In this VLOG, Dr. Cliff Olson, Audiologist and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions talks about the search for his new building location in Phoenix Arizona.
- All right, hey guys, welcome back to the Dr. Cliff AuD vlog. This is vlog number two. In the previous vlog, I actually explained why I'm standing in this gray shell space right here. So if you haven't checked that video out, please go back and do so. But the purpose of today's video, I just actually want to take you through the process of how I led up to the point of looking for a space, basically where I'm standing right now. Back in, let's just go back to the beginning. So back when I first started my clinic in Anthem, Arizona, in 2017, I basically started it inside of an executive office suite. So that's basically where you have a bunch of different businesses that are renting out just individual offices inside of a particular building or suite. And this was great starting out, I mean I'm a big believer in the lean startup method, where you don't have a lot of overhead expenses, and you keep things small, until you test and see if demand grows with that. And since that point that I opened about mid 2017, I've been growing and growing ever since. And since that point of having just one room inside of that space, I've actually expanded, and then started leasing multiple offices inside of that same building. At this point, I think I'm up to five total office spaces in there. But basically I'm reaching this point right now where I kind of can't expand anymore, inside of that particular space. And then, you know, in December of 2018, I actually had a flood inside of my office, and that's kind of what prompted this whole idea of looking for an additional space to kind of move my clinic. I know that, you know, floods are basically accidents, there's no way to essentially prevent that, even if I had my own space, or had a better space, those types of things can happen. But that's kind of what put in the back of my head, maybe I do wanna find a space that I have a little bit more control of, to make sure that everything inside of that space is functioning like it should, so things like floods, or the risk of it, at least is mitigated a little bit. So that started my search up north, and so if you're unfamiliar with the greater Phoenix area, Anthem is on the extreme north end of Phoenix. So if you take I-17 north, out of the Phoenix area, you'll end up running through Anthem. And on a map it looks like it's way far out there, and we'll get to that here in a minute. But I was looking for spaces up in that area, and what I noticed was there, first off, wasn't a whole lot of availability. Just commercial space up in that area in general, ever since the crash of 2007, 2008, there was some vacant property up there, but since that point, a lot of that vacant property has been snatched up. But it also halted development of new properties. So there really isn't that many options up there. And I did find a couple, and here's an example of one. This is basically a listing that was my best possible option. It's only about five minutes away from my current location in Anthem. And for a gray shell space, with a concrete slab, it would've cost me nearly $600,000, after fees, for just under 3,000 square foot, off of Carefree highway. And this doesn't include the cost to build out the space, which would've led to a loan approaching probably around a million bucks. And I can just tell you right now, that's not something that I was able to afford. So after several months of actually looking for a space, I was basically riding my bicycle on my normal cycling route, I'm a huge tri-athlete, so I spend a lotta time swimming, biking, and running, during the summertime. And I ended up riding my bicycle by this place, that I'm standing in right now, that had a for sale sign up, it said, you know, office condo space for sale. And I probably rode by it maybe five or six times over the course of about two to three weeks. And I was thinking each time I would convince myself that this is not the ideal space for me. First off, it's way too far away from my current location. It's about 20 miles away from where I currently practice, and it just did not seem feasible, 'cause my whole plan was to stay further up north. But each time I rode by with my bicycle, I'm like ah, you know what, it's still available, but you know, it's just, it's too far away, it's maybe not in the perfect location. It's probably too expensive, it's probably too big, I don't really need that much square footage. And each time I go back by, I'd keep thinking of another excuse as to why this particular space wouldn't be a good fit for my practice. But once I got looking into it a little bit more, I started to realize that from a cost perspective, this square footage here, even though it's further into Phoenix, is actually significantly less expensive than it was up north of Phoenix. And I'm talking like less than half the cost. The space is a little bit smaller than the space I was looking at up north, but you know, from a cost per square footage aspect, it was significantly cheaper, and I didn't quite have to purchase as much square footage. So that helped keep the cost down essentially. And really, it has easier access too, I mean it has two major highway systems that intersect, that allows individuals from all over the Valley to easily get to this location. So from an accessibility standpoint, it just made sense. Now, the negative side of that is that it kind of is not a great location for my current patients who live in Anthem, which that group of individuals is just getting smaller and smaller, because I ended up getting significantly more patients from the Valley, essentially, the area that's more dense of population. A lot of those individuals drive up north to Anthem, and just to give you an idea perspectively how much further Anthem is out of the area, take a look at this map. So this area here is basically where all of my patients come from. And here is where the new clinic will be. And here is where my current clinic is. All the way up here in Anthem, and while this is great for Anthem residents, the vast majority of patients are from down in the Valley. And to them, Anthem might as well be on another planet. Even though it's only an additional 25 minute drive north, depending on traffic. So each time I came back and I looked at these different variables, and these different factors, you know, one of the things that factors into it is that I do have a small group of individuals up in Anthem, who actually want to come to me for care, and you know, for them to kind of commute down in the Valley, isn't necessarily something that they aren't accustomed to already. I mean a lot of their other doctors and what not are down here, closer to Phoenix anyway, or even Scottsdale, and Glendale, what have you. But from a controlling cost perspective, for me, if I were to continue renting up in Anthem, or purchase a more expensive place up in that area, it would really become an issue of I have to pass those costs on somehow to my patients. So purchasing a space was basically the best option that I could think of, even if it is a little bit further away from where my original clinic is. And so this will allow me to control costs, off and into the future, I mean if you know, rents go sky high, it won't necessarily matter to me, because I'm going to have a fixed rate, essentially a mortgage, on this place, that I will be able to pay off, and I'll know exactly what that number's gonna be, year over year. The other thing is that it's gonna allow me to have actually three providers in this location. And if you can see, we have basically three windows over here, and each one of those basically represents a provider's office. So of course I'll have my office, I have another audiologist, Laci Le, who's been with me since June. She's turning into an absolutely fantastic provider, and so this'll be her location as well, so she'll take one of those offices. And then it will also allow me to bring in another provider, once we reach the point where we've hit that type of growth where we require another provider. And so that will help me to essentially control the quality of care that is being given. And Dr. Le has come a long way, since starting with us at our clinic, and so I'm looking forward to maintaining that high level of care essentially, off and into the future, with whoever I end up bringing into the clinic. Now this process, up to this point, really was a long one. I mean dating all the way back to basically December of 2018. It's been this constant process of just keeping an eye on essentially what is available, and just basically stumbled across this space when I was riding my bicycle, and I was fortunate enough to have it all work out. So that's basically the story of how I ended up deciding to completely move locations, and find this location and start this location down closer into the Phoenix area. That's basically it for today's vlog. The next vlog, I will take you through the entire purchase process of this property, which was an absolute nightmare. But you know, it could've been worse, I guess I could've not gotten the property. But I'll take you from the beginning stages of that whole negotiation, which actually started pretty smoothly, on through the really bumpy ride of getting approval for a loan, and just dealing with the seller of his property. So I hope you guys stay tuned to this vlog. And I will see you again next week.