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How To Work With Physical Therapy Clients In Your Garage Gym

Starting a cash based practice out of your garage gym is, in my opinion, a great way to get started if you have the means to do so. In previous posts, we've talked about how to get started, as well as how to market your garage gym PT practice.

If your struggling to find patients and would like to learn more about marketing your garage gym PT practice, read the blog post here.

Moving from there, when a cash based PT is getting started, they are often curious as to what it would look like to actually work with patients out of their garage gym. Let's dive into the similarities and differences of practicing out of a garage gym, and how to successfully work with your patients in this type of setting.

From the Clinic to My Garage Gym

Over my time as a physical therapist, I've spent time treating patients in all different types of settings. I've worked in outpatient clinics, home health, and even provided telehealth services before landing on my garage gym. Since then, I've worked with people consistently inside of my garage gym, as well as out of the gym setting, as my focus has been helping CrossFit athletes.

Contrary to what you might think, working out of your garage gym is not so different from the outpatient clinic or even the gym setting. There are, of course, some differences, but not anything to be concerned about.

I would encourage anyone interested in seeing clients out of their garage gym to go for it. It's been great for me and could be great for you.

If you are someone who is just getting started and not sure how to launch your garage gym practice, check out the blog post here.

Similarities: Evaluation and Follow-up Sessions

To start with the similarities, working with clients in your garage gym still calls for evaluation and treatment of your patients. After a client books a session with you to get started, you're going to go through the same process of evaluating them, taking subjective history, looking at movement assessments, and so on and so forth.

The same goes for follow-up sessions. Treating patients in your garage gym is based on the goals the patient has, as well as the treatment plan you've developed for them, just as you would in any other setting of physical therapy practice.

A positive that comes out of this practice setting is the amount of flexibility that it gives you compared to being in the clinic and working for someone else. You can scheduled evaluations for the duration of time you feel most comfortable, not having to rush through any part because you're the boss.

Follow-up sessions can look like multiple times per week, once every other week, or once every month depending on the clients situation and what you feel is best for them. When working out of your garage gym clinic, and establishing yourself as a cash based physical therapy practice, you're no longer limited by the confines of insurance. This means you can treat when you want, how you want, and where you want.

Learn why you should ditch insurance and offer only cash pay services in the blog post here.

Differences: Privacy and Atmosphere

On opposite end of the spectrum, there are some differences when it comes to treating patients in your garage gym. The good news, the differences are actually positive.

One of the biggest pros of your garage gym clinic is the privacy that it has to offer. It will typically be just you and your client inside the garage gym, unless you choose to do group therapy sessions. Either way, you don't have to worry about the busy hustle and bustle the outpatient clinic environment has, and you don't have to worry about the private discussions you have with your client about their care being overheard by another patient.

There are less noises, less distractions, and the environment allows you and your patient to focus on the care and work you two are putting in. Another benefit is the garage gym could allow your patient to bring their child along with them if they can't find childcare. This in itself can help to eliminate frustrating cancellations.

Climate Considerations

Another difference that the garage gym setting will bring to the table is climate control. Unlike being in the outpatient clinic, it is your responsibility to ensure the climate within your garage gym is conducive to the safety of your patients. The thing of it is, this can depend very much on where you live. For example, I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, and as you can image it gets very hot in the summertime. To combat this issues, my husband and I have invested in a mini-split that providers both cooling and heating functions to keep the garage comfortable.

At the end of the day, make sure that whatever climate your garage is, you take into consideration whether the patient or patients you're going to be treating that day are going to be safe. If you don't have the budget to provide A/C and it's 90 degrees in you garage gym, it's probably not going to be a great idea to have those at higher risk for adverse events work with you that day in that setting (i.e. pregnant women, elderly individuals, children, etc).

Pro Tips for Success

After spending time treating clients inside of my garage gym, I've learned a few pro tips along the way to help you be successful.

  • First off, make sure you let your clients know where to park when coming to appointments, whether it's street parking or in your driveway.

  • Make sure they know where to meet you for their session, whether that's coming right into your garage and waiting or having them come to your front door and knocking for you to let them in.

  • Always have a hydration station or other water options available. We have a large water jug with disposable cups inside our garage, but you can always offer water bottles to your patient or ask them to bring their own.

  • Keep you garage space clean and organized, cleaning up after each session and sanitizing equipment that was used.

  • At the end of a treatment day, tidy up the garage area, and sweep the floor if you have to to help the environment remain clean.

  • Lastly, if you use your garage for storage too, make sure to place your storage items in one corner or area of your garage as organized as possible to further assist with the atmosphere.


All in all, running a cash based practice out of you garage gym may seem intimidating at first, but it is definitely doable and a great way to get started. Focus on giving your clients the best care and experience possible and you will be well on your way to success.

If you’re still not confident about seeing patients out of your garage gym, get in touch with me!

Or you are seeking more individualized guidance with all things running a practice, business, and marketing, we do offer 1:1 business coaching that provides you with a step by step checklist to starting, launching, and growing your practice! Check out the DPT to CEO Business Coaching program here.

Listen to this episode on my podcast!

DPT to CEO the podcast


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