Elevate your curb appeal in 3 (easy) steps

August 4, 2017
Katie James, dvm360 Associate Content Specialist
Katie James, dvm360 Associate Content Specialist

Katie James is an Associate Content Specialist for UBM Animal Care. She produces and edits content for dvm360.com and its associated print publications, dvm360 magazine, Vetted and Firstline. She has a passion for creating highly-engaging content through the use of new technology and storytelling platforms. In 2018, she was named a Folio: Rising Star Award Honoree, an award given to individuals who are making their mark and disrupting the status quo of magazine media, even in the early stages of their careers. She was also named an American Society of Business Publication Editors Young Leader Scholar in 2015. Katie grew up in the Kansas City area and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism. Outside of the office her sidekick is an energetic Australian cattle dog mix named Blitz.

You take pride in the quality medicine you practice. Now it's time to show it in the first, or 400th, impression you present to clients. Turn the practice that gives you slight pangs of embarrassment when people come to see it into the sparkling gem it is. Just follow these three steps from Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB, of Animal Arts in Boulder, Colorado.

Step one: Walk the perimeter

Take a stroll around your building. Really. Get up, look at your exterior and answer these questions:

> Is the paint faded or peeling?

> Is your sign dirty or damaged?

> Are your plants dead?

> Do you see debris or trash in the parking lot?

> Do the exterior light fixtures and parking lot lights work?

Designs to drool over

Need some #DesignInspo before you tackle your own projects? Find thousands of pictures in our online design galleries by visiting dvm360.com/hdgalleries.

Because this practice is your baby and it's hard to be objective (we get it), it's even better to enlist a friend who won't be afraid to tell you the answers and give you an honest opinion.

While you walk the property, trash any garbage or debris you see. If you're unimpressed with the exterior you've got, get some inspiration for your new look in our gallery of veterinary hospital exteriors by visiting dvm360.com/hdext.

Don't forget to snap a “before” picture in this step. You'll happily compare it at the end. We promise.

Set yourself up for success

These tips will get you started, but ideally you'd spread this work over a few weeks or even months. Don't lose steam after step one! We're here to help. Sign up for our FREE email program “3 Steps to Improve Your Curb Appeal and Attract Veterinary Clients” for even more helpful hints from Heather Lewis, AIA, and email reminders and encouragement. Visit dvm360.com/hdcurb to sign up.

Step two: Pick one thing and do it

Plan and execute a significant touch to your building exterior:

> Repaint your building.

> Clean and fix your existing light fixtures-or install new ones.

> Clean your signage-or invest in a new one.

> Update your awnings, if applicable.

Melrose Animal Clinic before their remodel. | Tim Murphy, Murphy Foto Imagery

Pictures of Melrose Animal Hospital in Melrose, Massachusetts, illustrate a "modern" remodel that includes a lot inside (check the window changes for one). But, for the exterior's sake, look at the difference a new coat of paint and an awning swap makes in creating the new, more modern look.

Melrose Animal Clinic after their remodel. | Tim Murphy, Murphy Foto Imagery

Don't have a huge budget? No problem.

Dan Chapel, AIA, NCARB, a Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Conference educator says you can accomplish a ton with only $5,000. Put that money where it will do the most good-around your front door. Make sure your landscaping looks nice and your sidewalk is clean and unblemished. Perhaps upgrade your door itself or buy a logoed door mat. For more from Chapel on a tight remodel budget, watch the full video visit dvm360.com/5kbudget.

A relatively small cleaning job or one special update above could make a huge difference in the appearance of your building-without rebuilding your building.

Step three: Show off your green thumb

Now, we're looking at Mother Nature's gift to your practice-the landscaping-as well as the start to everyone's trip into your hospital, the entryway.

It's time to:

> Remove urine-soaked or dead bushes.

> Add planters or new bushes.

> Clean your floor mats-better yet, buy a new one for each day and rotate them.

> If you have a vestibule, give it a nice coat of paint and think about installing a seating bench to make it a functional space.

BelaCoop Animal Hospital in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, transformed their vestibule into a cheery seating area. | Tim Murphy, Murphy Foto Imagery

Now-don't forget to take your “after” picture of your spruced-up space! You suitably impressed? We thought so.