Choosing the Right Physical Therapy Space for Your Practice

physical therapy space

When you’re looking for a physical therapy space for your practice, you need a site that’s easily accessible for your patients, compliant with zoning and legal stipulations, and affordable within your budget. Plus, the space should support your practice’s future growth.

Don’t sign a lease only to discover the location is inaccessible for patients, unaffordable in the long run, and hampers your practice’s growth. Focus on finding the perfect location for your physical therapy practice.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about finding the perfect spot for your practice—from why location matters to space requirements and budget considerations—so you can set your practice up for success.

Why Location Matters

Accessibility for Patients

Before you sign a lease, consider how easy it is for your patients to get there. Look for a location close to public transportation—like bus stops or train stations. You want to make your office as convenient as possible for patients who don’t drive.

Also, think about the parking arrangements. Make sure there’s enough parking near your practice so patients don’t have to walk far to get a spot; this is especially important for patients with more serious physical injuries that need extensive treatment.

The neighborhood should also be safe and well-lit, giving your patients peace of mind when going to and from appointments.

Zoning and Regulatory Requirements

Verify a location complies with local zoning laws and Maryland healthcare regulations. Zoning laws dictate how properties can be used in specific areas—and not all spaces are zoned for medical practices.

Research zoning laws by contacting your local zoning department or speaking to a healthcare real estate broker to help you understand Maryland’s zoning regulations.

Physical Therapy Space Budget Considerations

Cost of Acquisition or Leasing

Before starting your search, decide whether you want to buy or lease. Buying a space requires a higher upfront cost but may be more cost-effective in the long run. When you buy, you also get to build equity.

Leasing requires less initial investment but may cost more over time—especially as rent escalations are common in commercial leases.

Think about the short-term and long-term costs of each option. When buying, factor in the down payment, mortgage payments, and potential appreciation. For leasing, calculate the monthly rent, any rent increases, and the length of the lease term.

Hidden Costs

Don’t forget to budget for hidden costs that come with owning or leasing a physical therapy space. Hidden costs may include renovations to customize the space for your practice’s needs (such as installing specialized equipment or creating private treatment areas).

Utilities (electricity, water, and internet) also add up quickly. Calculate utilities along with maintenance costs—like cleaning and repairs. Set aside a portion of your budget for unexpected expenses that may come up.

Financing Options

Luckily, there are various financing options available for healthcare and medical real estate, like:

  • Traditional bank loans
  • SBA loans
  • Private investors

Each financing option comes with specific requirements and terms, so thoroughly research these sources to find the best fit for your practice.

To secure beneficial financing terms, prepare a solid business plan demonstrating your practice’s financial stability and growth potential. Maintain a positive credit score and build relationships with healthcare financing lenders.

Space Requirements for Physical Therapy Offices

Equipment Needs

Equipment is often the key to a successful physical therapy practice. You’ll need to think about specific requirements so your space will support equipment like:

  • Treatment tables
  • Exercise equipment (e.g., treadmills, stationary bikes, weights)
  • Ultrasound and electrical stimulation machines
  • Hydrotherapy equipment (if offered)
  • Ample storage for smaller items like resistance bands and foam rollers

Factor in the size and layout of your treatment areas to ensure they will fit all necessary equipment without feeling cramped.

Patient Flow

A well-planned layout avoids congestion, reduces wait times, and creates a positive and pleasant patient experience.

Here are some patient flow tips when planning for your new potential space:

  • Create separate waiting and treatment areas.
  • Make it easy to maneuver from room to room.
  • Use signage to guide patients through the office.
  • Allow for enough space in hallways and common areas.
  • Incorporate natural light and ventilation to create a comfortable atmosphere.

Making Sure Your Space Supports Business Growth

Scalability

Make sure to plan for future growth. You don’t want to get locked into a restrictive lease as your business expands. Seek out locations that will accommodate additional equipment, staff, and patients as your practice grows.

  • Choose a space with extra rooms or areas that can be converted into treatment spaces as needed.
  • Look for a building with additional units or floors you can expand into.
  • Consider signing a lease with an option to buy or a first right of refusal on adjacent spaces.

Planning for scalability means you’ll avoid the need to relocate your practice in the future.

Technological Upgrades

As tech advances, you’ll need a space that accommodates these changes. It should be able to support new equipment and tech that’ll improve patient care and streamline operations.

  • Wearable devices for patient monitoring and feedback.
  • Virtual reality and gaming systems for rehabilitation exercises.
  • Electronic health record (EHR) systems for paperless documentation and billing.
  • Telemedicine platforms for remote consultations and treatment.

When evaluating potential spaces, research the infrastructure and layout you’ll need to support these technological advancements, including adequate electrical outlets, data cabling, and space for servers or other equipment.

Practical Tips for Choosing the Right Space

  1. Conduct thorough site visits. Asses the layout, size, and condition of the space you’re touring. Use a checklist to make sure the space meets your requirements, like adequate square footage, accessible entrances, and proper zoning. Look out for red flags like visible damage, outdated utilities, or limited parking.
  2. Work with a healthcare real estate broker to simplify the process and avoid costly mistakes. An experienced healthcare broker will help you identify suitable properties, negotiate terms, and navigate complex regulations.
  3. Negotiate terms that support your business. Aim for beneficial conditions like competitive rates, flexible lease lengths, and tenant improvement allowances. Also be on the lookout for key clauses like rent escalation, renewal options, and maintenance responsibilities.

How a Healthcare Broker Saves You Time and Money

Searching for the perfect office is time-consuming. And, if you’re uncertain about the process, you could get stuck in a costly lease. Partnering with a healthcare real estate broker will help you save time and money. Here’s how:

  • Healthcare brokers have extensive market knowledge of local real estate, so they can quickly find spaces that meet your specific needs and budget.
  • They have relationships with property owners, managers, and other industry professionals, so they can grant you access to off-market opportunities and competitive rates.
  • As expert negotiators, healthcare brokers will secure the best terms possible, saving you thousands over the life of your agreement.
  • By handling the search and paperwork, a broker will save you countless hours you can dedicate to growing your practice and providing excellent patient care.

Key Takeaways

  • Location is crucial for patient accessibility and regulatory compliance.
  • Consider budget, including acquisition, hidden costs, and financing options.
  • Make sure your space meets equipment needs, patient flow, and privacy requirements.
  • Select a scalable space that accommodates technological upgrades.
  • Negotiate favorable lease or purchase terms with the help of a professional broker.
  • Speak to a healthcare real estate broker to simplify the process so you can make informed decisions for your practice’s success.

Contact United Development Realty to Find the Perfect Physical Therapy Space

Your location, building, and lease could make or break your practice’s success. At United Development Realty, our experienced healthcare real estate brokers have the specialized knowledge and extensive network to help you find the ideal space for your physical therapy practice.

We understand the unique requirements and regulations in Maryland and will guide you through the process—saving you time and money.

Take the first step towards your practice’s success by getting in touch today. You can also call us at (240) 221-1976 for a risk-free consultation.

About Charles Peacock

Over the past 30 years, Charles has been involved in Maryland real estate sales & leasing, property management, real estate investment, and the construction industry. He is a licensed commercial real estate broker, specializing in the representation of both tenants and landlords, as well as medical and dental professionals. Charles has also represented several medical building owners.