Top things to consider before a dental office remodel

December 17, 2014

Would you ask a patient to invest in veneers before treating their dental pain? Not likely! Nor would you have your car painted if it needed a transmission, brakes, tires and a front-end alignment. So, why would you consider refreshing your office (fit and finish) without first addressing the challenges that have evolved since the days that the carpet was new, the paint was fresh and the wall coverings were in style? 

Would you ask a patient to invest in veneers before treating their dental pain? Not likely! Nor would you have your car painted if it needed a transmission, brakes, tires and a front-end alignment. So, why would you consider refreshing your office (fit and finish) without first addressing the challenges that have evolved since the days that the carpet was new, the paint was fresh and the wall coverings were in style? 

My sense is that, for most people, it’s difficult to visualize a solution that is outside their respective area of expertise. It is also likely that there might be a perception that any solution would be too costly to resolve. 

In all fairness, it would be prudent to ask yourself if it’s worth spending several thousand dollars to improve the appearance of your office and simply resign yourself to living with the “pains” that challenge your every-day existence.

To make matters worse, there is a great likelihood that you will continue to grow- and so will the challenges. At some point you may reach a point of intolerable frustration. However, having spent so much money on those new finishes you might be reluctant to disrupt the office to resolve any new or existent problems. Does any of this sound familiar?

Having helped numerous clients through these practice enhancements, I can honestly say that most challenges have one or more viable solutions, and the cost to implement these solutions is generally modest. The fact is that, the expense should not be the focus. If the design remedy will remove stress and make you work more efficiently, your revenue will increase. In fact, in the majority of cases, the return on investment will far out-weigh the costs associated with the improvement.

Take a moment to visualize the “pains” that you experience on a daily basis. Then try to visualize how much more productive you would be if those “pains” were gone. Could you really put a price on that change? Perhaps not. However, you might be able to project how much more dentistry you could produce with the enhanced environment.   

Related reading: The economics of ergonomics 

In closing, I would like to share a recent experience with a client who was facing these very problems. The condition were so daunting, they were considering relocating the practice- at a hefty expense. We evaluated the challenges and proposed the necessary improvements. Their original budget for finishes grew by only 20%. However, one solution alone allowed for the addition of an operative treatment room. The revenue from that investment alone will pay for all of the other remedies and the new finishes.

For the record, we also accommodated the following: resolved a profound HIPAA issue; increased seating in the waiting area and added a refreshment center; created a space for staff lockers and changing; and created space for a cone beam. Truly, those improvements alone would have been worth the investment. All of this will be completed with one week of down-time, during a pre-scheduled vacation. Worth every penny. 

Garrett Ludwig is president of Diversified Design Technologies, Inc. and specializes in dental office design. His design expertise is best summarized by his company slogan, “Profit By Design”- which speaks to the purpose and intent of creating functional, efficient and fiscally sound design concepts.