Opening a Private Practice
Congratulations on making the decision to open your own practice. Starting your practice will be one of the most exciting points in your career when you have complete power to determine the direction, vision, and feel of your practice. APTA Private Practice is here to offer you support and resources along the way.
The following start-up tools come highly recommended from the APTA Private Practice and will be referenced frequently throughout this tutorial:
DRAFT YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Start to draft your business plan and keep it handy, you find yourself adding new information regularly. These three steps will be helpful in drafting your business plan:
DRAFT YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
In order to set goals and stay on track, you will want to create a tentative timeline for the planning and development of your new practice. It is recommended that you keep your timeline flexible as you will likely meet unexpected changes along the way.
Use the sample timeline in the How To Manual to get started.
FIND A LOCATION
Finding the prime location for your practice will take some research on your part. You are going to want to consider population density, travel time for your patients, locations of your competitors and more.
- Use the US Census Bureau website to STUDY POPULATION DENSITY, GROWTH & DEMOGRAPHICS. Ensure there is a need and interest for a practice like yours in the areas you are looking.
- FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH YOUR COMPETITORS. Characterize their strengths and weaknesses and determine your competitive advantage.
- RESEARCH PAYER MIX in the community to verify that networks are open to new providers in the area.
APPLY FOR LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS & INSURANCE
- State and local business license/registration
- Tax ID and Federal ID numbers
- Medicare and Medicaid Provider Numbers - if applicable
- Secure Professional Liability Insurance
- Begin credentialing process with insurers - if applicable *
- View the APTA Private Practice Payer Contract Negotiation Webinar for guidance concerning key payer contracting provisions.
Visit pages 84 - 93 of The How To Manual for detailed guidance on these processes.* Often times this can take a minimum of 30-90 days
SECURE STARTUP FINANCIALS
Regardless of whether or not you require start-up captial from a bank in order to start your Practice, it is imperative that you DEVELOP A STRONG BANKING RELATIONSHIP. This will Become an invaluable and lifelong resource to you and your practice.
PLAN FOR 6 MONTHS OF OPERATING EXPENSES
Streams of potential start-up capital include:
- Lines of Credit
- Small Business Loans through the Small Business Administration
- Personal Capital Investment
BECOME FAMILIAR WITH FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
PPs offers a 7-part Finance 101 video series free to APTA Private Practice members. Finance 101 will provide you with skills and tools necessary to improve your understanding of the financial issues impacting your practice. The seven modules provide a solid footing for non-financial people to gain improved understanding of financial statements and how to use them to benefit your practice. At the conclusion of this series you will have a solid understanding of the basics of financial principles, financial statements and how to utilize them to improve your business.
DEVELOP FORMS AND POLICIES
Search APTA's Practice Administration resource for templates before starting from scratch on any form.
View pages 67-83 of The How to Manual for more guidance on these processes
CHOOSE & PLAN YOUR SPACE
- SECURE A CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY once you have settled on an open date and purchased or leased your space.
- Use the APTA Private Practice Buyer's Guide to ORDER EQUIPMENT & SOFTWARE for your practice.
- Consider your square footage and floorplan prior to purchasing equipment.
- View the Basic Physical Therapy Equipment Checklist
HIRE AND TRAIN NEEDED STAFF
At approximately three months prior to opening, START POSTING AVAILABLE JOBS.
- Some popular sites include: the APTA Career Center, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Career Builder.
- Positions you may need filled include: receptionists, PTs, PTAs, a billing specialist, information systems, etc. Preview existing job postings to guide you as you write your descriptions.
- Schedule an Onsite meeting or series of meetings to TRAIN YOUR NEW STAFF, give them a tour of the premises, an understanding of your mission, and expectations.
- Recruiting and Hiring Candidates
- Webinar: How to Onboard Today's Millennial Therapists
- Sample Policy & Procedures Manual
- Physical Therapy Workforce Data
- Visit Chapter 5, & 9-13 of the How To Manual
MARKET YOUR NEW PRACTICE
PPS has a robust resource library for marketing your practice which should begin as soon as you have an idea of when your opening will be. Start using these resources TODAY.
- View the 6-module MARKETING 101 VIDEO SERIES taught by PTs for PTs.
- Use APTA Private Practice Monthly Marketing Toolkit to connect with your local media.
- Use the FIT FACTOR SURVEY to gather physical health data about potential clients prior to and during your grand opening event.
- View 99 Marketing Ideas for inspiration when developing your marketing strategies
STAY CONNECTED & GET INVOLVED
PPS is available to you as you work to refine your skills, and grow your practice.
- VISIT THE LEARNING CENTER to discover what educational offerings are currently available. APTA Private Practice offers webinars monthly to members and non-members
- Remember to use MEMBERS WITH CONTENT KNOWLEDGE as questions come up during your practice start-up and throughout your career.
- Join us at the APTA Private Practice Annual Conference & CSM for continuing education, networking, and a pulse on industry trends and best practices
- VOLUNTEER to be on a task force or a committee where you will have opportunities to engage with leaders in the industry and contribute to the section