By Mary E. Boname, OD, MS, FAAO
Renovating your office can improve the patient experience, but careful planning is required.
DECIDE: Set goals for renovation.
BUDGET: Anticipate needed spend.
RENOVATE: No need for added space.
HIRE: Invest in help like project manager.
After eight years or making do with our old space, we conducted a $40,000 renovation. The process was trying, but the payoff is big. We’re working in a wonderful new environment the staff loves. And we’ve seen an uptick in optical sales and the general perception that patients have of the level of care and service we provide. Patients LOVE our new look. They are spending more time in the dispensary and they are spending more money in the dispensary. It feels “elegant” and “spa-like.”
The practice I have created is focused on providing in-depth, one-on-one care for patients to create a personalized experience. I am always thinking of ways to make that experience more satisfying for patients. While I wanted to enhance the office, I also wanted to ensure I met the goals I had in mind and that I kept as close to budget as possible.
The optical dispensary was renovated to include soft lighting and furniture with a paneled, custom look.
Decide on Renovation Goals
The goal of the renovation was to create a more sumptuous and elegant environment in which to provide eyecare and eyewear to my patients. We felt that the office needed architectural details like crown molding, a coffered ceiling, “panels” that we added onto our existing furniture to create a more custom-built look and feel, and replacing all fluorescent lights with LED lighting.
If you rent your office space, as we do, the needs or preferences of your landlord also will come into play. Our landlord was happy to see us reinvest in their real estate. They have agreed to upgrade our front and rear doors.
Our budget was around $40,000. We did go a bit over-budget, but we believe in the success of our 16-year-old practice, and re-investing in the office has already proven to be a terrific idea! To give us as much financial leeway as possible, we took a loan for the renovation. I expect it may take 18-24 months to recoup the money we invested in the renovation.
You Can Renovate Without Adding More Space
The office is 1,567 square feet, and the renovations did not involve an expansion. My favorite change is the architectural detail, the coffered ceiling and the new LED lights. We also added some flush-mount chandeliers.
The ceiling was renovated to create a coffered look with a new chandelier added.
Hire Project Manager, Stay Involved
We didn’t encounter any difficulties with regard to permits and approval. Even though we hired a project manager, the renovations required us to be vigilant and involved. Expect delays such as the one we ran into when our carpeting was backordered (it came from a European vendor). The office was closed for a week at the end of July so that major part of the renovation could begin.
We were open for five weeks while the renovations continued. Thankfully, my patients were very understanding during the transitional phase, and everyone is complimenting us on our new image!
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A view into the renovated optical shop through a window decorated to highlight the fall season.