Bianca Kostranchuk, OD, of Chardon and Chesterland, Ohio, says that she’s heard colleagues dismiss the option of purchasing an existing practice because they say that it’s going to be too much work. “There’s a lot to be said about fixer uppers, and if you can put some energy and a thought process behind it, you can make it your own,” she says. There are many benefits she sees for ODs—especially new graduates—in purchasing vs. a cold start.
Dr. Kostranchuk considered opening her own office to achieve the flexibility she wanted as a new mom, but she found success in purchasing and has since replicated that model again.
Earn base revenue through a loyal patient base. Many retiring doctors have patients who have stayed with them for a long time. Tapping into that patient base—no matter what the size—means that you aren’t completely starting from scratch, and that benefits your business. You know you will have a base revenue to support some investments you may want to make to refresh the space. It’s a bonus is if the doctor can provide some sort of transition, whether a personal introduction or letter or even staying on board as an associate. This can help the patient base trust you as their new eye care provider. It leads to a continuation of personalized care. “I see great grandparents down to InfantSEE patients, and we know patients by name. We don’t have to cram 50 patients in each day.”
Take an opportunity to impress. Oftentimes retiring doctors have not invested in the latest technology, and when you make these additions to the office, it can truly be a wow factor. “Patients routinely come in and say that they never had an exam like this, and I can see the benefit that equipment can have on patients and patient flow.” Specialty care services can also have this impact, she says. Between Dr. Kostranchuk and her associates, they’ve added specialty contact lens fittings, dry eye services and myopia control. These are all areas that target patients who want attention to detail and are willing to pay out of pocket. “It’s a work smarter and not harder approach.”
There’s always a chance to improve on visibility. You don’t have to be afraid to relocate your purchased office to increase visibility. Dr. Kostranchuk says that doing this a few months after purchasing both practices was a key to her success. “The offices were so invisible, so I was very specific with where I chose to put them.” This also gives a chance to make the look and style of the office your own, which can also be achieved with a remodel if visibility isn’t a problem.
For more advice from your colleagues, read more 1 Minute Tips from Women In Optometry.