Friday, October 11, 2013

New Office Project

The term “growing pains” can refer to a variety of things. It can be applied to a teething baby, a rambunctious teenager, or, in my case, an office expansion and relocation. I had been stuck in a box. My box was small and dated, with low visibility and low traffic. When the opportunity arose to convert an old home on the main drag through town into a dental facility, I pounced on it.

Change can be stressful for many of us, myself included. Having never experienced the building of anything, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. What followed was two different trips to dental equipment manufacturers, mountains of paperwork with the bank, a few lunches with design teams, countless conversations with contractors and subcontractors, many more visits to furniture manufacturers, and daily trips to the new location to monitor the progress (or lack thereof). Coordinating and communicating with so many different people was a daunting task. And let’s not forget there was a business to run with patients to treat in the meantime.

The experience was humbling. I was reminded that no matter how on top of things I was, there was a good chance that someone else along the line would be falling behind. After all, a group can only move together as fast as the slowest person can travel. Another old adage came to mind: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” The seven-week project turned into ten weeks, and it still wasn’t as complete as I wanted it to be. Being a self-described type A, left brain, driven individual brings its benefits and pitfalls.

We have been in the new location for more than a month now. I am pleased with the overall result, but it seems as though the project will never be over. There are constant tweaks to be made. Finishing touches are never really finished. What did I sign up for? Patients have been wowed by the bright, new office. The comfortable, massaging dental chairs with TVs and personal sound systems make it worth it.

As frustrating as this endeavor has been, myself and my staff are proud and happy to be in this facility. But, if you are considering a similar move, be warned: patience is a virtue.

Jason Petkevis, DMD


Anonymous said...


This is the type of blog that got this blog started.
Now you going into detail about what you went through would be invaluable to dentists of all ages.
Showing picture of where you were. Tell us how your small building was "holding you back" from more production. Tell us your mind set of the move.
I would love to know how much per square feet it cost to build out. Where did you go cheap and what did you not compromise.
I am in a building right now that I don't know how long will be here.
I am going to have to do someday and I am not a young dentist.
Did you have to save to start or did the bank finance the whole thing.
How did you wire the place? Did you network the whole place?
How about this personal sound system? What the heck is that?

I think this could be a 3-5 blog thread, that everyone would love.

I want more.

Jason Petkevis, DMD said...

Thanks for your interest in my post! The journey to the new office had a few twists and turns. I had purchased my practice almost 7 years ago. It was a smaller, satellite practice for another doctor. The facility was a 3 chair, 1000 square feet, "open concept" located in the rear of a small professional office complex on a secondary road. My original goal was to be out of the facility in 5 years, but growth proved to be slower than I thought, and I decided to stay a little longer. My style of practice is comprehensive care, and it was difficult to convey the message of quality dentistry in a practice that lacked any "wow" factor. It was not a matter of not being able to accommodate patient volume, it was a lack of privacy, equipment that was antiquated, no area for lab work and poor visibility. One day, I noticed a for lease sign in front of a charming victorian home/office that was on a major thoroughfare. It just so happened that my landlord also owned that space and was willing to let me out of the lease at the old space so that I can upgrade to the new space. I had to act fast, as there was another dentist and 2 other businesses interested in the lease. I had to take a quick leap of faith, because it could be a long time before another space like it would become available.

As far as construction goes, I didn't go cheap anywhere. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wanted to do it right. The entire project was financed with no money down. I worked with my dental supplier who put me in contact with various contractors that work specifically in the dental world. All of the work was done by professionals, wiring and networking included. I put bids out for just about everything. It took a lot of time, but I wanted to be sure I wasn't being taken advantage of. Now, I am the most state of the art office, in a historic location, in a very competitive market. I will say that I set a budget and tried to stick with it. The bank also had budget restrictions, but I help set the parameters. Most everything costs more than I thought it would. I could have gone with cheaper equipment and cut back on some of the fine detailing work like a stone front desk, crown molding, and granite, but if there were ever a time to make the ideal office, this was it.


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