The cost of office space is one of the single largest expenditures for any medical practice, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting from your space before signing a lease. You want to be cost effective, but it’s also essential to find a space that works for your medical practice’s needs. The last thing you want to do is move into a new space and find out that it’s not working out, forcing you to spend even more to break the lease and move again. Plus, constant moves can lose you patients. Here are some ideas for a moving offices checklist and questions to ask before you move into a new office space.
1. Is Renting or Buying Better for My Practice?
Buying a property for your medical practice’s office space may actually be a better option for your practice than renting one. For example, buying opens up doors for making your property an investment, provides more potential for expansion without relocation, and makes annual costs more predictable. On the other hand, renting requires less upfront cost and less commitment to the locations, and you don’t have to handle refinancing. Working with a real estate professional can help you determine which option is right for your practice’s needs.
2. How Much Space Do We Need?
Size is probably the primary consideration when it comes to determining your practices needs. Too little space and your practice will be crowded and take a hit to productivity, but too much space is a waste of money. A general rule when determining your medical practice’s space needs is 1200 to 1500 square feet for the first physician (or single physician practices), plus 1000 1200 square feet for each additional physician. Some practices, like psychiatrists, will need less while others, such as outpatient surgery centers or practices with large equipment, will need much more. An average family physician will generally need about three exam rooms and one procedure room, but this can vary depending on specialties and the number of physicians in the practice. At minimum, a medical practice should have a reception area, a front office, a physician’s office, two treatment rooms, and a restroom.
3. What Are Our Accessibility Needs?
All medical offices need to be handicap accessible, but, like with space needs, certain practices will have greater accessibility needs than others because of the patients they receive. For example, a physical therapist or an orthopedist will likely see far more patients with mobility issues than a dermatologist or a periodontist. Your practice needs enough parking spaces, elevators, and ramp access to easily accommodate handicapped patients without causing waits, crowded, or awkward situations. Automatic doors may also be a good addition. Remember that bathrooms and exam rooms need to be easily accessible, with plenty of room to turn a wheelchair around inside, and with all of the necessary supports to help a patient with limited mobility move around, and don’t forget to leave room for wheelchair parking in waiting areas.
4. How Much Will It Really Cost?
Obviously rental or mortgage payments have to be made, but not all payment systems are alike, and there’s plenty more that must be factored in before you can really understand the cost of your space. Some landlords require tenants to have insurance for the space, and while some will foot the bill themselves, others pass that responsibility onto you. Know who’s responsible for utilities. Sometimes landlords will absorb these costs, other times it’s all on the tenants, and still other times there’s a division of responsibility. Be sure you know how much you can expect to pay each month and remember, a space with cheaper rent can still be costlier than a space with a higher rent if utilities are lower. Higher rent may also come with benefits like property maintenance or pest control that would otherwise come out of your pocket, while lower rent may be because of problems and lower profitability associated with the property. Finally, don’t be afraid to shop around. By moving just a short distance farther from a major hospital, you may be able to get a nearly identical space for much less.
5. What’s the Timeline?
First, make sure your building will let you move in when you want, so you aren’t on the hook for the apartment before you need it, but can also be certain that the space will be available for you when you need it. You should also know how long the lease length is and how much flexibility you have with negotiating lease length to make sure you’ll have the property for the time frame that’s right for you. You should also make sure you know what your options are once the lease is up. Will renewing the lease be an option and how will the price be affected?
6. Who Is Responsible for What?
The divisions of responsibility in a rental aren’t necessarily consistent between properties. Make sure you know who is responsible for which utilities and how much of each. Even if some utilities are included in the cost of rent, all may not be, and some landlords only cover up to a certain amount. You also need to know who’s responsible for maintenance. You don’t want to commit to a property only to be surprised when you have to arrange and foot the bill for repairs or upkeep. You also need to know if you or the landlord pays for improvements to the space.
When you are through with your moving offices checklist, it’s time to settle in. If your practice needs a home, or you are just looking to expand, contact Boulevard LA today. We offer a number of locations that are suitable for medical practices of all kinds. We have years of experience finding suitable spaces for specialty offices and general practices, so schedule a meeting today to see what we can do to get you into the perfect medical office space for you and your practice.
