Discussing the possibilities and future of the intersection of healthcare and commercial real estate
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Trisha’s guest this week is Ryann Roberts, physical therapist and owner of Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Kids Place Pediatric Therapy. Ryann takes us on a journey from the start of his career to beginning in private practice and then becoming a physician owner of the real estate that he operates his eight sites out of.
In this episode, we talk about…
[2:44] How Ryann started his physical therapy career
Growing up, Ryann’s parents owned a printing shop and he wanted to take that over. He always wanted to be a business owner, and he went into business management and accounting right out of high school. His parents then told him that they would never sell him their business because it didn’t make enough money.
Ryann’s brother was a three-sport athlete, and he used to work with him on rehabbing injuries. His mom also had back surgery, and he used to attend her physical therapy appointments. He became intrigued with PT, and thought it would be more interesting than becoming an accountant and sitting in an office all day.
[4:59] Ryann’s decision to go into private practice
After he graduated from medical school and started working, he quickly realized that commuting was the bane of his existence. He decided he had to figure out something to do that was closer to home. He and his wife made the decision to start the private practice in May of 2006, and they opened the doors in February 2007.
[6:19] The full scope of services offered through Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy
The practice offers a lot of manual and functional activity. They try to stay on the edge of what seems to be popular while also being useful. They do dry needling, cupping, and blood flow restriction. They also recently acquired a Normatec compression system to test out as well.
[7:47] Kids Place Pediatric Therapy
Ryann’s wife, Terri, is also a physical therapist. They graduated together, and ultimately went into business together. She is a pediatric specialist, so she runs the pediatric division of the business while Ryann mainly oversees orthopedics.
Kids Place offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and feeding therapy. They don’t see a lot of injuries, as injuries usually go to the orthopedic side. Kids Place sees torticollis, cerebral palsy, delays due to prematurity, autism, and other pediatric issues. The therapy is play-based, but also goal-oriented.
[9:51] Deciding where to invest in practice locations
With the first location, Ryann’s goal was to cut down his commute. Some of it was also luck, as the place he wanted to go originally wasn’t getting built. They kept saying the building would be coming, but it continued to get delayed. He was ready to get moving and open up the practice, so he found a different location and it ended up working out very well.
Ryann shares that a lot of his decisions are kind of by feel, but also by opportunity. The most appealing properties are the ones where you know people are going to see you. His goal is to create more of a medical center close to a nearby hospital.
[12:22] Investing in practices versus leasing
The nice thing about renting is that you aren’t responsible for everything within the building, but the downside is that you have to pay a 2% increase every year. Rather than having to fight that, it made more sense for them to reinvest in themselves. They try to only own properties that they occupy.
[14:58] Ryann’s advice for someone who wants to get started in investing in several locations
Ryann advises that you have to have cash. You need to build up your savings so that you can cover your down payments, your closing costs, your build outs, and other expenses.
Once you invest in a building, you have to plan for the problems that are going to come. Some of Ryann’s buildings are getting up there in age, so he has had to replace AC units. As a physician owner, you need to put money aside for those necessary repairs. There are a lot of expenses that can come up, and cash flow is crucial.
[17:39] Balancing treating patients with managing real estate investments
At this point, Ryann does almost all of the property management by himself. He has built the practice to where he and Terri no longer carry schedules. They don’t treat patients; they run the business. He plays both sides, in that he mentors employees and runs meetings, but he also has great employees that run every clinic.
Ryann also makes it clear that they aren’t driven by the bottom line, but rather by providing service. His goal has always been to give his patients a great experience in physical therapy. In addition to that, his other job now is to give his employees a place where they want to come to work, they enjoy what they do, and they have the freedom to do what they do without being micromanaged.
[20:31] Ryann’s first job working for his parents in their printing shop
When he first started, he was collating packets and ticket books. When he was in high school, they paid around five dollars an hour until minimum wage went up to a little over six dollars.
[22:52] What Ryann is reading and listening to for information and inspiration
Ryann is currently reading Gad Saad’s The Parasitic Mind. He listens to a few podcasts here and there, and often has several books going on at once. He doesn’t watch TV very much, other than sports.
[23:52] What Ryann does for self-care
He works out in his garage. Exercise, eating well, and staying healthy are all forms of self-care for Ryann.
[24:21] People are born with the desire to heal
Ryann explains that the body naturally wants to heal, and healers want to support that process and make it less painful along the way.
[24:59] Leaders can be born or trained
In Ryann’s experience, leadership can be both innate and learned. He had to learn a lot, but a lot of it also came naturally when he took his first job as a clinic director. You have to have a proclivity for it, but it’s always good to keep learning. Ryann has read a lot of books about leadership, and he tries to give them to his managers as well.
Links to resources:
Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy: https://azopt.net
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