Going solo as a physical therapist takes a lot of courage, and the rewards can be huge in a global physical therapy services industry worth over USD $50 billion. By understanding the key steps involved in setting up a physical therapy clinic, you’ll be well on your way to establishing yourself in this lucrative market.
You may have extensive experience working as a physical therapist in a clinic or hospital setting, but running your own private practice physical therapy clinic requires a different set of skills and knowledge. You won’t just be a physical therapist; you’ll also be a business owner. This means you must know how to manage finances, hire physical therapy staff, and market your services. It could also mean committing to longer hours and taking on more responsibilities than you may be used to. For an inspiring story about one physical therapist who successfully transitioned to become a practice owner, check out the story of Tessa Hinds.
Making the switch to practice ownership can feel daunting, but your ambitious goals are within reach with the right strategy. If you’re seriously considering opening a physical therapy clinic and putting in the hard work, this guide is for you!
Table of Contents
- Before You Open a Physical Therapy Clinic
- Running a Physical Therapy Business
- Marketing Your Physical Therapy Clinic
Before You Open a Physical Therapy Clinic
Planning is essential if you want to open a successful physical therapy business. Without a proper plan and a thorough understanding of the industry, your business won’t have a strong foundation. Here are some essential steps to take before opening your clinic.
1. Conduct Research
Research the physical therapy market and competition in your area. There are over 1,600,606 licensed physical therapists globally, but some areas will have more competition than others. Find out what services local clinics are offering, how much they charge for those services, and what their client base looks like. Are there any gaps in the market that you can fill? What could you offer that would set your physical therapy business apart from other clinics in the area?
Understanding and assessing the competition is crucial to preparing to open your own clinic. You also need to know the ins and outs of physical therapy regulations in your area, including insurance requirements and licensing laws.
2. Obtain Financing
You’ll need to secure the necessary funding to open your clinic. Consider any business loans you might qualify for, and look into grants or other financial opportunities that may be available to you. This is also an excellent time to draw up your business plan and create a budget. You’ll need to consider the physical therapy equipment you’ll need, including the costs involved in purchasing and maintaining it.
Select a Compensation Model, and Insurance Partners
Decide how you want to be compensated for the services your physical therapy business provides. You can choose to work on a fee-for-service basis, or you can partner with insurance providers.
Both options have pros and cons, so it’s essential to do your research and choose the option that makes the most sense for your business. While operating as a cash-only practice may limit your customer base, insurance companies are decreasing their reimbursement rates, making it more difficult for your clinic to make a profit.
3. Find a Location
With a physical therapy business, location is key. You’ll need to consider factors such as visibility, accessibility, and parking availability. But most importantly, you need to research the local market to ensure that there’s a need for the type of services you plan to offer.
Clients typically don’t travel far for physical therapy unless they’re seeking a highly specialised service, so it’s important to have a location with a good number of potential clients in the vicinity. You also need to ensure the possible space meets local zoning requirements and fire codes.
4. Hire Staff
Your clinic staff is your business’s backbone, so hire qualified people who share your vision. Determine how many physical therapists and other staff members to hire and how much they’ll be paid. You’ll probably start with a small team, and you may need to expand your staff as the business grows. You can use job boards, word-of-mouth referrals, or recruiting firms to find qualified candidates. Look for staff members with the proper credentials, certifications, and training and be sure to follow up with references before hiring.
5. Choose a Physical Therapy Software Program
Physical therapy practice management software can help you manage your clinic’s operations, scheduling and financial processes. Many different physical therapy software programs are available, each with unique features. Consider factors such as ease of use, compatibility with insurance programs, cost, and customer support before making your decision.
Power Diary is one of the most popular practice management software on the market. It offers an intuitive interface, excellent customer support and robust security. Power Diary can help you manage your clients, generate invoices and receipts and book appointments. What’s more, Power Diary scales along with your business, so you have the option of starting small and upgrade as you grow.
Running a Physical Therapy Business
Once you have everything in place, it’s time to implement your plan. You’ll need to market your clinic, create client relationships and manage staff. This process can feel intimidating, so staying organised and maintaining a positive attitude is important. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Put Internal Organisation First
Your clinic’s staff and processes must be efficient for clients to have a positive experience. Setting up systems that streamline client intake, billing, and scheduling is important. Here are some things to consider.
Have a system in place to track appointments and manage client data. A calendar will help you stay organised and ensure that no appointments are missed. It should be a unified source of information that staff can access easily.
Practice Operations Manual
An operations manual will give physical therapy staff a clear understanding of the clinic’s protocols and procedures. It should include information such as customer service processes, billing practices, appointment scheduling procedures, and more. This document should also cover topics such as staff roles and responsibilities, data protection, and maintaining a safe working environment.
Comprehensive Reporting and Analytics
Collecting data is essential to understanding the performance of your physical therapy business. Having a system that can generate reports will help you identify areas for improvement and track progress over time. A practice management solution like Power Diary helps you manage client data and generate comprehensive reports to inform decision-making.
