A Practice Relocation – Case Study Approach

by Steve Kanellakis

In January 2004, Dr. Lloyd Pedvis had been operating his practice for approximately 10 years. The practice was located in a medical building in Mississauga, Ontario and was doing well but was soon to reach a new crossroad, which would determine what the practice would look and function like over the next 10 years. The premises’ lease was coming due and a number of important questions were running through Dr. Pedvis’ mind:

1. Are there benefits to relocating the dental practice?

2. How will existing patients feel about a move?

3. Will the benefits of a move outweigh the new costs of constructing a new office?

A colleague of Dr. Pedvis’ recommended Steve Kanellakis of dentalintegrations.com to help evaluate the options that were available. Shortly after, Kanellakis was hired as project manager responsible for executing the project. His role was to:

1. Evaluate the practice;

2. Research perspective growth markets in the clinic’s area;

3. Complete the real estate transaction for the new location;

4. Work with Dr. Pedvis to build the business model for the new practice;

5. Design and build the new practice.

An effective project manager must have a clear understanding of each important element of the project and have the experience to ability to integrate the project in order to achieve the goals of the client.

Dr. Pedvis’ goals were:

1. Locate a suitable high growth community, which would increase the potential for new patients.

2. Place the new practice in a location with significantly improved exposure than the existing practice.

3. Create a new upgraded clinic, which would be viewed positively by existing patients and perspective patients.

Three perspective markets were evaluated in Dr. Pedvis’ trade area. Each one was assigned a demographic profile and a position in terms of the area’s benefits. The search was then on to find the best new location in the area with the best profile and potential. The trick was finding the best location before the competition got to it.

Over the past 15 years in urban Ontario, there has been a clear change in trend of where new practices locate. A significant movement toward retail high exposure locations has taken place. The result is that clinics without significant exposure now have to work harder to attract new patients. It took a number of months before an ideal location was uncovered in an empty field. There was no plaza in place, no ‘for lease’ sign and no signals that a plaza was under construction. Yet, a new plaza was in the works, and soon to be constructed.

“This is where you think our new office should be?” asked Dr. Pedvis and his wife while looking at the empty field.

It is important that the business terms of the offer protect the dentist’s interests and the long-term needs of the practice without taking away from the offer’s success potential.

The next step was building an effective business model. The short, mid-range and long-term goals of the practice were discussed. Decisions were made on how the new practice would be equipped and how it should present to its new market. An assessment was made of the new patient potential of the location. Last but not least, the budget was set.

For Dr. Pedvis’ project, Steve utilized the Integrations design/build team. The design/build team worked in sync ensuring that the design of the new dental clinic would be a match for Dr. Pedvis and the new market that the clinic was being placed in. In addition, the design would have to satisfy the overall goals of the practice as outlined in the business model.

At each stage of the process an evaluation and adjustments were made to the clinic’s design in order to achieve maximum effectiveness and accurate construction costs.

Dr. Pedvis’ goal was to have an upscale facility with a friendly, inviting and relaxing first impression on patients. A soothing spa theme with a number of water elements was chosen. Upon entry patients would see a two-sided salt-water aquarium, which also faced the kids area. A custom cut flagstone waterfall was created with a number of subtle dental acronyms such as the subtle cascading water would symbolize the cleaning process and the base was cut into a subtle smile. These elements would be utilized to add humor to the practice tour. The reception desk was suspended over a bed of river rocks in resin demonstrating the sheen of a running creek. Warm materials and significant wood elements were used to enhance the feeling of the setting.

The latest high quality dental delivery systems and technology was implemented (equipment by Sinclair Dental).

Steve Kanellakis can be contacted through his web site at dentalintegrations.com