Choosing the right practice location is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. There are many variables to consider. The first one which springs to mind is "cost". Are you willing to pay €800+ per month for a small private office in the city? Or perhaps you're happy enough to work it from home. There are pros and cons and many in-betweens. Lets take a quick look and use Dublin as our main template as it is the most expensive and most populated. Costs will vary hugely depending on your county of choice.
The cost will vary from between €400 and €1200 per month as an estimate. This all depends on the location and space factors. A room which is 12x10ft or above should be your minimum standard. Anything smaller will fee very claustrophobic when a client is present. You should be able to comfortably fit 3 chairs (or 1 chair and a couch), a small table, a filing cabinet and a chaise lounge, or recliner. A recliner is the easy option, but you can't beat a reclined chaise.
Ask about the extras and inclusive rates. Most offices include heating and electricity in the rates and quite a few also include phone line rental and Broadband in the basic rate, but don't be fooled......you are paying for this. If you're lucky, the rate will also include a shared receptionist. Having someone on reception is very convenient if you can afford to cover the fees. You can appreciate this when your 4 O'Clock shows up a half hour early while you're in the middle of a session.
A shared office or private room is an excellent option when you can find one. Shared offices and rooms can work out well, especially if you are part time. Most often they are very small and basic and you will not be able to leave your equipment and files there for obvious reasons. The better choice is to find your own room in a shared office community ideally shared by other therapists. There is much flexibility available; you can choose to rent by the hour, half day, full day (shared) or you can secure a room on a more long term basis (private). This gives you more security in your own room and means you can kit out the office yourself if needed.
Sometimes a "shared office" literally means you are sharing a room with another business/person. You don't want to be working with clients while Joe Bloggs is selling advertising space over the phone two feet away from you. Be clear about your requirements. Consider the accessibility of the office you are choosing. What if your client is disabled, or less-abled? If there is no elevator and you are on the 2nd floor, you will be losing out on good clients. Avoid signing long term leases. Aim for a 6 month lease if the standard is 12 months. Negotiate the rent down at least 10%. This is a relatively easy task if you stand your ground on price and 20% or more is achievable when lots of office space is advertised.
The least expensive option is to work from home. It does not take much to make this work. It also means there is no lease. Unless you're in rented accommodation, it's often a great option. Put your IHR certificate on the wall, place a chaise/lounger in the corner of the room and spot a few candles around the place. When clients are over, try to encourage a quiet home. The last thing you want is the sound of screaming children, or loud music when you're inducing a client with a sunny beach script. This setting can be so much more inviting than an office block. With little effort, you can make it comfortable and professional.
If going down this route, security is a higher priority. You will be inviting strangers into your home and you need to be vigilant. The client may need to use your bathroom, which may mean they are going to the first floor of your home. All doors should be kept closed, except for the bathroom door in such cases. It may also be worth considering CCTV for your own protection. This is true whether working at home, or in an office, but more-so when at home. The client must be made aware that CCTV is on the premises and is for their security, as well as yours.