As my previous post showed, it is possible to embark on private practice without incurring tons of debt. It does take some planning and effort, but it is well worth it!
What You Need Versus What You Want
How do you want your space to look? Are you responsible for the waiting area? What about a washroom? Do you want chairs? A couch? Benches? Beanbag chairs? A hammock (hey, it’s your space)? Now, what do you need? Remember, you can always add to the space as your practice grows. Start with the necessities before adding luxuries.
Thrift Stores, Yard Sales, and Kijiji
Why pay full price for something you can get a great deal on the item slightly used? I easily saved $250 buying two chairs and an ottoman off of kijiji versus their retail value. Here’s a tip: make sure whatever you buy can be easily cleaned, is in pretty great shape, and doesn’t have any clinging odors (like cigarette smoke). Also, buy a receipt book and ask sellers to fill one out for you at the time of purchase, listing the items bought. This way, you can claim the expenses. It won’t hurt to let your friends and family know what you need and see if anyone has a lead or is getting rid of something. I got a free Keurig coffee maker from a friend who just wasn’t using it. You cannot beat free! You just cannot!
This is a great time to Do-It-Yourself, if you are so inclined (or find a friend who is). A new coat of paint can make thrift store finds seem new and fresh. Curtains, pillows, and seat cushions can be much cheaper to make than to buy new. Maybe you have a talent for art, or take interesting photos. Why not use your talents to decorate the space? The internet is a treasure trove of DIY ideas and techniques, so have a look around.
For those items you can’t get free, second-hand, or DIY, comparison shop. I have been known to spend over an hour looking for a cheaper price on an item (such as a certain brand of play sand) to find the best deal (for said sand, about a $20 difference). Look at online flyers for local shops, ask for rain cheques if items sell out, and if applicable use coupons!
This is a technique often seen in coffee shops and restaurants. Offer local artists a free venue to show their works—your office! Displayed with an artist’s card (and prices), you have original work and they have free advertising. Both parties win! Work out an agreement that clearly outlines who is responsible for the works while they are in your care. My landlord had this idea for our waiting area and we now have gorgeous photographs from a local gallery hanging up. For free. And, as I said earlier: you cannot beat free!
I hope you found this two-part series on how to economically begin private practice. Perhaps you have some tips you could share? I’d love to hear them!
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA