As we explain in our new book, Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals For Dummies (Wiley, 2013) and when we recently spoke at Parker Seminars in Las Vegas, finding the right location or property for your practice is one of the most important decisions you can make. It’s not always easy, however, to figure out where your practice will do best. You can find chiropractors in office buildings, strip malls, light industrial spaces and downtown houses. Why choose one location over another? The reasons are many:
Availability of Space: You can only put your practice in a property that has vacant space available for lease (or has vacant space forthcoming). The Lease Coach frequently evaluates both the availability of space in a particular building and the number of competing chiropractors in the area for our chiropractic clients. If your primary service is already taken in a particular property, you may need to go further afield to find a location available for your use.
Long-Term Potential: Ideally, a chiropractic tenant should choose a suitable location that they can successfully operate their practice from for between 10 and 20 years and beyond. But often chiropractic tenants end up moving several times during their career as they realized they picked the wrong location altogether, the wrong unit within the property or the wrong size space in the building. These mistakes are costly and can often be avoided by having a long-range business vision as well as some professional help from a lease consultant.
Population Density: The more people living or working in a general area to the property you want to lease, the better. Future plans for the area are also important. Many newer properties will be built in the suburbs on the outskirts of town. A low-rise office building or strip plaza may be built on one side of the street where families are located, but across the street is an empty field where new homes won’t be constructed for many years. Waiting for a newer area of the city to mature and become populated can mean many financially lean years, if your practice attracts enough patients at all.
Age and Family Status: A commercial property may not physically change much over time, but the age and family situation of local residents can. Just look at what the local residents are driving and how many cars are parked in driveways – it’s not that difficult to get a read on the community.
Disposable Incomes: The problem with some affluent areas is that the homeowners are house rich and cash poor, meaning they have less disposable income than you may think. A commercial property near apartment buildings can be either a good or bad location, depending on whether they are owner-occupied condo apartments or all renters in single bedroom apartments.
The Hours You Want to Keep: Chiropractors are known for practicing in the evening. Chiropractors located in a downtown high-rise (with a common main door which is locked after 5:00 p.m.) may find it impossible to keep later patient hours.
The average chiropractor opening up a new practice often gravitates towards a strip plaza; however, chiropractic tenants can choose from simple one-story buildings right to downtown high-rise properties. The variety of office buildings and their locations is quite extreme. Some office buildings are so large they’re almost considered communities unto themselves, with their own food and service tenants. These office buildings may be linked to other properties with pedestrian walkways. Typically, downtown office properties are more expensive to lease, and the operating costs are commensurately higher as well. A major factor when determining which office building to lease space within may be the parking – both availability and cost. Will there be ample space for you, your staff and your patients to park? How far will your patients have to walk from their cars to reach your front door?
For a smaller office building in an outlying area, you may be able to have signage on the building or property to identify your practice, but this isn’t so common downtown. The building and property amenities greatly vary. The larger high-rise properties often have shared common meeting rooms, washrooms and nightly janitorial service for the tenants. A café tenant inside the building can be considered an amenity that allows for greater productivity and comfort to the business owners and their employees.
For a copy of our free CD, Leasing Do’s & Don’ts for Chiro Tenants, please e-mail your request to DaleWillerton@TheLeaseCoach.com.
Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield - The Lease Coach are Commercial Lease Consultants who work exclusively for tenants. Dale and Jeff are professional speakers and co-authors of Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals For Dummies (Wiley, 2013). Got a leasing question? Need help with your new lease or renewal? Call 1-800-738-9202, e-mail DaleWillerton@TheLeaseCoach.com or visit www.TheLeaseCoach.com.