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.
Every business – small or large – wants to operate in the most cost-effective manner, even during a relocation or move. It is an exciting prospect, however, the actual move can be very stressful. In fact, most people involved in the process of moving medical properties 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 practices.
5 Musts with Moving Medical Properties
Moving your medical practice to a different office location involves managing plenty of small tasks as part of the move. Here are a five key items you need to move to the top of your list.
1. Notify Payers
Notify your payers and third party vendors (Medicare, Medicaid, In Network Providers, etc.) of your new address and billing information. Notify each well in advance to prevent any loss of timely payments. Add your providers of services (payroll service, billing service, medical waste disposal, maintenance, etc.) to the list.
2. Tell Your Patients
You are required to inform patients where to find your new practice and their charts. The notification can take the form of a letter, newspaper announcement, or phone call. Placing a sign in your office 30 days in advance is also recommended so that you can keep your patients aware of your relocation. Some states also require one or more ways of notifying your patients. It is advised to research what your state guidelines for relocating your practice should be.
3. Market Your Move
After you have notified your patients, you want to make sure your new office move is going to attract new patients. If you are in primary care, for example, you may want to consider creating an announcement to your patients you have seen over the past couple years or list your new business in local newspapers and sites.
Be sure to also include a map of your new location and an explanation of why you are relocating. If you depend on referrals, target your referral base to increase patient volume at the new location. Offering your expertise to the local newspaper or media outlet as a guest contributor on a healthcare topic can also benefit your practice and move.
If you are moving to a new location, consider if you will need to be credentialed with a new hospital. If so, you need to determine who is going to help with the credentialing process.
5. Select Vendors Carefully
Professional movers experienced in moving a medical practice are required for moving a medical facility and transporting medical equipment. They should have technicians with expertise in disassembling sensitive equipment as needed, packing it, and safely moving without damage. After the move, the technicians should be able to test and re-commission equipment, making it ready for use in the new location.
In addition to expertise in relocating medical and lab equipment, your movers should be experts at moving exam tables, office furniture, filing systems, workstations, and IT equipment. They should also understand your need to minimize downtime to avoid loss of billable patient hours, and be willing to work with you in completing the break down, move, and setup of the project on schedule.
Vendors are essential to office relocation. Select vendors carefully. Office moves and relocation difficulties often occur when companies simply select vendors out of the whim. Thoroughly vet through service providers for a successful office relocation. Every onboarding vendor should be familiar with the best practices for an office move. Look for vendors that have been endorsed by a trusted third party.
Because your move represents a more complicated prospect than the average business move, use these tips to choose the right moving service:
Interview movers before you hire them. Ask about their methods, experience and skills
Look for medical moving experience. You need movers who know how to move fragile equipment such as an x-ray machine or IT equipment with sensitive information.
Ask for references. Try to get references from other physicians.
Schedule a Consultation
Moving medical properties can be a positive experience for you and your patients, provided you take the necessary steps to ensure all processes are executed smoothly. Whether you are starting from scratch or in the early stages of planning your move, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.
When deciding how many exam rooms your medical office needs, consider the types of visits you typically have and both the number and types of procedures your practice performs. An inadequate amount of space can result in inefficient patient flow and less-than-optimal productivity. Too many rooms will result in wasted overhead.
A rule of thumb for the size of a practice facility is 1200 to 1500 square feet for the first physician and 1000 to 1200 square feet for each additional physician, up to 4 or 5 in total. Some professional suites, such as those for psychiatrists, have less need for space while other practices may require additional space for equipment, such as imaging equipment.
The typical family physician requires three exam rooms and one procedure room, but this can vary in multi-physician or multispecialty practices. To help you get started, here are 4 factors to consider.
One of the key factors affecting doctors when deciding on medical office space is affordability. Depending on your financial situation, you may choose to be frugal when it comes to your practice space. As your practice grows, you can consider additional space as needed or relocate.
The space should include (but is not limited to):
Two treatment rooms
Consider space needed and location when considering affordability. A long term lease for 30,000 square feet in a new development project can sign at $17 per-square foot. All the same, another medical space closer to a major hospital can sign at $25 per-square foot. If affordability and cost efficiency is a factor for space, you can save leasing costs by choosing a location down the street at a lower rate.
2. Operational Needs
The size of your medical office should be determined based on the types of operations that will be performed, number of administrative and medical surgical staff, number of patient visits, and size of frequently used diagnostic and medical equipment.
Having the right sized medical office is one of the most fundamental requirements for any practice. They should be large enough for efficient traffic flow, equipment setup, and administrative and operational activities. It should also provide sufficient space for circulation so that staff doesn’t interfere with ongoing examinations.
