One of the first decisions you will make as you think about going into practice is where you want that practice to be located. It’s normally a wise course to first take a broad, general view of location (region, state, and province), and then work your way down to the specific street address where your practice will be located.
Along with personal goals forÂ·Â· other areas of your life, your practice location decision begins with a personal question: Where do you want to live? It’s quite possible that where you start out is where you will end up, so think about where you want to live until you retire.
Although we are sure you’ve thought about where you want to live, here are some considerations that might help you organize those thoughts:
Hometown: Many people go away to school and come back to set up practice in their hometown. There are, of course, benefits and drawbacks to going where “everybody knows your name.” The benefit is the built-in base of potential patients who already know you. The drawback is that everybody still remembers you as you were in high school.
Family: If you have a spouse or significant other and children to help make the location decision, their wishes must be taken into consideration.
Size of town: Would you rather live in a small town, medium-sized town, or suburb of a big city?
Climate: How do you feel about heat, humidity, snow, rain, and cold? Do you need to live in an area where there are four definite seasons?
Culture: Do you require an area where there are museums? Theater? Ballet? A major zoo? Music and concerts?
Sports: What spectator sports do you want to be close to: Race tracks? Football stadiums? Baseball fields? What kinds of sports do you enjoy participating in? What kind of activities do you like? Where do you have to be in order to do these – mountains, beaches, streams, or rivers?
Schools: Is the quality of education important to you and your family? Do you like living in an area with several good colleges and a major university?
Medical: Do you or a family member have specific medical needs thatÂ· require you to live near a major medical center or a city with access to special medical facilities?
Airport: Do you need to live near an airport with access to lots of other cities?
Safety: Is it important for you to live in an area with very low crime?
Lifestyle/diversity: Do you want to live in an area where there are many different types of people and cultures?
Religion/churches: Do you want to live in an area that has certain types of churches or synagogues or other religious groups?
Cost of living: How much does cost of living in certain areas matter to you? You’ll notice that competition hasn’t been mentioned as a factor in where to live and set up practice. That’s a different matter but it shouldn’t be a top priority at this point.
One young DC, for example, spent a lot of time analyzing locations and ended up making the decision in favor of her personal preference, despite that area having a lot of competition. She doesn’t regret the decision.
Another veteran chiropractor moved after graduating to an area where he was told there was little competition, but he and his wife weren’t happy there. He advises going “where your heart is.”