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home | Free Stuff | Practice Blockage Series: What a Lac . . .

Practice Blockage Series: What a Lack of Space Really Costs You!
Ben Cummings

This article is about how a doctor’s lack of office space cost him $15,000 a month in lost collections! Learn what a lack of space really costs you, symptoms, how to take your practice to the next level with adequate clinic space, and more

Welcome to my Practice Blockage Series!

Over the year I’ll be writing a series of articles, highlighting the most common reasons that practices stop growing. We call these situations blockages, because they act like a tourniquet to practice growth. They stop growth it dead in its tracks.

I hope to shed light on these issues, so doctors can correct these problems right now!

What a Lack of Clinic Space… Really Costs

Lack of space is a serious problem. One doctor in my Mentor Program was running a practice making about $200,000 a year. He was successful generating new patients… yet… his office visits seemed to never grow adequately. It seemed the more he would market, the more new patients he would show on paper, but the office visits remained about the same.

This is a classic symptom of lack of office space. It can cost a practice extreme amounts of money. You can advertise and advertise and advertise… but if you can’t accommodate patients when they want to get treatment, the practice will not grow.

Inexperienced practice builders find this a hard concept to grasp. “But I have slow times in my practice!” they say. That’s true. They also have extremely busy times. These happen to be the times when patients want to come in for treatment.

In the restaurant business, even the most successful restaurant is slow at 3:30pm. They are packed with a month waiting list (if you happen to be trying to get in to Babbo in Manhattan!) if you try to get in at 7 p.m.

See what I mean? If Babbo Restaurant could somehow accommodate an unlimited demand of diners, their income would grow substantially. At this point there’s only two ways they could grow their income: move to a bigger space, or raise their prices. They have officially hit the “income ceiling” because of lack of space!

A true story…

In my Monster Patient Flow course (Vol 1), I talk about my acupuncturist. She is terrific. She doesn’t have a clue how much lack of space of costing her.  When we first called to get in, I was told there was a 2-3 month wait. Since my case was not urgent I agreed. However I wonder how many people she looses who aren’t as patient.

National studies indicate for each day you delay getting someone in, 5% will decline doing business with you. Theoretically, a 10 day delay in being able to get in to see a dentist means 50% of the people will say “I’ll call back” and will never be seen again.

(Such dentists usually call me up and ask, “Ben I need some advertising tips! How can I get more patients?“)

Back to my acupuncturist: It takes her 5 minutes total to administer treatment. She then leaves the patients in the treating rooms another 25 minutes unassisted to complete therapy. She has two treatment rooms total.

This means she can only accommodate four patients per hour, maximum. Yet it takes only 5 minutes of her time to administer treatment. At 5 minutes per treatment, how many patients could she be seeing per hour (if she had adequate space”?

Answer – She could be seeing 12 patients per hour, or three times the number!  If she moved to an office with an adequate number of treatment rooms!

One day I finished my treatment and she came out to discuss business with me. She knew my background as a practice building consultant. She asked me, “Ben I need to get more patients. I need more office visits. What advertising ideas can you suggest?”

“If only we had more patients” —  You already do!

I resisted grabbing a handful of needles and sticking them in eye balls out of sheer frustration. Instead, I shrugged and kept my mouth shut. 

You see, experience has shown that no doctor thinks they have this problem. “If only I had more patients…” they say.  If I had tried to explain to her that…

  • It takes only 5 minutes of her time per patient
  • And why doesn’t she just move to a slightly larger space
  • And if she did that it would triple her per hour collections…

But trust me. I’ve been doing this long enough to know, I would get a blank stare followed by… “But don’t you just have an ad I can run to get more patients?” You see, running an ad is easier. Addressing the need that there is a lack of space and an inability to accommodate patients when they wish to come in is more difficult.

There must be a balancing point. There is a point at which too much space is too much! I’m not saying that you must invest your hard earnings into an expensive new clinic either. There is a balancing point.

But don’t leap over dollar bills to chase pennies.  Are you stopping yourself from spending an extra $500 a month in rent for larger space, when it could enhance your collections by $5,000 a month almost immediately?

If it takes longer than 2 weeks to get in that’s a sign you might have a lack of space. Lastly, doctors who spend too much time with patients (and resist delegating non-essential items to staff) will find they too have a different kind of capacity problem.

Here’s a poem that sums up this idea:

A lion met a tiger
As they drank beside the pool
Said the tiger, “Tell me why
You’re roaring like a fool.”

“That’s not foolish,” said the lion
With a twinkle in his eyes
“They call me the king of the beasts
because I advertise!”

A rabbit heard them talking
And ran like a streak
He thought he’d try the lion’s plan,
But his roar was just a  squeak.

A fox came to investigate –
Had luncheon in the woods.
Moral: When you advertise, my friends,
Be sure you’ve got the goods!

Is a lack of space causing your practice to hit the “income ceiling”? Can you accommodate the demand that already exists and wishes to get in? How much might you improve income by making a small additional investment in office space? Is a lack of space causing an income blockage in your practice?

Don’t keep us a secret! Tell another practitioner about our practice building community

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