So, you’re a physician, medical practitioner, or hospital administrator and you know it’s time to expand your space, add a new location, or upgrade your facilities. Your enterprise needs space to grow, serve more patients, and invest in the future.
But where do you begin? Do you begin with a real estate broker? An architect? A contractor? What about medical real estate developer? The first step is finding a knowledgeable professional who will ask the right questions to uncover your goals and set you on a course to achieve them.
Where do you find the right consultant or development firm? How do you know you are making the right decision?
Hiring a development firm can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task to undertake. Knowing who to trust, how much to pay and why you even need a consultant in the first place can feel like trying to decipher hieroglyphics. But arming yourself with just a little bit of knowledge beforehand can mean the difference between choosing a stellar ADVOCATE who knocks it out of the park or choosing one that drains your time, energy and bank account.
Here’s where to start:
1. Do your research. And no, I do not mean a Google search. Talk with colleagues within the industry and ask around. Who do they trust and who have they used in the past successfully? Recommendations within your industry from seasoned industry veterans will be your first step in choosing the advocate you deserve.
2. Set up an interview. Now that you have a short list of recommended consultants, make appointments to either meet them in person or speak over the phone.
3. Ask these questions: How long have you been in doing what you do? What is your specialization? How many clients do you serve at one time? Do you deal with project management also? What level of support can you realistically see securing for me? Who will actually work on my project? Will I have a seasoned pro working with us on a day-to-day basis or will an intern or junior account executive be assigned to my account? (And trust me, you will want the seasoned pro.) Can you draw up a proposal, detailing the specifics of what you see our project consisting of? How long will this take and how much will that cost me?
4. Ask for references. After your initial meeting or telephone interview, you should have a pretty good idea of the communication skills, personality, aptitude and background of that particular consultant. However, don’t just take their word for it. Consultants are geniuses at polishing up the facts and presenting them wrapped up in a glittery razzmatazz package. That is why references are so important. Ask to see a list of at least 5-10 client references and follow up with a few. Ask how happy they are with that particular consultant or firm and if they would hire them again.
5. Make sure you are on the same page. If you are a physician, make sure the consultant you are looking to hire is experienced with not only how a medical office operates, but in your practice area specifically. Also, do you feel their personality and who they seem to be as a person equals your passion and mission? You can’t expect to hire a consultant with differing values or lack of common ground and have them understand your goals and do a stellar job for you. Go with your gut and make sure you are not only comfortable with that person but feel they would be truly passionate about your project.
These simple steps may seem like no-brainers, yet skipping any of these five could very well result in hiring the wrong consultant for your needs. And remember, you are not just hiring a consultant or development firm for their relationships and Rolodex, you are hiring their personality and creativity. Once you make the right decision, you will be delighted at how much time, money and headaches a good developer can do for you, your project and your future.
We ‘doctors of development’ can be pretty handy to have around…..
Stephanie Wilson is Managing Partner at ACCESS Medical Development in Raleigh, North Carolina www.AccessMed.biz