Bigger, however, is not always better. Unused space in the room tends to attract unnecessary supply and storage items. Blueprints of medical office setups in different sizes help determine the suitability and efficiency. Below are a few floor plans to consider:
Productivity is enhanced with every step you save. An effective office layout is designed with a circular traffic flow that leads from the waiting room, through reception to exam rooms, and back out the reception. This promotes fluidity; less congestion; and a linear, logical flow. Be sure to design the office space considering foot traffic flow. Your patients are more likely to have a seamless end-to-end experience during their stay and not wander off to restricted areas.
Medical records and consultations need to be kept confidential at all times. To respect the privacy of your patients, office and storage space should be out of all patients’ views. Administrative staff needs to store all private patient information, diagnoses, billing, treatments or medications in filing cabinets/storage that can be secured under lock and key or via a combination lock.
Doctors and technicians must have separate, additional rooms for testing so patients have privacy when services, especially sensitive examinations, are administered. Medications, mobile equipment, bandages, medical supplies, and cleaning agents should be kept in storage closets and out of sight. Ensure that everything has its place, sensitive information is kept secure and away from prying eyes, and that all necessary items can be accessed when absolutely required by permitted individuals.
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 greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, as well as a healthier and more productive place to work. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and, now, Repair and Rethink, sustainability can come in the form of telecommuting to small adjustments within your medical practice. Bottom line – simple steps you and your practice can take today can save money and decrease its impact on the planet.
1. Redesign the Work Space
Creating an eco-friendly medical office space in which you work has limitless possibilities. Start by investing in good furniture, good lighting, and good air. Furniture can be manufactured from recycled materials as well as recyclable. Incandescent bulbs can be replaced with compact fluorescent or LED desk lamps that use minuscule amounts of energy.
Open space to natural daylight as a free source of lighting for the office, where applicable. This can also improve productivity and satisfaction among both your staff and visiting patients. Workspace air quality is also key. Good ventilation and low VOC paints and materials will create high air quality and keep everyone happy, as well as healthy – a key benefit in a medical setting.
Of course, certain industry requirements may mean such changes can’t be utilized in every section of your practice, but working them in where possible is a worthy investment.
The greenest paper is no paper at all. Keep things digital and dematerialize whenever possible. The more you do electronically and/or online, the less you need paper. Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets. Review and analyze data onscreen rather than printing them out. Send emails instead of paper letters and documents.
3. Switch to Eco-Purchasing & Practices
Purchase environmentally friendly paper with high post-consumer content and chlorine-free bleach. Remember recycled paper uses a great deal of energy, water and chemical resources in its processing. Practice double-sided printing, and reuse boxes and shredded waste paper as packing material.
4. Use Green Materials
Some paper use can’t be avoided, so opt for recycled paper and envelopes. Materials such as pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are recommended over disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper towels or cloths in the bathroom and kitchen. Switch to biodegradable cleaners for the custodial staff, and buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced. Reuse the shipping boxes, and recycle where possible.
5. Reduce Energy Use
Use energy-efficient equipment such as those certified by the Energy Star program. Simple ways to do reduce energy include:
Turn down the thermostat at night and on weekends if you’re practice closes then.
Set your central air a few degrees higher, and your heater a few degrees lower.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs or fluorescent lights.
Turn off computers and other electronic equipment when not in use.
Ensure the windows and exterior doors are sealed.
Use motion sensors or timed lighting for unoccupied rooms.
6. Unplug & Turn Off
Turn off everything you possibly can before you leave each day. Encourage this behavior among your staff and lead by example. Unplug or turn off electronics in the office when you close up for the day.
7. Encourage Eco-Transportation
If possible, try to locate your medical property close to public transit. Provide bicycle storage and change rooms, and encourage teleconferencing and e-conferencing. These adjustments can encourage your peers to minimize gas waste by carpooling, biking, or walking.
8. Lunch Time
Brighten up the dining space by rethinking lunch time. Encourage everyone to bring in reusable containers; join them in placing large orders (more efficient than many separate ones); and provide reusable plates, utensils, and napkins for convenience.
9. Remove Waste Wisely
Recycling is the best way to remove waste wisely. Set up recycling bins next to disposable bins in convenient spots for employees and patients. Keep each bin clearly labeled.
Finding an Eco-Friendly Medical Office
Maintaining an eco-friendly medical office can be made easier by deciding on a rental property that has already been built with eco-friendliness in mind. To explore the possible options throughout Los Angeles and its surrounds, contact us today.
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!