Editor’s note: Dr. Jennifer Conde found Practice Real Estate Group through an online search for dermatology real estate in 2018. She sensed an urgency to practice dermatology her way and did extensive due diligence to decide if practice ownership was the right career path for her. She was gracious enough to take a phone call with our marketing team to reflect on her entrepreneurial journey. We hope you enjoy her story as much as we do.
Tell us a little bit about why you wanted to start your private dermatology practice.
I was in residency when I saw what was happening in medicine: the large corporatization of healthcare, I believe, is leading to a lot of unethical practices. I wanted to dictate the way I practiced and I knew that the only way I’d have control over that was to create my own office and own model. That was super important to me.
After residency, I spoke to other dermatologists who were looking to hire. I interviewed with other people and explored all of my options before I decided that private practice was for sure the best option for me.
What was starting your own dermatology practice like?
It was very scary. You don’t learn anything about business and opening up an office in residency so my research was behind the scenes, more of one one one conversations. Luckily, my residency program gave me a lot of exposure to private practice settings and allowed me to meet mentors. Without that encouragement – and having that exposure – I would have been a little apprehensive.
What was your first step?
The first thing I did to launch my own practice was talking to other physicians. Then, I thought about financials. I’m a poor resident with a ton of debt, I thought, how the heck am I going to afford this? Is this even a financially reasonable option? Who’s going to trust and believe in me and help me finance this initial effort? Thankfully, banks offer physician loan programs that are made for people in my situation.
How did you find a brokerage that focused on dermatology real estate?
Honestly, I just Googled around to find Austin Wheeler at Practice Real Estate Group. I think I searched terms like opening up a new practice, dermatology real estate, and finding an office. Then I came across the website and it looked like something I’d be interested in. I wasn’t really worried about him being in Dallas – I reached out and when they said they could help me in Florida, I jumped. So much can be done online now and honestly, there weren’t a lot of options that were like Practice Real Estate Group. They were one of the few companies doing what I was trying to do. They were fair, not a huge conglomerate, and offered a personalized approach which is part of my own mission.
What was your experience like with Practice Real Estate Group?
Practice Real Estate Group was very responsive to me – they were very good communicators, and very knowledgeable about dermatology real estate. And they were very receptive of feedback when I gave it.
I’m very happy with the location and I have absolutely no regrets – I’m very very happy that I made this decision. There’s no way I’d be happy being someone else’s employee. And now I’m looking for someone else to join me! I love that I always get to do the right thing because I’m not motivated by making money for another larger entity.
What’s the best part of owning a private dermatology practice?
The best part? The freedom, autonomy, and flexibility to practice medicine the way I want to practice medicine, and the flexibility I have to work three days a week and be with my kids the other two days. I get to balance both.
What’s the hardest part of owning a private dermatology practice?
The hardest part is human resources – 110%. My husband is the practice administrator which has been great – he’s been able to take over that part, but hiring and firing is tough!