Partnering and Location

Decide on type of practice – alone/with partner(s)/with chiro/with MD
This is another important decision. On your own, you are the boss, and you get to keep all the rewards. But, you also shoulder all the cost and responsibility, and as they say, “it can be lonely at the top.” You also lose any chance to “leverage” your time by having others share the considerable overhead (fixed cost) of running a practice. Partners allow you to refer patients, and cover each other for holidays. But partnerships can be difficult too unless the responsibilities are clearly spelled out in an agreement. Another solution is to go into a cost-sharing arrangement with your fellow practitioners. Be very clear as to whether you are an employee or an independent contractor.

Rent space or "split"?
Some new practitioners choose to join up with an existing clinic either by paying a fixed monthly rent for the space, or by splitting their gross billings with the clinic owner. Rents can often be arranged on a daily or monthly basis, and the "split" can range from 50:50 to 70:30 with the clinic owner getting 30 per cent of gross billings in the latter case. It's a good idea to check with your lawyer, tax advisor and your provincial/state organization before entering into an agreement of this sort. You should also be aware that, should you decide to leave, the clinic owner may try to restrict your access to patient files and also where you may open your new clinic. Make sure these terms in the agreement are not too restrictive, and be aware that you will probably lose a substantial portion of your patient base.

Decide location – what province or state
Location, location, location. This could be the most important choice you make when opening a clinic. Federal and provincial government websites have excellent information on the demographics of where populations are growing. Consider the patient potential when looking at locations.

Refine location – what part of city or rural location
Consider your market and your competition. Do you want to open across the street from a medical clinic? Look at psychographics – most patients are women in the middle/upper middle income bracket. Do they reside near your clinic? Conversely, is there a lack of doctors in the area? This will be a benefit to your practice. Begin to develop a business plan including financing needs.

Search for and negotiate suitable location
Based on your demographic and psychographic research find a location(s) that matches your research and meet with property managers to determine if the location meets your clinic needs and budget. Here is an excellent checklist for your office space planning. Once completed, this will help your commercial realtor in finding an ideal location for your clinic.

  • Check with your city for zoning requirements
    Make sure your location is zoned for a medical practice. This is particularly important if you intend to operate from your home. You will probably also be subject to local business taxes.
  • Contractor for leasehold improvement
    Ask around and try to meet with previous customers.
  • Lawyer reviews lease
  • Utilities installed - heat, electricity
    You may be required to come up with a deposit as a business customer.
  • Advertise for office receptionist
  • Obtain a phone number from phone company
    Try to keep your own number even if you are working in an established clinic. Most phones can be set to forward the call.