Whether you’re moving an existing medical practice, opening a new location of an existing practice, or opening a new practice for the first time, finding the right space for your medical office can be overwhelming. There are so many things about the office space that have to be just right, and it can feel impossible to know how to choose the best office for your practice. Thankfully, Boulevard Medical Properties is here to help. Over time, we’ve discovered the most important factors to consider when choosing a new medical office space, and we’ve assembled them here to help you.
Obviously, the cost to lease is important, but affordability goes beyond just the sticker price. A space with a higher price may actually be cheaper per rent, or may come with more support from the property owner in the form of services like property maintenance or pest control. A medical office space available at a lower cost may be cheaper because the location is not as profitable. In short, remember that neither cheaper or costlier guarantees a better medical office space, so when choosing a new office space, conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis.
The importance of an attractive medical office is often overlooked, but the look of your office communicates a message to both patients and potential employees on both the inside and out. A well-kept, attractive, and secure feeling medical office can make patients feel confident about the credibility of the practice and the quality of the care that they will receive there. Inversely, a dirty or unattractive office can drive patients away. Your office also conveys a sense of the type of workplace your office is to potential staff members. Medical professionals have options, so don’t drive away the best with an unpleasing office.
Accessibility can mean two things. First, is it easy for patients of all kinds to find your office? Second, is it easy for patients with disabilities or limited mobility to find, enter, and move around your office? Offices should generally be located near major roads or thoroughfares, and ideally no more than two turns from a highway, if there is one nearby. Remember, many of your patients won’t feel well, so you don’t want them to have to do extra work. Being close to major roads also gives your office exposure just by people driving by. Once your patients have located your office, do they have convenient and ample parking, including handicap parking? Is there a ramp for your less mobile patients? If needed, are there enough elevators and stairways so patients can easily access their needed floor without a long wait?
Obviously you don’t want your medical office located around a bunch of competing practices, but it’s not that simple. In addition to checking the professional to population ratio areas around potential medical office spaces, you will also want to consider where specifically competitors are located and how aggressive and effective their marketing campaigns are. This can reveal some insights you might have missed otherwise. For example, areas with high income levels can often be over-saturated with healthcare providers while nearby middle or even lower income areas are largely un-serviced, providing a plentiful stream of patients for the practice that begins to service these areas.
Furthermore, potential competition is not the only reason you should know about surrounding medical care providers. Locations near complementary healthcare providers can be incredibly profitable for medical practices. Locating your practice near providers that offer complementary healthcare services and developing relationships with these providers can allow for inter-referring patients, providing advantages to all practices involved. Traditionally, this has meant locating practices near hospitals, but as more and more procedures are being performed as outpatient procedures, it has become possible for healthcare practices to develop these kinds of relationships farther away from hospitals, allowing for lower lease rates.
Get Help from the Professionals
No matter what kind of medical office space you’re looking for, you don’t have to search on your own. Boulevard Medical Properties can help you find a new medical office space based on your practice’s needs and goals, helping your practice to grow and expand. Regardless of where you are in the process, what you need from a new medical office space, and why you’re looking, Boulevard LA can help you get the perfect medical office space for your practice. Contact Boulevard LA today to schedule your consultation.
At one time or another, every medical practice considers whether it is better off to rent or buy its office space. The decision varies.
We’ve compiled a few helpful factors you should consider as you evaluate and strategize your location and move.
Rent or Buy?
The Cash Flow Factor
Typically, you don’t need to invest as much money upfront when you rent as you do when you buy. For example: When you rent, your upfront cost typically comprises the first month’s rent, a security deposit, and extra dollars over the allowance to build out your medical space. When buying, pay for an appraisal, building inspections, loan fees, all the improvement dollars, and other costs.
The Fixed/Variable Cost Factor
Buying an office building gives you a good idea of what your annual costs will be, especially if you get a fixed-rate loan on the property. However, you must be prepared for costs associated with refinancing. Renting an office, on the other hand, is subject to market changes when your lease term expires. Many rental agreements also have a clause allowing for an annual cost increase tied to changes in the Consumer Price Index or some other measure.
