On Thursday, August 24th, we hosted a live webinar with LensCrafters sublease holder, Regina Tran, OD. She operates Transcending Eye Care in Orlando, FL.
Dr. Tran stepped into an existing sublease around a year after graduation, and has happily lived the corporate sublease OD lifestyle ever since. Here are 6 things we learned from this webinar regarding LensCrafters subleases.
1. Opening LensCrafters Subleases is incredibly simple
By definition, a corporate optometry sublease is a lease of a property by a tenant to a subtenant. In the case of a LensCrafters sublease, the tenant is LensCrafters. The subtenant is the optometrist.
LensCrafters subleases aren’t the only ones out there. Optometrists also hold subleases through Target, Sears, VisionWorks, Walmart, and Pearle Vision to name a few, although LensCrafters is widely considered one of the top subleases.
Because of the sublease arrangement, much of the work has been done for you. Whether you take over an existing LensCrafters sublease or start a new one, it’s much simpler than opening a private practice because so much is already included in your sublease arrangement.
Before you go into any arrangement where you’re running the show, it’s recommended to seek legal counsel; you may be required to do any or all of the following:
- Create a business checking account
- Set up a business license for your state and your county
- Obtain a tax ID (federal EIN) to run your company as a subtenant
- Get CAQH completed
- Complete insurance credentialing
- Set up an appointment book (LensCrafters and some others use tab appointments)
Dr. Tran reports that these steps are much simpler than they might seem, as Luxottica has a comprehensive on-boarding guide for all of its sublease holders.
Aside from the list above, it’s refreshingly simple to get started with LensCrafters Subleases.
Each month, you’ll pay LensCrafters to rent a set amount of space inside of a LensCrafters retail store, and much of what you need to practice as an OD is included in your monthly rent.
In Dr. Tran’s case, her rent covers a large of space in the store, including 3 exam lanes, a pre-test room, a contact lens room, a doctor/charting area, contact lens training area, and front desk area.
Her space is well-equipped, including a phoropter, slit lamp, chair, VF, OCT, retinal imaging, and all pre-testing equipment.
She also uses the Clarifye system, which is extremely precise, and is unique to LensCrafters. Each location might vary a bit in the equipment itself because, as Dr. Tran points out, each LensCrafters location is unique.
Dr. Tran’s monthly rent also includes a “facilities contribution,” which covers her phone line, utilities, and internet.
Taking over a sublease:
Dr. Tran took over an existing sublease, rather than opening a sublease cold, and she felt that the process was quick and smooth.
- She met with the existing optometrist.
- They arranged to have her purchase some patients’ charts from last doctor.
- The prior optometrist took the rest and left.
- The prior optometrist also had her own optomap, so regina brought her own.
- There was maybe 1 day of transition, setting up as much as possible and training the techs.
There are two types of LensCrafters subleases. One is where the optometrist is in charge of hiring his or her own employees, and the other has LensCrafters handle everything.
Dr. Tran has the second option. She doesn’t have to worry about scheduling the staff or have to deal with HR hassles. If she gets busier, she can hire her own assistant to help out with the checkins/out, ordering contact lens trials, etc.
2. Optometrists Covet LensCrafters Subleases for a Reason
The eye exam process can sometimes be very stressful for patients. For this reason, LensCrafters developed an advanced exam system, called Clarifye, which streamlines the exam process and makes it as simple and easy as possible for the patients.
Everything at a LensCrafters sublease is digital, from the phoropter to pretesting, to the exam room. Clinicians use a iPads or tablets, which have all tools, software, and analysis needed. The Clarifye technology points out anomalies that a standard eye exam might miss. The system enables doctors to be more interactive with patients to provide patient education.
Dr. Tran explains, “You can explain pathologies better with improved technology. This helps patients be more proactive with their eye health.”
She believes that LensCrafters is well-known and recognized for its craft and innovation, and has a very modern appeal to patients. For a new grad who appreciates technology, it’s a great match.
3. Doctors Call the Shots at LensCrafters Subleases
Regardless of whether an optometrist takes over an existing LensCrafters sublease or launches a new one, that doctor will manage the details and aspects of running the business day to day, meaning that he or she will call the shots.
Sublease revenue potential is based on both patient volume and depth of patient encounters. Each doctor chooses how busy to keep their practice.
Dr. Tran spaces her patients every 20 minutes, with follow-ups on the hour. She operates under the philosophy, “The end result is understanding what patients need, helping them out, and doing the best job possible to get them coming out feeling like you’re a confidante and they can come to you with issues.”
