Whether you’re starting your own new dental practice or simply relocating your old one, finding the perfect location is quite an art as well as a science. Here are eight factors you simply cannot rule out when looking for that sweet spot location:
Research the demographics of the area’s population. Based on what type of care you want to provide (for example, orthodontics versus dentures), you will be looking for different age groups and types of neighborhoods (growing families versus senior homes). You may also take this chance to consider other factors such as ethnicity makeup, occupational variety, education, and age distribution.
Ask about the sign restrictions and take a look at the signs already up around the area. Your office needs to be easily seen from both the street and inside the complex; your patients will appreciate your office being easy to find. If the signs look already too cluttered, reconsider the location.
Check out the local competition. Look at the spectrum of established practices in that area and ask yourself if there’s something new and unique that you can bring to this scene that will draw new patients, possibly even away from their regular dentist. If there are too many dentists that do what you do in that area, business is going to be much more difficult. Take the supply and demand for dentists ratio into consideration and move forward from there.
Your patients will not want to pay to park for their dentist. Make sure there will be parking at a convenient distance near your office and remember that you and your staff will need to park nearby as well.
Calculate ahead of time how much space you will need, and be generous. Don’t overestimate your Tetris abilities in fitting everything in a smaller-than-necessary space. Dental phobia is a very real factor that you are likely to face, and creating an even slightly claustrophobic space might come to be a problem in those situations. Come up with a reasonable, comfortable estimate of the space that you will need and work with it as you visit your locations.
You might have to chat with some of the current tenants of the building for more honest information on this. Simply put, you want a clean space to clean teeth. Poorly maintained buildings give a strongly negative impression on patients, even if your own office is pristinely kept.
Check out your neighbors; what do they do? Privacy is often neglected by many dentists when choosing a location. Your patients will want sound privacy and peace as well as a general sense that they are safe, comfortable, and protected. If the office structure cannot offer this, it’s a no-go.
While cost is definitely a huge factor, don’t the only zone in on cost comparisons between locations, as many dentists tend to do. Remember that cost per square foot is a poor indicator of the property’s value. Take everything else into consideration first, and then consider the cost for making the final decision based on your budget and business plans. Don’t forget to take into account other related costs and factors such as maintenance charges, utility, exclusivity clauses, a right of refusal on adjacent spaces, real estate taxes, and etc.