Premises 
Location

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Premises, premises...

Have you got a place in mind for your private practice? Are you thinking about renting a consulting room in the middle of town, or buying office space on an industrial estate?

Choosing the right location for your private practice is vital. Ask yourself the following questions...

Will I be close to my clients?

There’s no point choosing a flashy office if most of your clients live twenty miles away. They’ll usually choose another, closer, private practice. If you do choose somewhere that clients will have to drive to, make sure that it’s easy to find and that there’s adequate parking. It should also be close to public transport routes.

Will my premises project the right image?

Think about the clients that you would like to attract and put yourself in their shoes. What sort of premises would make them feel comfortable? What will make them feel safe? A private practice in a run-down, deprived area may not appeal to your clients if you’re targeting wealthy high-achievers or if they want to feel safe and secure. Likewise, if your premises are in a new building with all the mod cons, and located in the middle of the business district, you may not appeal to clients looking for a more down-to-earth, welcoming experience.

Do my premises comply with the 2010 Equality Act?

In 2010, the Equality Act replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

The Act states that your business premises must be easy to access and contain facilities for disabled people. If not, you will have to make all the changes necessary. So...

  • if your property is reached by steps, is there a ramp, or a lift?
  • do you have adequate parking for disabled drivers?
  • are there doors or gates that could be difficult to get through?
  • do the premises have suitable toilet and washing facilities?
  • are the signs on your premises large enough and easy to read?

If the answer to any of the above is no, and you cant make the necessary changes, do you have an alternative location that could be offered to clients if required? This should be adequate to comply with the Equality Act.

You can find out more about the Equality Act here.

How secure are my premises?

You will keep valuable equipment as well as financial and clinical records at your premises, and it is important to keep these safe. Make sure your premises has adequate security, such as locks and alarms. Keep records in locked, fireproof filing cabinets, and make sure all computers are password-protected.

Ensure that you have suitable insurance cover, and that you comply with the security demands of your insurance.

If you’re particularly concerned about security, you could consider renting serviced offices, which have their own reception desk, or an office that has a security guard.

Is there a suitable waiting area?

You will usually need a waiting area, so that if clients arrive early or you are running late they have somewhere to relax. Make sure your waiting area has a comfortable chair, is clean and tidy, and is well lit.

Think about the needs of your clients - will you be treating children? If so, equip your waiting area with toys and games. A plentiful supply of magazines is always useful.