By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
Tips for developing a chiropractors adjusting space.
How should I design my chiropractic office? That is a question that nearly every chiropractor will ask themselves at least one time in their chiropractic careers. There are more ways to answer this question then there are chiropractors. Rather than creating a single article on the topic, we’ve developed a section dedicated to the discussion of chiropractic office design.
Many of the design ideas and fundamentals going into the creation of a chiropractic office will be similar to many other service industry types of office design. There are basic things to consider such as parking, proper ergonomics for staff, ease of flow for consumer traffic (patients), electrical design, efficient and appropriate lighting, use and positioning of computers, and a considerable number of other design variables.
One thing that would be unique to chiropractic office design as opposed to design for a medical clinic, would be something such as open adjusting areas versus private adjusting rooms. For nearly everything else, you can get great ideas on chiropractic office design by studying what’s effective and other businesses. Those businesses include any service industry that has consumers enter the place of business for services. I’m sure I’m not the only chiropractor that has studied methods and designs used by companies like In and Out Burger, Southwest Airlines, and Costco, just to name three.
I’d recommend for anyone developing any sort of service based business location to visit businesses in your geographical area that are outside of your professional niche. For example, visit your local Starbucks. Bring along a notepad and take some notes paying particular attention to the things that would cross over to your industry such as parking, ease of access from the front door to the point of payment, entrances and exits, efficient use of space, etc.
Chiropractors may want to consider how many square feet their office should be. When I was in chiropractic school, I remember an instructor saying an office had to be a minimum of 1600 square feet in order to offer any potential as a successful space. I was confused by that since I knew several chiropractors in the Southern California area that practiced in spaces half that size. The instructor’s argument was that 50% of the square footage would be used for therapies. None of the successful chiropractors I knew offered any therapies, which would’ve resulted in wasted space and increased overhead for those practicing in that model.
What kind of chiropractic office?
I won’t get into that topic all at once, it will be discussed in further detail in the office design section and we’ll include photographs from chiropractic offices throughout the world. As an example though, when I was seeking space for my chiropractic office in Los Angeles, I desired something no smaller than 800 square feet and no larger than 1200 square feet. In my case that ruled out many freestanding properties. What was finally decided on was a 900 square-foot space inside a traditional L-shaped strip mall shopping center. Some chiropractors would not even consider building in a strip mall, preferring to either be on a freestanding property, or inside of a medical complex. We’ll be presenting photographs and designs from offices in all those categories.
How many chiropractors and staff?
Will the office be designed for just one individual or will will there be an entire team working at the one location? Take my 900 square-foot office example. It is a comfortable space for two full-time staff and one chiropractor. I’ve seen the same space work with three chiropractors. In contrast, I’ll be sharing some photos of a chiropractic office, that has a space dedicated to insurance billing, which is larger than my entire office.
How many patients?
This may really seem like an idiotic question but it’s one you’d best figure out early in the game. If you’ve never been to a chiropractic office that serves 1000 adjustment visits per week or more, it would be behoove you to check one out before building your space (if that’s where you want to go). I have loads of photographs from high-volume chiropractic offices (thank you doctors) and we’ll be displaying those some organized fashion for you to view.
If your office design plans will be geared towards a space serving 100 visits or less per week, your designs may be radically different than a location doing 10 times those numbers. This same principle applies to other businesses. Again, study businesses in your area that serve about the amount of people that you’d like to see in your business and make notes as to what works in their office design.
It’s your space!
This is just my personal opinion, but ultimately this is your space, and you may potentially spend much of your life there. May as well make it as exciting as possible for you, and let all other things follow from that perspective.
I’ve taken nearly a thousand photographs in my chiropractic office, from the day we laid the first foundations to what it looks like today. We also receive photographs regularly from chiropractic offices throughout the world, which will be discussed and made available for you to view and get ideas from.
As this topic is developing, the best way you could participate is by e-mailing me with your questions, suggestions, success stories, photographs, and anything else related to chiropractic office design. Please note that all information sent is subject to becoming content on this site (minus personal data such as your name and e-mail address).