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As the Phoropter Dial Turns: So You Wanna Go Corporate Optometry?

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In a competitive market, private practice is hard.

You want your own office because you’re full of ideas and are tired of just seeing one patient after another for someone else.

Yet, the idea of borrowing $200K to start a new office scares you.

Also, the thought of having to manage an optical and get into the business of retail is daunting. Yet you love the optical and retail part of optometry.

Well, maybe a corporate sublease opportunity is for you.

What Corporate Setting Is Right For You?

First, you have to see if opportunities that are a good fit with you are available.

Are you a Wal-Mart or Target type of person? JCPenney or Sears?

It is an added bonus to work with like-minded patients and also shop during your lunch hour at a place you enjoy.

Do you like malls?

Think long-term.

Do you see yourself being more of a manager of several offices or want to see patients at one location?

Offices outside the mall provide easy access and parking and have more relenting hours. Malls are always open and actually are becoming less popular. There are also tourist attraction type malls. Maybe the location suits you and you have plans to build a patient base first with a long term goal of possibly starting a private practice down the road.
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Finding the Corporate Opportunity

Once you decide where you would like to sublease, you should Google the optical.

The website will have an area that allows doctors to view opportunities. If you are unable to access such an area, call or email the corporate contact, and someone will point you in the right direction.

Many times, the corporations also advertise on job sites, national or local.

Luxottica jobs allows doctors to fill out interest forms and upload resumes. A recruiter then contacts you if they feel you are a good fit for a particular office.

Researching the Corporate Opportunity

To research the opportunity further, you should check out Corporate Optometry on Facebook and speak to colleagues who currently hold a sublease similar to your interest.

If you can do per diem/fill in work, go and seek those opportunities to get a true feel for the sublease. While you are there, speak to the staff that works there and in the optical, and learn from them.

Also, continue to use the internet and Google the desired office, if it is an existing one. Offices that have had much turnover usually have small, difficult to grow patient bases, or poor optical management.

Try to speak to the previous leaseholder. Take him/her to lunch and learn from him/her.

If the office will be brand new, search the area competition. If there are many corporate or private offices close by, be prepared for fierce competition.

Also, if the office will be new, go inside the mall or store and get to know the area. New offices are supposed to have good potential, as the corporation has already heard customer feedback or has done its own research, knowing there will be demand for optical services.

Interview with the Corporate Recruiter

The next step usually involves a phone interview with the recruiter.

You can ask questions, and s/he further decides if you would be a good match with the corporate office.

Next comes speaking with or meeting the Regional Manager. S/he is your business partner. It is important you get along, as s/he has the final word on many decisions. S/he will ask you about your goals and work availability.

Corporations advertise how the doctor can practice independently, but be aware that the setup is a partnership, and they ideally want you to help their optical make many sales.

Thus, they may hint at eight hour minimum workdays and Saturday openings.

They may desire evening or Sunday hours too.

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Some opportunities may be full time, six days a week. Most offices eventually grow to become full time practices, and the corporations will ask you to open more days or add hours.

Before you entertain that idea with thoughts you could hire per diem doctors to help you, it is actually harder in reality.

A new practice is new.

Be prepared to spend at least one year growing the practice and bringing in referrals by covering the hours yourself. It is difficult to find other doctors that will give up their Saturdays, Thanksgiving, or Christmas to work for you. The corporation would like continuity of care from you as well.

In addition, do you see yourself being able to manage other doctors and/or staff, or being more of a managing doctor of several locations later on? If not, then the long hours or holiday work days may be a poor match for you. No matter how enthusiastic you are, it is just grueling to have to work 6 day work weeks, 8 hours per day, primarily doing refractions without a break in the action!

Are you still interested in corporate subleasing?

Stay tuned, for the next part of “As the Phoropter Dial Turns: Obtaining a Corporate Sublease.”

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About Alice Tseng O.D.

Dr. Alice Tseng is a middle aged optometrist that graduated from the Southern College of Optometry in 1998. She feels like a New Grad because she is going through her midlife crisis (or call it new awakening) and is trying to decide where her career leads next in Northern Virginia. She has done it all in optometry, except follow her passion as a writer, and she is embracing this opportunity to write articles about optometry to New Grads! Her optometry experiences include owning her own optometry per diem agency, cold starting a private practice with a partner, opening a solo private practice within another practice, practicing in all types of settings as a per diem doc, and doing a three year stint in a vision therapy and orthokeratology practice. What will she do next? Find out in future articles of As The Phoropter Dial Turns...

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