Affordable remodeling strategies that help attract new clients

Affordable remodeling strategies that help attract new clients

Jun 05, 2005

Your hospital's physique needs to reflect your practice philosophy. So if you're providing buff care—and your practice looks a little flabby—it's time to invest in some improvements. The good news: Polishing up the practice's appearance may be cheaper and easier than you think. Best of all, this is your opportunity to create an environment that better supports your medical goals and provides greater comfort to humans and animals.

"But I can't afford much," I hear you thinking. Of course, every practice will have a different definition of "affordable." But regardless of your budget, you'll want to focus on the elements that offer the best return on your investment. Here are key areas where simple improvements yield dramatic results:

  • Entry and reception. Just as an unkempt restaurant makes customers worry about what's happening in the kitchen, an outdated reception area makes clients less confident about the care their pets receive. First impressions count—new furniture; updated fixtures; and modern, professional signage send the proper message.

If you're short on space and long on clutter, you also might want to switch to electronic record keeping. Besides cutting back on stacks of paper, moving to electronic records opens the option of checking clients in and out in the exam rooms, freeing your reception team to focus more on greeting clients and creating a quiet, uncluttered environment.

If you have a smaller budget, consider limiting your reception remodel to finishes only. Repaint with a cheery, coordinated paint scheme, reface your cabinets with laminates to compliment the look you establish, replace your flooring, and add new task lighting over the reception desk. Your contractor can give you an idea of what it will cost to update your finishes. If your reception area needs a more dramatic fix that involves re-configuring walls, you'll need help from an architect to develop an approach that's in line with your budget.
  • Exam rooms. Your clients develop lasting impressions of your team and the services you offer based on their experiences in the exam room. So it's worth designing exam rooms that comfort clients and patients, compliment your medical practice, and function efficiently.

If your budget will allow, look at ways to add one or two additional exam rooms. Adding exam rooms may allow you to see more clients or take on another veterinarian in your practice. If you must limit your remodel to your current space, look for ways to make your exam rooms more appealing to clients. Of course, you can replace worn finishes. Also consider converting one of your traditional exam rooms into a consultation room, and furnish it with comfortable seating and softer lighting.

  • Treatment area. You want changes in your treatment area to increase efficiency and allow you to offer more and better medical services. After all, cutting wait times and offering a wider range of care could attract new clients. One idea: If you don't currently provide dental services, rework your treatment area to include a dental alcove. Or rework your space so you can have an ultrasound room.

You can also increase efficiency in treatment areas by reconfiguring the space. Let's pretend you're planning a kitchen remodel: How many steps do you want to take to the refrigerator? Now come back to your treatment area. Could you be saving steps anywhere? Is the space organized well? Think of each workstation as an ergonomic environment and design tool storage, adjacent shelves, and floor space for maximum efficiency. Often, practitioners find that re-configuring the treatment space to make it more efficient frees up room for an additional treatment station. And clearly, achieving greater efficiency and capacity can help to justify the expense of remodeling a medical area.

  • Animal housing. Pet owner trends show increased demand for high-quality boarding and daycare services. If your clients are looking for boarding services, you may want to upgrade your boarding facility. Boarding can be a moneymaker that reinforces clients' loyalty.

Develop a low-cost strategy As you plan your remodel, use these strategies to keep costs down: