Five things to check when finding a practice site

LocationWhen looking for the right location for your practice, what are the five most important things to check, questions Sheraz Ahmed.

Before I answer, you might be interested to know that it’s a good time to buy or lease because prices are depressed.

There’s been a downward pressure on retail site prices since the 2008 crash and it persists largely thanks to the way online retailing has disemboweled the high street.

This has been compounded by the short-term trend since the EU referendum, which has seen commercial properties drop in value further because investors are holding back. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ second quarter Commercial Property Market Survey says:

  • Demand has fallen sharply, with London seeing the most pronounced decline
  • An increasing share of respondents in the UK feel the market is in an early downturn
  • 12-month capital value and rental projections have moved into negative territory
  • Enquiries into commercial investments have decreased by 16%
  • While investment is down, other reports show that shrewd foreign investors from the Middle East and Asia are looking to increase their exposure to UK commercial properties while the pound is weak, so it’s not black and white.

Important factors

But it’s a good time to buy or lease. Let’s now look at the five most important factors when finding a retail site for your dental practice.

  1. Location, location, location. As with any service business that can’t be done remotely, location is a key factor for dental practices. Do your research on the footfall of the area and work out where you can get good marketing exposure. This usually means staying close to the town centre, train station and schools
  2. Look at the competition in the area and ask yourself what you can bring. Being on the same road as another practice isn’t going to generate fresh business
  3. Whether you’re renting or buying, make sure you know every cost from the rent to the business rates. There will always be a hidden cost
  4. Planning permission. To set up a medical practice it is a legal requirement for the property to have a medical D1 use.
  5. Plan an exit strategy. Regardless of whether you are renting or buying, always have an exit strategy with your property. If you have a long lease in a highly desirable location, be sure to find any clauses about subletting. It’s also important to know when your break clause is, should you desire to end your lease early. If you’re buying, evaluate other methods of investment. Residential properties normally have a higher value then commercial properties so be sure to look at whether your property could get planning permission to convert or build residential units.

Providing help

If you need help — and most people do in the end because this is a complex transaction — we have a site finding department that specialises in this task.

Once we have your brief our research team evaluates key criteria and builds a shortlist of properties, which then undergo due diligence, so you’re presented with clear information.

It speeds things up, cuts the stress and protects you from making costly mistakes at the start of your new business venture.

For more information, email, call 07803 448 773 or visit

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