How often does a knock on the door make your dream come true? Once was enough for Drs. James McGill and Linda Miller, two veterinarians who worked in separate practices north of Seattle. Despite a virtually invisible location, Dr. McGill's 2,300-square-foot leasehold was growing 30 percent each year. And Dr. Miller wanted to offer 24-hour care, but a surgical hospital rented the facility during the day. Both doctors wanted new hospitals, but the cost held them back.
Q. I want to move my veterinary practice from a strip-mall leasehold to an adjacent property that the mall owner recently bought to expand the shopping center. I can either rent a larger leasehold in the new shopping center or lease part of the land. Is it wise for me to lease the land while owning the freestanding building on it?
When you mention Colorado, most people picture spectacular views. But from their tiny strip-mall leasehold, staff members at Centennial Valley Animal Hospital in Louisville, Colo., could barely see the parking lot, much less the Rocky Mountains beyond.
Drivers passing East Lake Veterinary Hospital in Dallas do a doubletake when they see dogs running across the roof of the facility. To offer obedience training in her new practice, owner Dr. Karen Ann Fling added a 2,500-square-foot roof deck. This amenity garners plenty of attention, especially when training classes are in full swing.
Whether you're building a new facility or updating your hospital, don't overlook wall finishes. Wayne Usiak, AIA, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and principal of BDA Architecture PC in Albuquerque, N.M., suggests you consider these options for your practice:
When one McDonald's restaurant faced a space dilemma, the owner tore down a wall--and made the building smaller. This may seem like the wrong approach, but the squeeze forced employees to examine traffic flow and suggest improvements. With less space to work, the owner knew everyone would become more efficient.
You know the benefits of offering a complete in-house lab. You--and anxious pet owners--can get quick answers on complex cases, and you can begin treatment immediately rather than hospitalizing the patient until you receive test results the next morning. In addition, owning high-tech gadgets lets you practice high-quality medicine.