The Expansion and Growth Factor
Buying a building to relocate may seem attractive, but factor in the potential for growth and expansion. Outgrowing a space doesn’t have to be a financial crisis. If your practice increases so much that it needs twice the space of the building you have, you can lease out the building at a profit and move your practice into a new, larger space.
Outgrowing a space doesn’t have to involve relocation. Sometimes a growing practice can avoid the cost of moving by simply leasing more space in the building it occupies (subletting). That, however, is not an option when you own a building unless you’re only occupying part of it and another space is available.
The Appreciation Factor
Buying a building opens the door to real estate investing, especially if you’re in an area of appreciating land values. If you own a building with more space than your practice needs, you will likely rent out available space to others, becoming a landlord. It can be profitable, but it can also be more work than simply renting a space.
Schedule a Consultation
In general, renting tends to appeal to medical practices, especially those that don’t want to make large upfront investments. Buying makes more sense if your practice is more established, wants to be in one location for several years, has the financial resources to take on a significant real estate investment.
Time is money. Every practice, small or large, wants to operate in the most cost-effective manner, even during relocation. It is an exciting prospect; however, the actual move can be very stressful. In fact, most people involved in the process will experience high stress levels, sleepless nights, and blame if anything goes wrong. To minimize delays and errors, it is essential to understand the best approach and how to customize it for your move.
To help you get started, we have compiled a best practices guide for moving your medical practice to a new location.
Plan Ahead, Be Proactive
Planning ahead is essential, as it will usually solve 50% of the potential problems your practice could encounter during a move. Planning ahead and getting started early can reduce costs, alleviate stress levels, lessen missteps, and cause less misjudgments often caused by rushing.
Plan at least a year in advance. Allow even more time if you have more than 50 employees.
Create a Timeline and Schedule
Organization is everything. Creating a timeline can help set expectations, ease anxiety, and ensure everything gets done when it needs to – all in a specific order. For example, you will need to have your phone and network cables installed before you have your business phone system set up. A timeline can help manage these numerous tasks.
Assign a Move Coordinator
Appoint someone to be in charge as the move coordinator. Your ideal candidate will be a highly organized individual willing to internalize the best practices of planning the move of a medical practice. They will be responsible for managing the office move committee, communicating with vendors and keeping involved parties informed.
Select the Right Movers
A quality professional mover is essential to office relocation, so it’s essential to choose carefully. Office moves and relocation difficulties often occur when companies simply select movers on a whim without any real research. Thoroughly vet through service providers for a successful office relocation.
Plan IT Relocation Carefully
IT service providers and commercial movers can wreak havoc if IT equipment is mishandled. Many medical practices store the majority of their essential data on servers. If an IT relocation goes wrong, it can lead to serious operational and financial problems. It is imperative that your IT professional backs up your data and performs a test recovery prior to moving your IT equipment off the premises.
Plan Your Budget
It is very easy a move to go over budget. Revisit your budget regularly to make sure everything is in-line with initial estimated costs. An over-budget move can lead to financial headaches and setbacks. So keep track of all quotes and costs in a budget worksheet, and plan for contingent expenses.
If you need help finding a new property for your medical practice, get in contact with Boulevard Medical Properties.
A medical office suite layout must be practical, spacious and welcoming to patients and workers alike. When you design a medical office, there is no room for cutting corners. Depending on patient and staff needs and volume, you may need multiple patient examination rooms, a large waiting area or office and storage space.
Your medical office suite is an integral part of delivering a continuum of care, and how it is designed and set up is essential to the core of the practice. Medical practices continue to rapidly change, and adopting innovative design and configuration can also improve patient flow and staff efficiency.
Consolidate Physician Offices
Today’s physicians no longer have dedicated offices decorated with the accouterments of their profession like medical diplomas on the wall. Several physicians will share a single space for patient consultations, which opens up real estate for more exam rooms.
