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The Simple Guide To Starting A Cash-Based Physical Therapy Practice

Updated: Apr 10

Analysis paralysis... sound familiar? I know when I was first starting my cash based physical therapy private practice, the only thing in the world that I wanted was a clear checklist that would help in guiding me towards everything I needed to get started. I had to search high and low to find help because I wasn't even sure where to begin looking. When I finally found it, I was off to the races.

Over the past few years operating my own small solo practice and offering business and marketing coaching to other clinicians looking for guidance in getting going, my main focus has always been on making the process as easy, simple, practical, and organized as possible so that while starting your own practice can be intimidating, it doesn't have to be complicated. I believe so much in the fact that direct-to-patient care in therapy is the optimal way to treat patients and the optimal way to offer services as a therapist, and I want to help as many clinicians as I can become practice owners.

This blog post is going to be an overview of all the things to complete and consider in just getting yourself off the ground. If you'd like the whole checklist & a few tips on marketing, click here to download my free eBook, "So You Want To Start A Solo Practice."

Let's get into it!

First, consider who you want to work with and where you want to work with clients.

There are endless options available to you! It's best to pick a niche & not try to be everything to everyone. In this video, I go over a quick exercise to help you come up with a niche.

Think about all the specialties there might be:

  • Orthopedics

  • Sports

  • Pediatrics

  • Geriatrics

  • Neuro

  • Pelvic Health

  • Fitness/Wellness

These are a few different specialties in physical therapy, and I'm sure there are more and more across different disciplines.

Next, you can consider the different settings or delivery methods that might be available as well:

  • In-person, brick and mortar where you rent/buy a clinic

  • In-person, where you rent a space out of another business, like a gym (this is where I started)

  • In-person, mobile, where you visit clients in their homes

  • In-person, garage gym (what I do now)

  • In-person, somewhere else

  • Virtual, via telehealth

While it's ideal to choose one specialty/niche from up above, you can choose 1-3 options ish when determining your delivery method. I think it's a good idea now to make sure that you are available virtually, so no matter what's going on, you still have a way to reach your patients. This could be combined with any of the in-person options, or used on its own.

Next, it's time to get your paperwork in order.

Here are the main things to get together first:

  • Business entity (sole prop, LLC, PLLC, etc) -- check your state requirements

  • Business license (state and local) -- check state and local requirements

  • Review your practice act & direct access rules

  • Review state and local laws for practicing/offering mobile services (call your city hall if you have questions)

  • Your professional clinical license, as applicable

  • Tax ID/EIN

  • Business checking and savings account

  • Payment processor

  • Basic spreadsheet skills to track income and expenses

  • Professional liability insurance

  • Basic website

  • Intake & consent forms

  • EMR/documentation method

  • Review documentation guidelines for your state and/or any insurances

  • Scheduler/scheduling method

  • Business email and phone number

I always recommend physical therapy private practice owners check their state website for information on starting a business, usually they have resources available and so does the SBA.

If you're looking for a walkthrough that's therapy or healthcare specific to help you set up your practice, complete with a checklist, I recommend you check out my mini course, Therapy Business Basics. It will help you get everything setup the way it needs to be so you can start seeing patients or clients for cash ASAP! Most people can complete it within 1-3 weeks, depending on the time you have available.

Get the mini course here 👇

Last, make sure you're ready to document & charge for your services.

In Therapy Business Basics, I go over how to use Google Workspace (use my code 7A337D7CLPQTVDF for 10% off your first year of the Business Starter or Standard plan) as a documentation and scheduling platform. This is the most cost-effective and simplest option for most people getting started. I personally have used IntakeQ since day one and absolutely love it. It's an all-in-one practice management tool, the only thing that's missing is a home exercise program builder. For that, I use TrueCoach and my clients really enjoy using it.

You also need a way to charge for services of course. For this, I've been using Square which works well. I also take PayPal through my business account. Other people will use Stripe or a business account on Venmo.

There you have it!

Just kidding, this is just the beginning 😄 But this should be enough to get you going! Let me know what questions you have in the comments below.


Disclaimer: All information on this website is intended for instruction and informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for any consequences that may result. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied on this website. All business involves risk and entails massive dedication & action, as well as full commitment. Neither Morgan Meese nor any representative of The Well Physio LLC is a legal or financial expert or professional. Please consult the appropriate professionals as needed.

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