High-traffic locations are an obvious choice when selecting the premises for your new healthcare practice. Major shopping centres and smaller, local shopping complexes provide high visibility for your clinic, with large numbers of people passing by. While the location makes for a ready-made patient base, fitting out your shopping centre-based practice is not without its challenges.
We discuss our top three tips when considering a shopping centre fitout for your dental, medical or allied health practice:
Selecting a tenancy in a shopping centre comes with many complexities, particularly concerning the design and fit out of your practice. Most shopping complexes have strict design and construction guidelines that must be followed by lessees.
Before you even sign your lease, you should engage a fitout company to conduct a site visit to ensure your proposed premises meet your practice requirements. Depending on your location, most companies will conduct this initial site visit for free. It’s also important that the provider you select has extensive experience in fitting out healthcare practices and working in a shopping centre environment. This will save you many headaches, delays, and additional construction expenses down the track.
There can also be some parts of the building work that the shopping centre will do on your behalf. You will, of course, be charged for these services, so it’s a case of knowing what the costs will be.
Once you have appointed your fitout provider of choice, their in-house design team will create design drawings for you to review. We can also liaise with your designer if you have one. Once these drawings are finalised, they typically need to be submitted to shopping centre management for approval. It is only once the design is approved that your fitout company will gain access to your tenancy for works to commence.
While being situated in a shopping complex provides plenty of passers-by, it’s important that you make an impact with your shop frontage to draw new patients in. How your clinic looks from the outside can have a huge impact on what potential patients think about your business. If your shop front is inviting and professional, it’s a great advertisement of the type of practice you are running. Sometimes depending on the location, you just need to grab their attention.
You’ll often only have one wall as frontage. Large windows and glass doors in your façade are great ways to attract the attention of passers-by and to showcase your practice. This may provide the impetus to book an appointment. If privacy is important to your patients, frosted windows offer a balance between privacy, lighting and style. You can even incorporate your branding into the window frosting.
Shopping centre tenancies are often smaller compared to stand-alone premises, so it’s important that you make the most of every square metre of space that you have.
Consider incorporating dual-use rooms, so they can be used for multiple functions. For example, many medical clinics incorporate their sterilisation areas into their treatment rooms, utilising otherwise empty bench space.
Another option employed by some practices is to co-locate the staff refreshment area within an office space that is not in constant use. Alternatively, you may decide not to include a staff room at all. Your staff may prefer to spend their breaks visiting the food and retail outlets within broader shopping centre environment.
You can also save space by not including bathroom facilities within your practice and instead utilise the shared facilities available within the shopping complex.
Having secured premises in part of a village shopping centre complex, Clifton Family Dental appointed Elite Fitout Solutions to design and fitout their new practice.
Before beginning work on the fitout, the Elite team took the time to listen to the practice owner’s vision, which centred around an open environment so patients wouldn’t feel claustrophobic.
The owner also wanted to attract walk-by traffic by leveraging a glass frontage that allows people passing by to see into the practice.
The glass façade promoted an open feeling and assists with attracting the attention from passers-by. The colour palette was chosen to be warm and friendly to enhance the inviting feel that formed such a central part of the owner’s vision.
Are you considering relocating to or opening up a practice in a shopping centre? Our in-house design team and fitout specialists can help you with every step of the process. Call us today on 1300 765 344.