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.