Starting a Physical Therapy Practice: A Guide

Physical therapists often start their careers working for someone else or within a large organization, but it’s not uncommon for PTs to reach a point when they want to branch out on their own. If you are a physical therapist who has a good few years of experience and a good reputation in your area, you may be ready to make it happen and run your own business. Starting your own physical therapy practice will be challenging with plenty of obstacles to overcome, but this guide will help you to set out on the right foot with your planning and preparation.

Consider advancing your education and qualifications

While your physical therapy qualifications are obviously crucial to your success, you might also want to consider advancing your education in a subject such as health sciences management. By studying for a health sciences management bachelor’s degree online, you can gain skills in leadership and other related topics which will enhance the care you provide.

Create a solid business plan

Any business, regardless of the industry, needs a solid business plan which outlines the services you will provide and how you will do it. This includes how you will reach your goals through marketing, operations and your financial budgets/projections. Start with some research on other physical therapy providers in the area which will be your competition. This plan will form the foundation of your business and should be as simple as possible to ensure you are focused on specific objectives, and not trying to accomplish too much too soon.

Decide on your business structure

You will need to choose a structure for your business, which is a decision you should consider carefully. Consult with a lawyer to ensure you’re making the best decision. You will file Articles of Incorporation with your Department of State to tell them what your business will do, how it will be structured and where it will be based. You will also need a tax identification (TID) number which you can get by contacting the Internal Revenue Service.

Source funding

While it’s possible that you have a lot of savings or personal wealth, it’s likely you will need to source funding to start your physical therapy business. You will need to lease or buy premises, purchase equipment, set up a website, invest in marketing and ideally pay yourself some kind of wage to cover your living expenses, at least until you are turning a profit. Funding options for startups include a bank loan, investment from angel investors or family members, taking out a second mortgage or a line of equity credit or applying for a grant. Remember to set up your business bank account and ensure you have accounting processes and records. Accounting software is very popular for startup businesses looking to keep track of their finances.

Find your premises

With funding in place, you can set up your clinic and get all the equipment in place. You should choose your location carefully while considering any competitors also in the area and potential referral sources such as doctors. Will space allow you to expand if needed and will you lease or buy the premises? Make sure you put a lot of time into choosing a clinical space as it will be integral to whether your practice is a success or a failure.