Create Private Patient Registration
Due to HIPAA privacy rules, patient registration is changing. Many practices are opting for a second patient registration area that offers more privacy for check-ins, payment, and the completion of medical records.
Customize the Waiting Room
Waiting rooms are an integral part of almost any medical facility. Patients often form their first impression of a medical office in the waiting room. Depending on the number of patients you treat per day, you can design a waiting room based on your clientele. Some people may not like to share close seating with others, especially in a sensitive area such as a doctor’s office.
Individual chairs often work better than large furnishings such as sofas. Design your space around traffic flow and set up your furniture and chairs with the patient in mind. Choose colors and textures carefully as they set the tone and ambience of the space. Green or blue hues suggest calming and soothing effects while yellow and red may cause anxiety and aggression.
An effective office layout is designed with a circular traffic flow that leads from the waiting room through the reception to exam rooms and back out the reception area again. Designing your space and traffic flow in the same direction promotes fluidity and less congestion. This ultimately ensures your patients can find their way around your practice more easily, and won’t happen to wander into areas that are off-limits.
Construct Efficient Exam Rooms
Exam rooms must be functional and convenient, not just for patients but also doctors and nurses alike. To save money, you may construct dual rooms with a shared plumbing system such as a sink. To add functionality and convenience, you may create identical exam rooms so medical staff always know where items are located.
Keep in Mind Confidentiality in Space & Design
The confidentiality of medical records and consultations must be protected at all times. To respect the privacy of your patients, office and storage space should be out of patients’ views.
Discrete Entrances for Physicians
Patient entrances should be separate from the entrances provided to physicians and other staff members. Issues can arise if patients see their doctor arriving late, as this can cause frustration and a sense among patients that their physician doesn’t necessarily care. This is regardless of the myriad reasons a physician could be late to work. A separate entrance for physicians and staff creates a “backstage” to be in their space, conduct their business, and get ready in between consultations and appointments.
Choosing the right medical office space for your practice can be an overwhelming process. Your office environment is important to the overall atmosphere of your practice, and you’ll want to make the decision that is right for you and your patients. All factors need to be considered when making the choice – if you pick an office space based on price alone, it could have a detrimental impact on your practice.
Here are some ideas on how you can decide on the best medical space for your office.
The More the Merrier
Population is an important factor to consider when choosing a medical office space. If an area has a higher population, then of course, there will be a higher amount of potential patients for your practice. It is also crucial to ensure your clinic has good exposure to the surrounding population.
How accessible your practice is will have a positive effect on securing potential patients. If your patients aren’t able to locate you, then you will lose out on many prospective patients, and they will find medical care somewhere easier to find.
Accessibility doesn’t necessarily mean that your practice has to be at the hotspot of a city. As long as your practice is simple to travel to and visible, then the more success you will have as a medical establishment.
Consider the Competition
If you pick a location that has other medical offices nearby, then the competition will be higher and it will be more difficult to remain profitable. Also, if a practice has been around for a long time, their patients will be less inclined to branch out to a new practice.
Another thing to consider is that if there are other physicians around, but they specialize in a specific field, then this may be a good strategy to obtain patients in a different area of expertise.
Getting the Right Look
There is no doubt that aesthetics are important in our society. Especially with medical offices, having the right look is more appealing to prospective patients. Make sure that both the outside and inside of the building is aesthetically pleasing, and well-maintained and decorated. You’ll want your office space to be a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your patients.
If modernly decorated buildings don’t fit your budget, you can always take on a fix-it yourself property. Fix-it yourself properties are a cost efficient way to make over a building yourself, and can be a fun project.
Find Your Ideal Medical Office Space
Choosing the right office space will make or break the success of your medical practice. We know it can be an exciting prospect, but don’t ever rush your decision – take your time to make the choice that is best for your patients and your practice.
If you’re on the hunt for a new space, our Search Tool on Boulevard Medical Properties can help you navigate through all the available office spaces. Our Search Tool is simple to use, and you can use filters to get more specific with your search.
We wish you the best of luck in your search for the right medical office space for your practice. If you have any questions or would like to know more about how we can help you, contact us today!