Working for a hospital or a healthcare service provider has its benefits. But those mental health professionals who love to push the boundaries, and enjoy flexibility and freedom do consider starting private practice at some point in their career.
If you like the idea of being your own boss and choosing your own work schedule, then you ought to think about private practice. But before you jump the gun and join the self-employment bandwagon, you need to figure out the financial cost of starting your own business.
Here are some of the major expenses of starting private practice:
1. Registering your business
Irrespective of the geographical location of your business, it is mandatory to register your business with the local governing body. Also, you need to be registered with a professional association to practice as a licensed therapist or mental health professional. While registering your business is a one time cost, you need to renew your medical license annually.
2. Commercial and Liability Insurance
When you are starting private practice, plenty of bad things can happen that can severely impact your business. That’s why every self-employed professional requires commercial and liability insurance. It is necessary to buy a commercial insurance that will safeguard your business from the risks of property damage, fire, employee malfeasance, medical liability claims due to unforeseen errors.
3. Renting out an office space
You require an office space to establish your private practice. So be prepared to go real estate hunting and try to find an easily accessible space that fits within your budget. You might want to loosen the purse string to ensure that the office space you choose is big enough to accommodate your business in case you decide to expand in the future. This expense can be ignored if you are starting an online counselling practice.
4. Internet and Computers
In today’s day and age, computers and internet connection are like blood and oxygen respectively of any business. Make sure to invest in a high speed internet connection and computers of good configuration before you even set the ball rolling. If your private practice is online-based, then you need to spend some money on high quality webcam, speakers, and other equipment that improve the audio-video quality of your session.
5. Practice Management System
Though it is not a necessity, it is advisable to buy a Practice Management System that can book and arrange appointments, store patient records, track payment details, and more. A good Practice Management Software can save you a lot of time and money by reducing the burden of scheduling appointments, filing reports and sending follow ups.
6. Marketing your business
Once you are all set to run a private practice, you need to market your business to attract patients and investors. While giving out business cards and printing flyers are not obsolete yet, the best way to get some attention to your business is through digital marketing. Invest a decent amount of money in creating a professional website. Make sure you create a social media presence for your brand. And once your private practice is sailing smoothly, you could even hire professionals to push your services through paid online advertising.