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Start a Garage Gym Cash Based Physical Therapy Clinic

Are you a cash based practice owner thinking about working with patients out of your own home or garage. If so, you're not alone in this way of thinking. Contrary to popular belief, starting a clinic out of your home or garage is not as challenging of a task as what you may think. It's also likely that you already have many of the tools you need to get started without making big equipment purchases.


During this post, we're going to dive into the practicalities, benefits, and different considerations when it comes to setting up your practice inside your own garage. I share with you my own insights that I've had over my time of treating patients out of my garage gym.



Understanding the Logistics

The first question that I get asked a lot from new practice owners is whether or not it is reasonable to run their cash based pt practice from a garage. First, I tell these individuals that step one of finding out if this is something that will work with you is by contacting your local city or county to figure out what regulations or policies are in place for running a home business.


It's important that you do this before diving into treating patients from your garage to make sure that you have all of the logistics and information you need to protect yourself and your practice. At times, your county or city may have specific zoning laws or permits they require you to get, but it's better to know this beforehand to cover yourself from a legal standpoint.


On a different note, most practice owners find that getting a home-based business license to run their garage gym PT clinic is mostly straightforward after filling out some paperwork and paying fees. It would also be in your best interest to speak with your homeowner insurance provider to make sure you are not going to violate any terms of your policy with your work from home business. Contact your professional liability insurance company as well to discuss any need for change to your current coverage with running your practice from home.


Exploring Alternative Options

If you don't have a garage or don't feel like this path is right for you, that's no big deal at all. Let's say you live in an apartment complex that has an apartment gym for it's tenants. This could be a reasonable option for you to look into, once again making sure to talk with your apartment management team to ensure you're operating under good terms.


It's also an option to partner with your local gym facility to see patients out of their community fitness center. It's important that you've built a relationship with the gym members and staff at this facility before diving right into treating patients their. Learn about how I started seeing clients out of a gym in my blog post here.


At the end of the day, there are many options when it comes to treating patients out of a gym setting, whether it be from your garage, an apartment complex gym, or community fitness center.


Setting Up Your Space

One of the biggest concerns new practice owners face is the equipment they feel they need to start seeing patients out of their garage gym. Once again, this is an issue that is typically easily solvable because of the fact that you truly don't need a ton of equipment to get started. If you work out for personal benefits, it's also likely that you already have equipment that you could incorporate treating your patients.


Some basic equipment items I recommend if you're just getting started in your own garage clinic include:

  • A treatment table, which can easily be found on Amazon. I recommend a folding portable table for convenience.

  • Basic electronics like your phone, laptop, or tablet that allows you the ability to complete documentation is realtime, provide video demonstrations, video feedback or educate the patient about anatomical regions of concern

From here, you can start to gradually invest in other equipment over time. Personally, my husband I have taken time over the years to build our garage gym equipment set up. We made purchases periodically that we felt were well thought out, budget friendly, and applicable to our client=base. Don't get so weighed down about the additional equipment you think you need. As physical therapists, we bring so much more to the table than the equipment we have our patients use and you can still effectively treat patients with what you've got on hand.


Taking a Tour of a Functional Garage Clinic

I want to share with you a virtual tour of what our garage clinic looks like. Keep in mind we've taken time over the years to slowly invest in essential equipment and get things set up how we feel works best for us and our clients. You can take a virtual tour of our garage gym here.


Navigating Challenges

Operating from a garage isn't without its challenges. Below I address some of the common concerns and challenges I've seen practice owners face over the years.


Maintaining Personal Privacy

Keep in mind that if you are planning to work from home, it's essential that you are able to adequately market your practice including where you're located so that patients can easily find you.


There are times when privacy concerns arise when a new practice owner is considering running their practice out of a residential space. Some practice owners fear that sharing their home address online on their business profile could lead to issues in the long-run. In my experience treating patients out of our home, we haven't had anyone violate our privacy due to our home address being easily accessible via the internet.


Keeping Your Clinic Desirable

Other issues that may come up with running your garage gym could include things like climate control, cleanliness, and the client's perception of your facility.


An easy ways to combat the issue of climate control, especially if you live in temperature extreme areas, include investing in an air conditioning or heating unit for your garage gym. We live in Nevada and it happens to get quite hot in the summertime. My husband and I decided that in order for our patients to be comfortable in our garage clinic, we had to invest in an air conditioning unit that would keep them coming back.


When it comes to cleanliness, keep in mind, things don't have to look perfect. Make sure that you're wiping equipment down after each use and sweep or do a quick clean of things at the end of each treatment day. Clients will notice your efforts and on the opposite end, notice your lack of effort. Keeping your space clean is critical to keeping your clientele happy.


Building Your Practice

When first getting starting, it may seem to be a daunting task when trying to attract clientele to your new garage clinic. Remember that providing optimal care and outcomes to your patients is what will accelerate you forward more than any other strategy. Ask clients for testimonials and ask them to spread the word about your business to their friends and family.


You can also tap into digital marketing channels to further grown your practice's visibility in your area. Creating consistent content and showcasing your brand is essential for growing your practice. Read my blog post here where I dive into why every PT should be doing content marketing.


Exploring Business Coaching Opportunities

If you're a new practice owner and looking for additional guidance to building your garage clinic, it is always a good idea to explore business coaching opportunities and mentorship. Programs like the DPT to CEO Business Coaching program offer a step by step approach to setting up your business, ensuring you can effectively market your practice, nailing sales, and can empower you to grow your business much faster than if you were going at it on your own.


You can learn more about our DPT to CEO program in our blog post here.


Conclusion

In conclusion, starting a garage gym clinic offers many benefits including flexibility and convenience of working from home. We hope this post has provided you insight into addressing the logistics, covering yourself from a legal standpoint, and focusing on providing exceptional care in the type of setting you choose.


As I mentioned before, if you're ready to get started on your entrepreneurial journey and receive structure guidance with starting, launching, and growing your garage gym clinic, get in touch with me! Or if the DPT to CEO program sounds right for you, you can fill out an application here!


Listen to this episode on my podcast

DPT to CEO the podcast

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