Does Your Physician’s Office Feel Crowded and Cramped?
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Remodeling Versus Relocating
In our previous blog post, we outlined some steps to help you grow your caseload and fill your office calendar with appointments. But what happens when your client base has expanded so much that your office space is now bursting at the seams? Between the files, computers, medical supplies, staff, and exam rooms, your small office has now become a manager’s nightmare. While a heavy caseload is a good thing, a crowded and cramped office is not. It leads to workplace stress for your staff, an unwelcoming environment for your patients, and a lot of unnecessary chaos for you.
At first glance, relocating your office may seem like an enticing next step. However, taking a closer look at your finances and long-term business goals may reveal that remodeling your current space is the better choice. It’s important to weigh both options carefully, as each one comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Financials: Most physicians are hesitant to change locations due to the probability of a rent increase. But keep in mind that a larger office space could potentially pay for itself, as you’d be able to treat more clients with the same amount of staff. In most private practices, rent accounts for anywhere between 8 and 12 percent of the operating budget, while staffing expenses account for up to 45 percent. So you can see how a less-stressed staff moving a larger number of patients through a more spacious office could cover the increase in rent pretty quickly.
Consider your future goals: More private practices are now offering specialized medical services (such as X-rays and MRIs) that used to be available only through acute care centers. However, providing such services requires a larger office space to accommodate the necessary equipment and staff. So you must weigh the benefits—such as greater convenience for your clients and, ultimately, higher billing rates per client visit—against the cost of renting a larger office space. But if you’re content with the basic service options you provide now, your current office space may be adequate for the time being.
Do you intend to add physicians to your practice? If so, then you must take that change into consideration as well. Whether you remodel or relocate, additional practitioners will require their own private offices as well as exam rooms for treating patients.
Assess your current space: Relocating your office is a huge undertaking. In addition to causing disruptions in your daily routine, it will also lead to downtime when you will be unavailable to see your clients. The possibility of losing revenue during this transition period combined with the fact that some of your clients may not move with you to your new office space may be enough to convince you that staying in your current space is the wiser choice.
Hire an architect: Once you’ve determined that your office is staying put and you’ve taken every effort to organize the space for maximum efficiency, it may be time to hire a professional architect who specializes in small-to-medium interiors. Through a detailed space evaluation, a professional can not only show you how to remodel your current space, but also alert you to potential unused spaces that could be utilized more effectively.
Whether you choose to remodel or relocate, your ultimate goal should be a fully functioning space with an optimized office flow that is tailored to the needs of your staff and clients.