by Richard Rogovin, DC
The most important thing to remember is that since
you are starting out on a limited budget you don't want to get too deep
in debt. You already have your school loans etc. So the best way to get
started in an office is to take over one someone else left. If you are in
an area medium to large, that should be no problem at all. So I scouted
the area looking for offices for rent. I looked in the classifieds. I drove
all around the area where a lot of the doctors have offices.
I found an office in a small strip center near
a major intersection. Remember you don't want to be at the end of town in
either direction unless people commute by you every day. That's what they
do in my case. It had 1200 square feet and was an Aluminum siding selling
place where they sat in the office making cold calls. There were 4 offices
inside already built out. There was no reception area to speak of just an
open area with a ledge in front. However the carpet and wallpaper were only
6 months old. The rent was only $4.50 a square foot!! So I took it. By the
way the landlord has only raised it once by $30 monthly in 10 years. I had
a carpenter come in and build the wall separating the area which would be
the reception area from the business office. I am useless with construction
skills so if you have them it will be even cheaper for you. I had drapes
put in the front window.
Now for the furniture. You should never buy new
furniture on a limited budget. Look in the classifieds for used furniture.
I went to a mortgage company that had gone under. I bought a nice secretary
desk and return and my office desk and a dozen chairs all for $500. I had
a good table from school and I checked around with local DCs and bought
used tables and an ems machine.
Now for the x-ray. That is the one piece of equipment
that I recommend you get new unless you know how to really judge if a used
one will work well and how long etc. And you have to lease it. Its fully
deductible and yes you pay a lot out but it pays for itself a hundred times
over inconvenience for patient's and revenue etc. Get the processor in the
lease deal. Play x-ray leasing companies against each other to get the best
deal. My wife cosigned for me as she had a job and well I didn't.
Get a yellow page column ad not a big display one.
The best way is to be in a suburb of a big city.
The people in the suburb use the big book from the city. In the column ad
you use all black letters with the name of your area in it. People use the
yellow page for the AREA they are in not necessarily for shopping doctors.
I know this because my ad came out before I had an office and I was getting
3 or 4 calls a week. I had it hooked to an answering machine telling them
to wait which of course most didn't.
I had a wooden sign put up because I couldn't afford
a lit sign so I put a spotlight near it.
I broke even after 4 months and went on from there.