It can be daunting to take the leap and build your own veterinary clinic.
It can be daunting for any professional to take the leap and start their own business however, with the right team of professionals, it can be a relatively straightforward undertaking. Whilst you may have confidence in your ability to build your veterinary team, you may not be as comfortable putting together a team to design and build a veterinary clinic.
Find the Right Commercial Real Estate Broker
A Commercial Real Estate Broker should be one of the first professionals engaged to help with finding the ideal property for your new clinic. The Broker should be able to provide a market analysis to help identify potential properties and help you narrow down the budget required for the lease or purchase of a property. However, one of the first things your Real Estate Broker will need to know is how much space or how large of a property you need.
Engage an Experienced Veterinary Architect
This is where the next key team member can help. By working with an experienced Veterinary Architect when you begin to search for a property, you can set yourself up for success by minimising time and expense when it comes to building – which is essential to every budget-critical start-up.
A Veterinary Architect has a number of essential roles throughout the process of your new veterinary clinic design and build.
1. Pre-Design Services
Your Architect’s pre-design services should include both Needs Assessment and Feasibility Studies. As part of a Needs Assessment, your Architect should provide you with a veterinary-specific design questionnaire that asks all the relevant questions about your intended business. From this information, your project brief is designed.
Once the project brief is established, your Architect can then accurately estimate how much lease space or land is needed to suit your intended operational requirements. An accurate estimate of what is needed will quickly narrow the search by your Real Estate Broker.
Your Architect can then help evaluate the right-sized properties as part of a Feasibility Study. This process helps confirm the suitability of specific properties for your start-up and assists in determining the potential costs involved in building your practice. There can be a broad variation in costs to fit out different properties and a Feasibility Study will help to identify the major costs to be expected, in addition to how well they may be suited to veterinary practice use.
2. Cost Saving Design Ideas from your Architect
Another benefit to working with an Architect experienced in start-up veterinary practices is their ability to suggest cost-saving design ideas, which will help to minimise the cost of the build and maximise the revenue-generating potential for any given size clinic. It is important for every start-up not to “over-build”.
Controlling the cost of the build starts with the Needs Assessment discussed earlier, as it establishes the size of the clinic that you need. Your Architect’s concept design also has the potential to impact construction costs and potential income by optimising space usage, maximising revenue-generating areas, and minimising non-revenue-generating areas – yet another reason to have an Architect who is experienced in the design of veterinary clinics.
3. Achieving the right balance between quality of build and cost
Lastly, during the detailed design stage, it’s important to strike the right balance between the quality of materials to minimise initial costs, while still delivering a facility that will be both easy to maintain and suitable for the intended purpose. An experienced Veterinary Architect can advise on the trade-offs between the relative cost of materials versus their performance.
The key is to find the RIGHT Architect
When considering a new build, be sure to pre-qualify and interview your Architect as you would anyone you are going to employ. Scrutinise their specific, relevant experience, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The Architect should serve as a trusted adviser to support you throughout the design and build, so if they are unwilling or unable to explain the process in a way you can understand, they may not be the right fit for your project. Success starts with building the right team.