As an optometrist, there are many directions that you can go in once you've completed your education. Some optometrists will complete a residency program while others will go directly into an associateship. If you're like many optometrists, your end goal might be to open your own practice. You might decide to take over a corporate optometry sublease by working for some time through a larger healthcare organization or you might purchase an already established private practice. While you'll be seeing patients in these models, the scope of your administrative work can differ widely.
There can be a large difference in annual earnings between the options of owning one's own practice or practicing through a larger entity. The other thing to consider is the level of control that you have over the trajectory of the practice itself. Here we'll discuss the pros and cons between corporate optometry sublease and private practice. If you want to run your own venture to any degree, these will be the main paths that you would look at for your optometry practice.
In a corporate optometry sublease, you would lease from a corporate optical group. All corporate optical groups are not the same, so you do want to look at the agreement and the type of service you'll be providing to make sure they match with your experience and goals. The corporate optical group usually provides equipment and the sublease agreement is often between one and three years. If you're subleasing from a corporate optical group, the corporate entity may take part or all of the responsibilities in hiring staff, making appointments, and other administrative tasks, but that is not always the case. You do have to look at the agreement carefully. In some corporate optometry subleases, you'll be responsible for much of the same administrative tasks that would be relevant to private practice.
Private practice is your own business entity. It may be similar to the corporate optometry sublease in that you'll also need to lease space and handle administrative tasks. However, the corporate optometry option will often include marketing and other aspects of running a business that makes it less taxing than a private practice. One reason many optometrists opt for a private practice is that they want to have full control over their business, hiring, marketing, and services. That level of autonomy may not be available in all corporate subleases.
One thing that you do need to keep in mind when entering into a corporate optometry sublease - they are not all the same. Many resources will tell you that the corporate entity takes care of the administrative work or provides equipment. Those things may be true, but they are not true in all subleases, so you do need to do your homework on the specific sublease. You should ask questions and verify all of the information. The best rule of thumb is to hire legal counsel that specializes in optometric practice legal matters because they will be invaluable in helping you to understand the lease and negotiate for your best interest.
Bearing in mind that your corporate sublease will have its own specific clauses, here we'll cover some of the most common benefits:
The downside of a corporate optometry sublease:
Private practice is often the dream destination for many optometrists. Like the corporate optometry sublease, there are benefits and downsides to the private practice. You'll need to really assess your own preferences as well as the reality of your location.
Here are some of the most common benefits:
The most common cons of private practice:
There is no right or wrong path for your optometric practice. The reality is that you need to choose the option that resonates with your personal life and business needs. The corporate optometry sublease might be an excellent path for someone just starting or an individual at the end of their career. Many optometrists will go into a corporate sublease after selling a private practice as a way to keep working just prior to their retirement. Some optometrists will also use this option to build their knowledge of running a business before opening their own private practice. Still, others will opt to maintain a corporate optometry sublease throughout their career. Of course, there are also optometrists who run their own private practice and retire once they've sold that business venture.
There are many choices and a lot of things to consider when purchasing an optometry practice. You really have to determine which is best for your own preferences. In some locations, one or the other of these choices may be optimal because they're more likely to attract a following of loyal patients. Some optometrists may prefer to have fewer responsibilities for the administrative tasks while others might value the idea of making all of the large and small decisions to move their business forward.
In any event, you do want to make sure that you're well represented when you define your business structure, incorporate, handle your practice insurance, and sign any leases, sublease, and legal documents. If you need legal representation as you take the next steps in owning your own optometry practice, Ali Oromchian at Dental and Medical Counsel can help. Contact us today for more information.
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