The Veterinarian Success Podcast is a Podcast Focused on YOUR Success in Veterinary Medicine. Covering topics in clinical, business, financial, and the personal lives of veterinarians. Our Director of Client Services joined Isaiah Douglass on this exciting podcast, sharing stories on how to think about your building and how to prepare for a big construction project to set yourself up for success.
• Why do construction projects always seem stressful and challenging?
It is a large undertaking for doctors specifically when perhaps it is their first time. They have maybe never have taken on a construction project before, so it is out of their comfort zone. Or even if they have gone through construction projects before, they have got a lot on their plate as it is and now they are taking on this additional endeavor that is going to require their time and attention. Also, there is the fear of the unknown with Construction. Usually, there is a lot of money at stake, as these are costly investments. You are building and investing in your practice for the long term and you want to do it right. At Apex, we are constantly improving our abilities through a systematic process-driven approach to control those unforeseen issues the best we can. Controlling the budget and controlling the timing. So that we can bring peace of mind, and help reduce the stress for our clients during the construction phase. A lot of times, once our clients start to engage and have conversations with our team they can start to see that. They start to say OK, these guys have a process, this isn’t the first time for them, I can trust them to lead me through this! We can certainly dial back that stress from the very onset and educate our clients to see that there is a method to go about this project to make it go well and dial that stress back.
• Styles of construction projects and the pros and cons.
There are various ways to engage architecture and construction services. Apex is all about seeing it from the very beginning to the very end of the process. That is not the only way to handle these projects. It is actually more common still in the industry that doctors will find an architect, and then go out to bid to contractors and hire a contractor. This is called the design bid build approach. Here you deal with multiple parties, you are hiring the architect/design group, buttoning down plans, you are seeking out and hiring a contractor, but in effect, you are playing the middle man between those 2 to 3 groups, to try and bring it all together. Alternatively, the other approach is the way that we typically operate as Design Build. Where one firm is capable of handling the entire project from initial conceptual design to architectural drawings, and handling the construction phases as well. By bringing it all together, we have found that it alleviates a lot of miscommunication and stress. It gives our clients the peace of mind and the ability to come back to us, as their one point of contact, if issues arrive, and say, how did this happen, how did we arrive here, and what are you going to do to solve it? Accountability.
• How to create functional and creative spaces.
So much of it comes down to planning. The more preconstruction due diligence that is done, the more seamless the project will go. Careful thought and pre-planning is how we ensure things go smoother. Then as you move into the space with your team, and start working in the space, it makes that go smoother as well. The experts at Apex, with expert planning and design that think the long term for the practice, that we are not overlooking things that should be done now, to make things better in the future.
• Trends or updates they have seen.
It is constantly evolving. So much of it varies by region, anything from earthy rustic to a high-end boutique. We have seen much more emphasis on fear-free certification in the last 5 years, greatly improving the patient experience! Things to make pets more at ease, such as separate waiting rooms for cats & dogs, recessing scales into the floors, Drinking fountains for pets in the waiting room, Dual entries into exam rooms. The bottom line is really what that veterinary clinics need to be attractive for its desired clientele. When we approach a project, it is very specific to that hospital. What are their requirements, first and foremost, and then who are we catering to? What is the clientele looking for? The copy and paste of one clinic to the next, just doesn’t work. Let’s make sure we are matching the office to the area, so it doesn’t scare away the potential clientele.
• The growth of APEX to become a more national firm.
Based in Chicago originally as this is where we started, and where we have been based since the inception of the company. The geographical expansion across the Midwest and beyond started with the idea that it’s a 4th generation firm and when my brothers and I came into the company, we said look, we have a family-owned firm that has a really strong reputation in the Chicago market, look how much expertise we have accrued and built over the course of the past few generations, specifically in healthcare. Another part of it was that we started to get many inquiries from Doctors outside of the Chicago market. Also, we had some really good opportunities with existing clients, and as they grew, and moved outside of Chicago, we were able to move with them.
• How family and business mix and lessons learned.
My brothers and I are very fortunate to have a difference in skillset, and a difference in what we are good at and what we are passionate about. So we can each focus on different parts of the business. The generation before us wasn’t so much like that. What that does is inevitably creates more conflict. That makes it very difficult to maintain a civil personal relationship with your own family that you know so well when it comes to business. What it comes down to is being super transparent with your business partners, whether it is your parent or your son or daughter, taking over the practice. Where are you at, what are your objectives with the practice, and how do the two mesh? Usually, the ones that go well, are the ones that have the most transparency between each other.
Apex Design Build
Apex is a well-respected design build firm based in Chicago that has earned a stellar reputation for providing state-of-the-art Veterinary Hospital design and construction over four generations. Apex delivers modern healthcare and veterinary hospital projects Nationwide that reflect the unique style and personality of individual practice owners.
Apex Design Build can take your vision of the ideal Veterinary facility and bring it to life. Let’s work together to get started on the exciting adventure of designing your healthcare office.