Post 7: Finish
Hi, welcome to our final blog post detailing the construction of our brand new 8 chair purpose built dental facility. We have now moved in. We’ve written a recap of the process below along with photos.
On Monday 13th January, we moved my first ever dental practice (which I bought back in 2008) into its own custom built premises. This is the third location it’s been in. We started off as a small one chair practice in the Raceview shops and grew to our current four chair location across the road from that original location. We have been there for the last nine years.
We signed a ten year lease thinking that’s how long it would take us to outgrow it. 4 years into the lease it became obvious that we would soon outgrow our four chairs. A piece of land became available at the busiest intersection in the suburb opposite a very popular tavern. We bought the corner land and then bought two more pieces of land either side of the corner block.
We decided to go for a large 8 chair facility and get approval from council. We were advised at a pre-lodgment meeting with council that going much bigger would not be supported by council. Because of the zoning, we needed 38 carparks and that took up a large amount of land. We still have a large piece of land leftover which we have gained approval to build two duplexes and a house. The carparks are based on the number of practitioners operating at once. The architects and town planners were confident that they could create a case for less carparks but we decided to keep this number so all our staff and patients would have plenty of parking. Across our practices, many of our competitors lose patients to us, citing poor parking at their former practices. The carpark itself, cost us $315,000 to build.
On the day we moved in, we had seen over 35,000 unique patients at our practice.
My aim is definitely to be my own landlord in as many of my practices as possible. We own two of the premises of our practices so far and are actively looking for more land to move our practices into.
Our architect was Mark Gibson who was very good. Internal concept plan was done by Antony Poate but when the plans came out of council ready for next stage of internal detailing, Antony’s workload was too big to suit our timeframe. He had warned us of this possibility. Mark Mckibbin did our internal design and detailed drawings. We were extremely happy with both him and Antony.
Optima were successful in the tender process and we have been extremely happy with the result and the service. No bullshit, I hadn’t stepped foot on the land since we bought it to AFTER the building was basically finished. As you all know, I am all about delegation because I want peace of mind and value my time and by using a company that had done this before and was confident of delivering a great result, it took all the stress out of it for me. Don’t get me wrong, there were hiccups, as there will be with any build but they were dealt with quickly and without any headaches on my part.
Funding was through Jason Savage at Medfin and he has always been mega easy to deal with. They have a great solution and some great options for people who are looking to do builds like this and have a successful running business already. Anyone who is looking to do similar, no matter where you are in Australia, I strongly recommend contacting him.
A final word, perhaps more on the emotional side of business. Í don’t want to mis-inform or mislead anyone. This post may be inspirational to some and that’s great.
But understand the following.
What you see in the photos is literally the realization of a goal I set myself. It is the product of 10 years of amazing luck and success with very little adversity (as a result of lots of fortunate events). Financially, this has allowed us to be in a position of relative strength which has completely de-risked this for us. Although I kept in mind the fact that it exists in one of the lowest socioeconomic areas in the country, and I didn’t want it to offend our patient base and potential new patients, during the planning phases I told myself that we would try not to worry too much about cost.
None of my other practices look like this. In my seminars, I teach people to take a minimalist approach to start ups and its what I’ve done myself for many years to reduce risk. In some years I had done 4 startups in the year. In this practice for example, the staff shower and toilet area is BIGGER than the entire staff room at the old premises. The staff area is as much a reward to my loyal staff who have been with me for a number of years as it is to myself. Somewhere we can all hang out and relax and have fun.
This is not a build I recommend to clients or friends starting out. If you have an established business that has great cash flow, then I definitely recommend outlaying on your own premises and doing a custom ground up build. I have seen a build similar to this done (two story 3 chairs with other medical tenancies on ground floor) as a startup in a suburb about 30 mins north of Brisbane city, go bankrupt within 6 months of opening. The bank moved in and seized the property. I bought 3 brand new chairs and conebeam and steri equipment off the bank for 10-20cents in the dollar of RRP. Basically, don’t over capitalize.
If you have enjoyed this post or it has been helpful, please share, like or comment below.
Our next practice ownership seminar is coming up in Sydney on the 28th and 29th of March 2020. These seminars have sold out in previous years so please register ASAP.
We also offer expert guidance in various areas of practice ownership. Please see the below link for more information.