Editor’s note: Dr. Liza Brown found Practice Real Estate Group through dermatology consultant, Kim Campbell in 2018. Before her career even began, she felt pressure about making a decision to start her own practice. Otherwise, she said, larger groups would offer a huge salary and it would have been hard to say, “No”. Dr. Brown recently took time out of her day off to reflect on her practice ownership journey with our marketing team. We hope you enjoy her story as much as we do.
Describe the dermatology field right now.
A lot of dermatologists these days are being bought out by private equity. And a lot of residents are joining these bigger firms.
So I think now dermatologists are trying to start on their own, but it’s really hard because you’re trying to compete with these giant firms.
Tell us about your start-up experience.
So I got in touch with Austin in 2018. And at that time, I met with a partnership group as well, who helped me start my own practice in Tampa, where I’m from. They helped me fund everything and they helped me get started as far as credentialing and things like that.
Austin helped me find my place for me from Texas. He actually flew out and looked at places with me and I also searched online. Once we found a place he negotiated everything with the partners.
How’s it going?
And then fast forward to now and I love my office. It was my first office – it’s tiny, 2,200 square feet, and I have so many patients that we can’t fit. I have a PA who is about to start and I’m looking for another doctor.
I’m booked out pretty far so he actually is helping me out now to look for a larger space. They’re great – they text very frequently and they handle almost everything. From negotiating the lease and looking at different places to comparing different LOIs and making sure that everything is the cheapest and best that I could possibly get.
Has Practice Real Estate Group provided value beyond finding space?
They’re super helpful. They also help set up the things that you would have to do by yourself later, like meeting with the architect and finding the construction guy to help build everything, financing … all of those things that are just hard and take a lot of time. So they set you up to do all of that. So it’s really nice.
What does the future hold for your practice?
So right now I am definitely starting a second office and just kind of seeing where that’s going to go. I may keep it as a second office or just move my first office over eventually.
This is a much bigger space – it’s about 4300 square feet. It’s definitely enough room for another PA and another doctor to have a really nice big space.
I have a boutique practice and I don’t ever want to turn into a washing machine of patients where it’s always go in and go out, go in and go out. I like our family feel and I want to keep it. I don’t ever want to spend that much – two to three offices. I want to actually see my patients that started with me.
The practice is in my hometown where I grew up, so I know a lot of patients. I want to make sure that the doctors we have share the same philosophy you know, that family feel. I want to make sure that everyone is treated like family.
Jumping into practice ownership right after residency is a big commitment. How did you do it?
We don’t learn a lot about business in medicine – ever. Not in medical school, not through residency. So that part is definitely hard to navigate. It’s very helpful when you have someone that’s helping you find everything.
It’s a lot – I have two babies – a two-and-a-half-year-old and a six-month-old. I think I talked to Austin in a pirate suit one time over Halloween – my kids are always screaming in the background but he’s good with it!
What was the most challenging part of starting up?
In the very beginning, before I met Austin, it was finding out which way I wanted to go. Do you want to join one of these giant private equity firms that offer a really high salary, but you’re working for someone for the rest of your life? Or starting on your own and taking that big leap – finding a partnership that’s willing to work with you to help you. I think that was one of the biggest things, after graduating from residency, that I was trying to decide.
Because when you’re first done, they’ll show you a huge number but they decide how many patients you see and your lifestyle and how many hours you’re working. And some of my friends that did that, you know … they’re seeing 70 patients a day. So I think that deciding what you want your practice to be is one of the hardest parts to decide when you’re getting out of residency.
Those of us that start out by ourselves want everyone to be empowered enough to feel like they can start up themselves, too. There’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.