The quality and effectiveness of your dental office design has a significant impact on the well-being and comfort of your staff and patients, not to mention your level of productivity. So whether you are building from the ground up, remodeling or expanding an existing facility, you want to surround yourself with a team of professionals who understand the dental industry and what a contemporary, start-of-the-art practice requires.
An effective project team can add valuable input during all stages of the office design process, from negotiations for your commercial lease to selecting office systems software. Assemble your project team early during the project planning phase and consider including:
Commercial Real Estate Broker
Your CRE broker will show you properties that meet your location and cost criteria and negotiate your lease or purchase with the property owner or developer. Negotiating a lease or purchase can be a time consuming and tedious process that requires an understanding of the underlying legal implications. Your broker will look out for your best interests. You may also want to bring an attorney into negotiations to ensure your long-term professional interests are fully protected.
An architect creates the visual design for your practice, translating your vision and ideas into a developed floor plan and full set of coordinated construction documents. An architect who is experienced in dental design and familiar with the space, mechanical and system needs of a practice can show you where to invest to achieve your objectives, and where you can save without sacrificing efficiencies. Some equipment vendors offer a space plan at no cost. While potentially useful for determining equipment placement, do not let a vendor plan substitute for a carefully thought-out architectural plan designed to maximize the effectiveness and impact of your space.
Practice Management Consultant
If you are opening your first practice or have not managed a dental office design project before, your dental practice management consultant can be an invaluable addition to your team. Think of your practice management consultant as your business administrator – the individual who structures the business aspects of your practice, providing professional input on everything from business computer systems to staffing issues, and coordinates design project details. Your consultant keeps your project moving forward while you continue working with patients, working as an associate, or completing your academic work.
The good news in today’s poor economic environment is that construction pricing has never been better. The bad news is that because of the lack of work in the housing sector, we’re seeing more inexperienced contractors than ever jumping into niche markets such as dental office construction. The dental office has unique design and construction requirements, so find a contractor who is experienced in building dental or medical practices. If the dental office is not constructed properly, it can cost more to fix than it’s worth.
Specialty Practice Lender
As with other members of your project team, you’ll do better with a lender who is experienced in the dental industry and understands your unique financing needs. Banks are still actively lending to the dental industry, and both small and large lenders today are specializing in dental practice financing. Choose a lender that can customize your loan package to fit your particular situation and is flexible in providing terms that create the greatest opportunity for success.
A key factor in obtaining the financing you need for your project is having your numbers in order – projected cash flow, operational costs, and project cost estimates. Don’t overlook the importance of having a Certified Public Accountant on board to help you pull together the most accurate financials possible. It can make a difference in the loan terms you receive.
Other team members you may want to consider are an equipment vendor, attorney, and IT vendor. With your experienced team of professionals in place, you can go forward with your practice design project knowing it’s in the best of hands.
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