She realizes she could choose to book appointments closer together, but opts to take the extra time with patients.
4. All LensCrafters subleases have some things in common – but all are a bit unique
Most LensCrafters subleases are in retail centers. This means shopping centers, strip malls, etc. For this reason, most subleases will operate around shoppers’ target hours, which also lines up with the times that many patients want to be examined.
Dr. Tran tries to keep hours consistent: 9-6 M-F 9-5 Sat and 12-4 Sundays. She does not have to work 7 days a week, as she brings in an associate optometrist to cover some days as needed.
Dr. Tran’s hours are similar to other subleases she knows of. She does get to call the shots and set her own schedule, but she chooses to be open around the aforementioned target hours so that she can be open when patients need care.
Dr. Tran will also add or remove hours as needed, and will have a fill-in or associate doctor help out from time to time.
The overall culture of a LensCrafters sublease will vary from location to location. Dr. Tran feels that it really depends a lot on the managing doctor.
She points out that, “The focus on sub-lease doctors is consistent but each doctor will run the show differently.” Equipment and technology may be similar same from site to site, but relationships with front office staff, patients, and opticians will differ from sublease to sublease.
5. Corporate and private practice meet in the middle with LensCrafters subleases
For some doctors, the fear of being boxed into a patient mill or refraction mill is what causes them to steer away from corporate subleases.
But, Dr. Tran and Dr. Matt Geller point out that private practice can sometimes be worse! With the struggle to make money, optical sales can frequently drive private practice ODs to see far more patients than feels comfortable.
It’s very common that corporate optometry gets the bad rep, but Dr. Geller points out that each practice, whether corporate, private, or academic should be examined independently, not generalized.
They urge that new grads look at any practice under a magnifying glass, whether corporate or private practice, to understand what really goes on. Dr. Geller points out that, “A label is merely that – a quick way to categorize things, but optometry in 2017 is unique.” Dr. Geller explains that what corporate or private practice meant 10, 20, or 30 years ago might not hold today.
In Dr. Tran’s case, she sees a lot of pathology in the office, especially being that her practice is high volume. She also sees emergency visits because there are different shops around the area. She sees foreign body removals, and wants to expand her scope of practice. She is currently doing soft contact lens fittings, but also wants to move into scleral lenses.
LensCrafters subleases also allow you to hone your business skills. From doing market research to set your own fees, to crunching numbers annually to discover what’s working and what isn’t, holding a sublease is definitely very entrepreneurial.
Dr. Tran has learned quite a bit on the job, and is also happy to be able to apply what she learned during her days at NOVA.
6. LensCrafters subleases are hard to come by
When Dr. Tran heard that a LensCrafters sublease was opening up, she jumped at the chance. “I had heard that a LensCrafters lease in my area [Orlando] was hard to come by,” she explains.
Upon graduation, she put an interest form to Luxottica to be notified of anything popping up. When she was working in private practice as an associate doctor, she was pinged by a recruiter about a lease opening in Orlando area, so she spoke with the recruiter.
She was surprised that a sublease opportunity opened; many sublease holders opt to hold onto their subleases for 8-10+ years, some even choosing to open second locations.
After her initial meeting with the recruiter, she spoke with a regional general manager, and they set up a casual lunch meeting. He provided Dr. Tran with info about the location and background on how long the location had been in existence, why the current subleasing doctor was leaving, and how well the retail side performed with revenue.
Interview tips: If you’re thinking of taking on a sublease, be ready to share your shining moments and business experience during the interview process. Dr. Tran was able to reference her participation in an MBA plan at NOVA, but in extremely competitive markets, you might even want to create a basic business plan to share!
While there were maybe a few other candidates being considered, Dr. Tran gave it all she had, and was thrilled to find out she had been selected…and that many of the existing patients were planning to stay at the practice.
Last tips for new grad ODs
Trying to decide where to start your career? Where to go next? Dr. Geller points out that it’s important to find out what your priorities are when you’re first starting from school. He urges new graduates to download this values assessment and take the CovalentCareers quiz to determine your primary motivation in optometry. As he points out, life circumstances will always come into play. There’s not a single end path to success.
Shoot to work in a setting that makes you happy with what you want to do and accomplish in your career. Be able to prioritize and know what works for YOU.
If you’d like to chat more about LensCrafters employment and sublease options, just visit the CovalentCareers resource page to talk with the experts!
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