A quick look at your site and building creates clients' and community members' first and last impressions of your practice—and
influences their assessment of the service and medical care you offer. So it's important for your building's exterior, sign,
drives, parking lot, and landscaping to project a positive image.
Keep in mind, this is an issue even if you're remodeling, rather than building new. You may have given curb appeal careful
consideration when you built the practice, but over time most facilities need an update. Here's how to do it in three easy
1. Decide what image you want. For example, you might strive for warm and homey or sophisticated and technical. Consider tapping
an expert in this area, such as an architect, designer, or landscaper and paying an hourly fee to brainstorm ideas.
2. Take photos of your site and building. Looking at photos allows a more impersonal view of your facility. You'll often see
features—both good and bad—that are easily overlooked during a physical walk-through. I recommend reviewing the photos away
from the clinic. Here's what you'll critique:
- your site plan, including access, signage, parking, landscape, and street appeal
- the building entry's access and traffic flow
- overall building aesthetics
- exterior building finish materials
- landscape design and materials.
3. Make a list of suggestions for improvements, future repairs, or alterations that will help fulfill your practice goals
or improve your practice's image. Use this list to guide you as you decide what needs to be updated and prioritize your projects.
As you evaluate your site and landscaping, think of the outdoor area as another room of your practice. Consider features and
amenities that would make this room a functional place, such as a marked pet potty area and exterior lighting. And make sure
you eliminate any eyesores. Even a small change, like moving a large trash bin from to the front of the practice to an inconspicuous
area can make a marked difference in your practice's curb appeal.
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Daniel D. Chapel, AIA, owns Chapel Associates Architects Inc. in Little Rock, Ark.