As the medicalspamd.com blog continues to tell us the ongoing saga of med spa woes and the struggling and/or controversial med spa franchises and colossi (or colossuses) such as American Laser Clinics, DermaCare, et al, I would like to try to continue an examination of the various fundamentals necessary for establishing and maintaining a financially viable med spa business model. As I read about the various blogs detailing the colorful exploits of the enigmatic medical spa founders including Mr. Mudd, Mr. Jones, Mr. Engelmann, Mr. Buckingham, et al-- I also cannot help but wonder if it is not really the same person flying from city to city stirring up all this anger and frustration?
Key to Success No. 3: Location, Location, Location.
The three most famous words in real estate are also very important for the location of your med spa. Selecting a poor location can make everything else you do a chore. If your location is hard to find, or is in an area with unsuitable demographics, you will find it very hard to build the patient base you need for success. Some of us have turned down higher priced retail facilities with excellent walk-in or drive by traffic potential in favor of hard to find industrial or "medical" spaces for budgetary or other reasons. Don't forget that if you try to save money by setting up a "destination location" you will have to spend significantly more on marketing and advertising to generate adequate traffic. Choosing a highly visible and desirable location with convenient parking is one of the most efficient ways to insure an adequate flow of patients right from the day you open your doors. In most cases paying higher rent for good foot traffic and the right demographics saves money in the long run. Keep in mind the fact that many med spas spend between $10,000 and $20,000 per month on advertising-- even more in some cases-- when you are haggling over rent for various locations. Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish”. The exorbitant rent necessary to secure a first class location may prove to be insignificant when compared with the cost of driving patients to a “destination location”.
Since medical spas offer purely discretionary services that are in most cases moderately expensive, in most cases you will want to establish your clinic in the most upscale neighborhood you can afford. As a general rule, most patients like to visit a clinic that is within five miles of their homes. Before you decide on a particular location, you need to evaluate the demographics. This is a make or break research project that many med spa owners have omitted and paid the price down the road with business failure. By conducting primary research such as focus groups and surveys you can learn a great deal about the community. You can identify the socio-economic make up of your proposed location by obtaining information from the U.S. Census Bureau (www.census.gov) as well as contacting city offices, local real estate firms and the local chamber of commerce for demographic information. You can also obtain this information from professional consultants as well as through Internet research.
It is also usually a good idea to try to find a location where you will not be right next door to a number of competitors. If you find an area where no other med spa is located within a five mile radius you have the opportunity to be the only game in town for your nearby residents.