE
Consider the factors that were important as you searched for where to move your young family – schools, after-school activities, distance to commute, community diversity, etc. Now, don’t THROW these factors out completely but save them to the side. We are about to discover a whole new (likely more mysterious) set of data points that are critical in commercial real estate market consideration in order to make the most successful, lucrative and long lasting decision for your new private practice.
- Short-term and Long-term Goals for your Practice
if you’re starting a single service dental office, ask yourself if in 10 years you would like to add a few dental specialists like pediatric dentists or orthodontic services.
Many dentists take time from their day to day practices to get advanced degrees in full mouth reconstruction and periodontal specialties. Even if it’s not something you’re considering today, it is worth some consideration so as not to limit yourself to additional possibilities.
- Demographic and Audience Segments
Some of the basics like HHI, population age and density are all important factors to consider when making a long-term decision but what are the less considered, but just as critical, data points that you might be missing?
Look back at your first item, practice future goals and consider this – if your goal is to someday service children at your practice, what are the types of communities with kids in the area and what schools are being developed? What are the future demographic trends of the area – is the town planning smaller, more urban type housing or are there 55-and over communities being planned. Are the schools becoming more congested or is there influx of finding to build additional neighborhoods and schools? Are there hospitals and other medical facilities near by?
- Radius Partners and Competition
Many dentists are selecting locations in multi-unit properties that have other tenants that complement their services. These locations might be close to a competitor, but highly visible or on a major thoroughfare to growing areas.
Also, have a commercial real estate firm conduct a thorough competition analysis of the selected area to ensure it’s not over saturated with competitors. While the presence of other dentists in the area should not necessarily deter you, it’s worthy of substantial consideration. Your practice type—and whether or not it serves a niche market—will help determine if a nearby competitor might adversely affect your business.
- Securing Financing
This is certainly a critical part of the first steps of determining the next steps of your dental practice but it shouldn’t necessarily be your first call. There are many steps prior to making this call and you might lose valuable time if you don’t have all of the necessary items ready. You might also end up feeling less excited about making the large leap once money comes to the table and will be more likely to delay the entire project! Do not sabotage yourself – have all of critical items ready before so that the money decision will feel more comfortable and easy since you’re already so far along.
Have a business plan ready – learn how our Real Estate Consulting services can help
- Return on Investment
Too many dentists limit their focus to the price per square foot when leasing a new property, viewing it as a consideration that supersedes all others—including the value of the location. A decision to settle for a less desirable property could lead to the downfall of a practice.
Be sure your final choice is not a compromise based solely on the initial financial investment, but one that takes into account the future of your practice. When dentists settle for less expensive real estate, they often find themselves spending the real estate savings on more marketing to make up for lack of visibility, appeal, or loss of business due to a new competitor that leases in a superior location.