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    Be a real estate winner

    How knowledge of real estate can help maximize your profitability.

    Let’s start with some basics: 

    1. Unless you own a mobile clinic, you will need an office space to see patients 

    2. A practice’s office lease or mortgage is typically it's second-highest expense 

    3. In today’s economy, maximizing profitability is essential for most practices to stay in business 

    Now let’s dig in further. If you own a practice, you most likely have an office. That office carries with it many expenses—the most obvious is the monthly rent or mortgage. With an office space also comes staff and payroll as well. These two items are not only needed to have a practice, but are also the two highest expenses for most practices. However, only one of them is really negotiable. You may decide to cut staff, but when it comes to payroll, you either pay people what they are valued at, or they go somewhere that will pay them. 

    Related reading: Debt advice for young dentists

    Control what you can: Real estate

    Real estate is, however, 100 percent negotiable. You can decide if you want to be in an office building, retail center or medical office building. You can decide if you lease or own. You can determine the size, location and amenities your space will offer. You can choose to be in a stand-alone or multi-tenant building. You can determine the length of lease, concessions you ask for, economic terms, business terms, etc. 

    So if real estate is your second highest expense behind payroll—and if there are so many options and choices to make when it comes to your office space—how can you minimize your expenses? 

    Related article: The biggest mistakes dentists make: Living above your means

    Front officeTo start, you need to understand how the game is played. As a healthcare professional, the playing field is not level. You are a healthcare professional who might engage in two to six commercial transactions in your career. Most landlords and sellers negotiate professionally for a living. You specialize in your field; they specialize in their field. If the outcome was based upon understanding medicine or providing a health-related service, you would probably win. 

    However, the commercial transaction process and outcome are based upon comprehensive real estate market knowledge, authoritative posturing and negotiation expertise. Winning requires having more options, understanding the correct timing, posture and negotiation tactics that landlords use, and, in many cases, being able to withstand the stress and conflict that many landlords and sellers use to exploit unsophisticated tenants and buyers. 

    Let’s focus on a few of these concepts. If you start the transaction at the wrong time, you lose leverage and posture. If you don’t know the market, you are simply begging or bluffing. If you can’t handle conflict, you will most likely receive even more pressure and stress from the landlord or seller. This may make you uncomfortable and force you into making a decision that you will regret. 

    Even if you could overcome all of these, without professional representation you are going to be viewed as a novice, and are therefore not going to receive the respect that is necessary to achieve the most favorable terms available. 

    Related reading: 10 ways to help your dental practice compete now and in the future

    Up next: What to do when everything is against you winning

    Colin Carr
    Carr Healthcare Realty is the nation’s leading provider of commercial real estate services for healthcare tenants and buyers. Every ...


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