Today, there are over 141,405 occupational therapists in the United States. The average occupational therapist makes about $76,148 per year.
Once you complete the necessary schooling, you’re ready to start your own business but aren’t sure where to begin. While it can be overwhelming to figure out how to proceed, it doesn’t have to be! Read this guide on how to start a successful occupational therapy private practice today.
Plan Your Business
First, think about your business goals and the different expenses that you’ll have. There are various tools that’ll make your business run smoother such as this occupational therapy documentation software.
Decide whether you’ll be providing a consultation, direct service, or something else. Consider who you want to help.
Check out demographics in your area to decide who will benefit from your services. Your occupational therapy private practice needs to adhere to legalities as well.
Look into any continuing education that you’ll need to receive to keep your licenses up-to-date. As a private business owner, you’ll need liability insurance to protect your client and yourself.
Some things to think about include:
- Think about your ideal clients
- Check out the local market for occupational therapists (competitors)
- Whether or not you have niche experience
Finding a Space
You might not need an office for your pediatric occupational therapy private practice. Speak with other therapists about joining together and using a shared space. You could also consider doing telehealth, independent contracting, and more.
If you’re going to buy a space, be sure that it has a bathroom, enough privacy for each client, and meets HIPAA regulations. It needs to be ADA compliant as well. This could include an elevator, ramps, etc.
Picking Out a Business Name
While you could always change the name of your business, it’s a good idea to pick a name that’ll work for the long term. It could be expensive to change it in the future, and a lot of work.
Check on search engines to see if a name is already taken. If the name has part of your name, then you won’t have to register for a DBA. DBA stands for ‘doing business as.’
A DBA is for those who are using a false name for their business. This allows the business name to be associated with you.
A DBA can vary from state to state so it’s important to reach out to your local area. Normally you pay a fee, fill out an application, and pay for an ad in the newspaper.
Domain Name Registration
While it’s not a requirement to have a website, in the digital age it’s important to get your name out there. This also prevents someone else from taking a domain name with your name. If you can buy a .com website, those are the most promising.
Have a mailing address even if you’re running your business out of your home. For privacy concerns, you could use UPS rental boxes.
While PO Boxes are an option, they’re more limited. Many businesses don’t recognize PO Boxes as physical addresses.
For digital occupational therapists, there are also virtual mailboxes. They’re a more affordable option since you pay as you use them.
Once you’re open for business, use SEO (search engine optimization) keywords for people to find your website. You could also hire a marketer to handle this for you.
Place your information on Google My Business. When someone is looking for a specific business, your name could pop up.
Google My Business will ask for your address, business name, hours of operation, images, and phone number. Offer free sessions in the paper to get your name out there. Reach out to bloggers who could provide a link to your website.
Buy a Franchise
If you’re not looking to reinvent the wheel, you could consider buying a franchise. Keep in mind that this will cost more than starting from scratch. It’ll also allow you to build your business around your name instead of pre-conceived notions from the previous business.
Consider Various Outcomes
Starting a business means being prepared for different outcomes. If you don’t have the required certifications then this business isn’t for you.
It might be a challenge to get clients in your area since some don’t know the benefits of occupational therapy. You might need to educate the area on the benefits of these programs.
Choosing a Legal Entity
You can choose from a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Partnerships are where you team up with another occupational therapist.
Certain areas will allow you to set up a corporation. If you have shareholders, many states will require them to be occupational therapists as well.
A sole proprietorship is a more affordable option. The business will be under your name. Your income will be taxed as personal income. You’re liable for your business as well.
While these are the most common, there are also Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC), Professional Limited Liability Partnership (PLLP), and Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Understanding How To Begin an Occupational Therapy Private Practice
After exploring this guide, you should have a better idea of how to begin an occupational therapy private practice. Take your time researching and deciding on which business practices you need for your area.
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