Reasons for relocation
We decided to move based on these three reasons:
Lack of space
The migration of our
With three doctors working in the
office each day, six exam lanes allowed for only two lanes per doctor. So, we planned
to have 10 exam lanes in the new office
to improve our efficiency. This allows three lanes per doctor, with an extra lane
in the minor procedures room, which will house our yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG)
laser and Surgitron EMC Ellman unit used for minor procedures, such as verruca removal.
In addition, our new office plan provides for our reception, dispensary and contact
lens areas to double in size. Location is a critical consideration in building a
new office. Because the economy of our suburb is quickly moving southeast of our
location in Midwest City due to the development of a large shopping area in the southeast
part of town adjacent to an Air Force Base this base contributes heavily
to the economy in Midwest City our location needs to be convenient to the
base and retail areas nearby. Another reason to move our practice: The new housing
market in Midwest City is almost exclusively to the east of our cur- rent location.
When we studied the demographics of our current patients, we found that these housing
areas were home to the majority of our patients.
Since our office is part of a complex,
it's difficult to distinguish our office as its own business. Our current building
is 29-years-old and beginning to show its age due to the architectural style of
the building. With our new building, we will have much better curb appeal and visibility,
as it will house only our office and will be distinguishable from the street. In
addition, as owners of the new office, we will be free to make improvements and
landscape the grounds to enhance the visibility and appeal of our office.
Finding the perfect location
Once we decided to move, our next
step was to find the right
location. Since most of the new growth in Midwest City (both residential and business)
is to the east and south of our current location, we started our search in that
direction. Two miles to our east, Douglas Boulevard is a main north-south road that
is quickly developing into a busy commercial area for retail stores and professionals.
Because this is currently the hottest
growth area in our community, we found that available land was limited and very
expensive. So, we shifted our focus one mile farther east to Post Road, where we
ultimately decided to move. Several pieces of property in this area were available
in prime locations at reasonable prices. In fact, a four-acre plot directly across
from Midwest City's newest high school caught our eye. In addition, three new dental
just to the north of our lot, and a new learning center is being built in the same
style as our office immediately to the south. These businesses help to establish
this as a professional area in our city.
Locking up land and financing
The land we were interested in was
a four-acre lot. An investor purchased the land for his learning center but only
needed half of it. We heard from our realtor that he was very concerned about the
type of business that would be next to his new learning center. In fact, we found
out he refused several purchase offers from businesses, such as car lots and convenience
stores, even though the owners of these establishments were willing to meet or exceed
his purchase price.
Before we called to inquire about
the land, we went to the county assessor Web site to determine the purchase history
of the property. We were able to tell when the aforementioned investor purchased
the land and for what price, so we knew what would be a fair offer. We contacted
the investor and let him know we were a privately owned group optometry practice
interested in purchasing the available property. He said he felt very comfortable
having a professional group next to his proposed learning center. This made negotiations
simple and painless. The end result: We were able to purchase the property for substantially
less than his initial asking price and for less than market value due to the professional
nature of our business.
Three or four months passed between
the time we agreed on a purchase price with the investor
and the actual purchase of the land. This is because the land had been zoned residential
and needed to be rezoned as commercial before we could make the purchase official.
The investor handled this process, as our agreed upon purchase price was contingent
upon the successful rezoning of the property.
this time, various workers carried out land surveys, soil samples, water table levels,
chemical testing and inspections on the property. Meanwhile, we began the process
of financing the building. As a well-established business in Midwest City, it was
not difficult to find banks and lenders willing to fund our project. Several lenders
contacted us offering financing. Since rates were consistent from lender to lender,
we ultimately decided on a lender based on convenience. We also had several patients
who work at the bank we decided to use.
The lender required financial information
on our business and personal tax returns as well. Because only two of the four doctors
that own Vision Source Midwest City will have ownership of the new building, we
established a property manage- ment company to own the new building. So, a lease
agreement was required between Vision Source Midwest City and the property management
company that would own the building.
Planning the practice interior
Much thought went into the layout
and design of the new office. We knew what we liked and didn't like about our current
location, but we also wanted other perspectives. We visited several newer optometric
offices in the area to get a starting point for our office. We took a camera and
started touring, taking pictures and asking questions at offices around the state.
We looked at lighting, room size, floor plans, architectural details, patient flow,
building materials and color schemes. We also visited with the doctors of these
locations and inquired about what was working well in their practices and what was
not. We asked these practitioners if patient flow functioned as they expected, if
the layout worked well and what they would change if they could do it over again.
From these visits, we were able to
establish a working model for our new office building. We started with a list of
everything we wanted in the new office including rooms and equipment. This allowed
an approximate size for our building. Using large sheets of graph paper, we cut
"rooms" to scale to place on poster board. This enabled us to try different layouts,
see how each would fit in the new building and how they would affect patient flow.
We tried multiple building shapes and floor plans to determine the best fit for
our practice. Once we established a general layout, we used a computer program that
we downloaded from the Internet to draw the building to scale. Then, we selected
an architect and engineer and passed these drawings on as a baseline.
In Chapter two, we'll discuss our
process of selecting an architect, engineers and a builder. (Incidentally, we decided
to switch builders before any construction was even started.) We will also share
some of the unexpected difficulties that we ran into early on in the
construction process. Delays are the name of the game!
Optometric Management, Issue: February 2007