2. Manage Client Interactions
If you deliver an excellent experience, your clients will be your most effective form of advertising. Your physical therapy staff might be friendly, professional, and dedicated to providing the best care possible. However, if you don’t have the right processes in place, the client experience can still suffer. Here are some tips for managing client interactions.
Online forms are an excellent way to streamline the process of collecting client information. Clients will appreciate the convenience of being able to fill out forms online, and it will save them a lot of time.
Your appointment booking process should be as simple as possible. Consider enabling the online booking feature in Power Diary, which allows clients to book appointments directly from your website. The easier you make it for clients to book an appointment, the more likely they are to return!
Payments and Invoices
It’s critical that your clients can pay for treatments easily and securely. Your invoicing and payment processing systems should be integrated allowing you to accept a variety of payment methods. It’s ideal if your clients can view their invoices online at their convenience.
With integrated practice management software like Power Diary, payments and invoices can be managed from one convenient platform.
Physical Therapy Notes
Taking detailed notes about each client’s treatment plan is essential for providing quality care. Many insurance providers also require it. Make sure your clinic has a system for keeping accurate and detailed physical therapy notes. Electronic clinical notes are a great way to streamline this process.
The use of telehealth has increased 38x compared to pre-pandemic figures. Telehealth continues to provide an excellent way for physical therapists to deliver care to clients who cannot physically come into the clinic.
Your physical therapists may not be able to perform treatments exactly as they would in person, but they can still provide valuable advice and guidance. You can implement a telehealth program for remote clients using Power Diary’s convenient telehealth feature so that clients can access services without downloading any additional software.
Marketing Your Physical Therapy Clinic
Marketing is a key component of running any successful business, including physical therapy clinics. Even if you have the best services in the area, you won’t be successful if nobody knows about them.
Marketing your clinic involves more than handing out physical therapy business cards – you’ll need to develop a comprehensive strategy that includes online and offline tactics. Primarily you’ll want to focus your efforts on digital marketing since it’s cost-effective and can reach a wide audience.
However, here are a few offline marketing techniques you may want to consider:
- Referral introduction letters. You can send a referral introduction letter to General Practitioners introducing your physical therapy clinic and its services.
- Networking events. Attending local business and health-related networking events is a great way to spread the word about your clinic. You can also use these events to build relationships with other healthcare professionals and business owners in your community.
- Brochure Distribution. Brochures are another way to increase awareness about your clinic and its services. You can distribute them in doctors’ offices, health clubs, and other places where potential clients may look for physical therapy services.
- ‘Refer a Friend’ Specials. Offer incentives to clients who refer their friends to your clinic. These specials can be anything from discounted service packages to free products or services.
Digital Marketing for Physical Therapy
Digital marketing includes developing a website, designing a physical therapy logo, launching an SEO campaign, running Google ads, and creating social media campaigns. Don’t underestimate the power of an effective digital marketing strategy – it’s the most powerful tool for spreading the word about your clinic. Here are some key elements to consider when developing your digital marketing plan.
Website and SEO
An effective website is more than just an online brochure – it must also be carefully optimised for search engines. Investing in SEO (search engine optimization) will help your website rank higher on search engine results pages and attract the right traffic to your site. An SEO strategy typically includes:
- Researching and incorporating appropriate keywords and phrases related to your services.
- Optimising your website’s structure and code.
- Creating relevant and engaging content (blog posts, videos, etc.)
- Optimising meta tags and page titles.
- Building backlinks from other high authority websites.
Your physical therapy business should have a presence on at least one major social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great options for physical therapy clinics. You can use social media to post updates about services, share testimonials from satisfied clients, and engage with your local community in an organic way. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for building relationships with potential clients and driving them to your website. It also doesn’t require a significant financial investment.
Email is still one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. Email marketing can be used to deliver tailored content and promotions directly to your list of subscribers. You can use it to send out newsletters with updates about your physical therapy business, as well as special offers for new and existing clients. Power Diary’s integration with MailChimp makes it easy to quickly set up email campaigns and track their success.
Make sure you’re collecting email addresses from all your clients, and keep an up-to-date list of emails you can use for your email marketing campaigns.
Text messaging is not just a great way to send out appointment reminders – it’s useful for sending out promotional messages and providing general updates. You can automate this entire process with the help of a practice management solution like Power Diary. There’s no better way to ensure that your clients never miss an appointment.
Build Your Physical Therapy Business with Power Diary
Hopefully, with this guide, you’ll feel more confident about the steps to consider if you have been thinking about how to open a physical therapy clinic. Power Diary provides everything you need to get your physical therapy business up and running. Our powerful practice management software makes it easy for you to manage client information, book appointments, and collect payments. With our integrated analytics and reporting tools, you can also track performance and identify areas for improvement.
Sign up for a free trial today to see how Power Diary can help you grow your business.