10 (Cheap!) Ways to Improve the Appearance of Your Veterinary Clinic
It takes less than 10 seconds for a client to get a first impression of your practice. If that impression is “Welcome to the ’90s,” it’s time to invest in a spruce-up.
And remember that many clients come to your office just once a year; failing to update its appearance can leave a visual impression that you are frozen in time rather than on the cutting edge. Following are 10 suggestions to give your hospital a facelift for under $500.
1. Paint! As obvious as it sounds, nothing updates the look of a space more than a fresh coat of paint. The Pantone Color Institute selected Tangerine Tango as the color of the year for 2012. While painting the entire reception area orange would hardly be conducive to patient and client serenity, consider pairing a splash of a bright color with a more calming tone. The trend toward bright colors in professional settings is intended to lift sprits by conveying warmth and energy.
2. Buy new task chairs. Worn out chairs can have a negative impact on productivity if they cause discomfort or require constant readjusting. Shabby-looking seating also send a subtle message to clients about how your regard members of your team. Stylish, comfortable task chairs (perhaps in Tangerine Tango for that splash of color) are available for as little as $50.
3. Poland Animal Hospital told us on Facebook: “One of the things we did was hang a really large bulletin board on a wall in the lobby. We change the topic every month, from dental care to fleas and ticks to pet nutrition and weight control. Not only does it really brighten up the space (we use a lot of brochures and magazine clippings), it usually features some of our products and services.”
4. Vinyl flooring that looks like wood is a popular “faux” green trend in businesses. Light, subdued tones are appropriate for a professional setting such as an animal hospital. We found a box of 12" x 12" self-adhesive wood-look tiles—enough to cover 20 square feet —selling online at Sears for just $1.99.
5. Check the health of your office flora. Maybe you got a ficus as a “congratulations on your new clinic” gift. How is looking 8 years later? Repot or remove any plant that isn’t thriving; the inadvertent message you may be sending to owners entrusting their beloved pets to your care is that you can’t even take care of a plant.
6. Declutter. Too much “stuff” in the office looks sloppy and breeds inefficiency. Remove most of those cute animal kitsch items, extraneous conference giveaways, papers that should be filed or tossed, and pens that don’t write from your workspace. Remember that items you may have received as a gift are yours; don’t let them get in your way because you feel you “should” display them. The rule of thumb is that the only items on a desk should be those that are used every day.
7. Curate your art collection. Are your walls decorated with faded prints or posters? Replace them. Consider networking with a local pet photographer or painter who may welcome the opportunity to have his or her art seen. Sponsored client education posters can be great sources of information, but beware of having walls resemble a giant advertisement; the implication may be that you are not an independent thinker.
8. EVT Facebook poster Jamie Kavan offers this suggestion: “My boss hates the look of posters just stuck on the wall, so we bought some inexpensive poster frames and use those instead. I'll admit, they do give the clinic a more polished look and I don't have to worry about tape ruining the paint. They also work to store your posters safely since you can have a few layered in the same frame.”
9. Lighten up. If your reception area is dark, either because of dark walls or a lack of natural light at certain times of the day or year, why not add a floor lamp to a dark corner? Lightweight, easy-to-clean models are available at stores like Target for under $20. While you’re shopping, replace outdated table lamps that no longer project the image that you want for your hospital. New lighting is a surefire way to update the look of a room.
10. Review your office signage. Perhaps your reminder that “payment is due when service is provided” has been taped to the wall since before the invention of color printers. It’s virtually free to design new notices that can project a cohesive, updated look for your facility. But before hitting “print,” review the copy. Are your posted notices phrased in a negative or scolding way, such as “Please don’t bring your dog in without a leash”? Hanging up a couple of leashes for client use with the notice, “Please use one of our dog leashes if you forgot to bring one today ” is a more client-friendly way to solve the problem.
Tell us on Facebook how you’ve improved the look of your clinic on the cheap!