February 27, 2006

Opening First Practice

From Ask The Expert:

Q. I'm opening my first practice cold and I found a location I really like, but it's a little over 2,000 square feet. Is that too big? If it is, can I build most of it now and do the rest later?

A. The ideal size space for a first practice is 1,200 - 1,500 square feet. If you take a space too much larger than that you could end up with with monthly overhead costs that are too difficult to meet in the first year or two. If you are going solo, 2,000 square feet is really more than you need to start your practice.

Successful solo O.D.'s usually start in a small office under 1,500 square feet and build up their practice gradually until they are "bustin' at the seams." Then they move up to a bigger office between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet or so. They don't move until they know they've got a good patient base and the cash flow to handle a larger monthly outlay.

When you first start out, it's vital not to bite off more than you can chew! Find a smaller space in the best location possible. Get yourself enough of a construction budget to build an office that gives you a professional image in the clinical area and some retail pizazz in the dispensary.

If you take a larger space and leave some of it unfinished, it doesn't save you a whole lot of money in construction costs. The higher rent could seriously hamper your chances of making it a success, not to mention the extra stress it would cause.

Be conservative with your first practice and then you will get to move up to a larger office when the time is right.

No comments: