This post is part of a series on private practice issues that appearing on Fridays in the leadup to a series of workshops (based on my book Private Practice Made Simple) taking place in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Edmonton in March 2012 (information here).
So you want to find your first private practice office, or it’s time to move to a new space. The first time I did this, I wound up with dozens of post-it notes stuffed into my laptop case with details on square footage, costs, what taxes are included, whether there was a gym in the building, and so on. Half the notes didn’t actually spell out which of the available offices they referred to.
Someday I really should get an ADD assessment.
Anyway. Looking for new space is inevitably challenging. You can remember some of the important details (“How much does it cost?”) but others will only occur to you on the fly, or might occur to you once the rental agent has said her goodbyes and vanished ("Wait - did that rental rate include services?").
So it’s a good idea to have a form that you can use to evaluate each of the spaces you look at. The form will remind you what to ask, and you can keep all of the information on a given unit in one place.
Just the fact that you have a form will be useful: Rental agents see that you are organized and that you plan to look at more than one space. If they want to get you for a tenant, they’re going to have to look sharp and offer a competitive deal.
In Private Practice Made Simple (New Harbinger Publications, 2011) I describe some of the important considerations when viewing possible space, and there’s an online form that complements that section. But you can get the form at our website www.changeways.com with or without the book. The direct link to the form is here.
The form is divided into two sections: The Building and The Suite.
The section on the building includes considerations such as transit locations, parking, zoning, quality of the public areas, noise levels, disabled access, washrooms, hours of opening, the after-hours entry system, signage, the recycling and refuse system, and the identity of the neighbours.
The section on the suite itself provides space for you to record the square footage (or meters), the number of rooms, and the overall rental rate. Be careful about these - in many buildings the square footage quoted includes a percentage of the common areas (e.g., hallways, lobby), not just the area inside the suite itself. There are also spaces for you to note and comment on the maintenance fee, the waiting room, the reception area, the consulting rooms, the interior doors, the soundproofing, the heating, the windows, the ceiling, the lights, the interior walls, the renovations required, and the neighbours' reviews of the management company.
* * *
Want more information on operating a private psychotherapy practice?
Check out my book Private Practice Made Simple. It contains information on starting a practice, creating a space, designing a website, getting referrals, managing finances, avoiding burnout, and much more.