Office Space

Posted by: Brian Dosenberger on February 8, 2012 11:50 am

Finding the ideal office space and situation for your private practice is one of the most important decisions in starting a private practice.  As a counsellor starting a new practice it can be anxiety provoking because you may be committing money while being uncertain whether clients will call. Today, we’ll look at the options that counsellors have from the least to most risk.

  • Home-based practice. Home-based practice allows the counsellor to work from the comforts of home provided they have ideal space. This would be a great option for someone focusing primarily on providing online counselling. The challenge is that you never leave the office and you never leave home.     

                                                            

  • Rent space by the hour.  Starting out your private practice renting by the hour involves very little risk. This allows the counsellor to maintain current employment while slowly building up a practice in the evenings, weekends, or part-time during the day. The down side of this option, depending on the situation, is the space may not be available when you need it and at a suitable time for your client.

 

  • Share a lease. Sharing a lease with one or more colleagues can be another good option. It allows all those involved to reduce costs.  This type of arrangement requires a good partnership and a definite plan for how the office hours will be shared.  You can utilize a service such as schedulicity which allows 2-20 users to share a schedule (http://www.schedulicity.com/). If you sign a long term lease you need to be very confident that space meets all your needs.

 

  • Independent practice.  Involves the most risk but offer the most freedom for a counsellor starting a new practice. Having the unlimited freedom to schedule clients to meet the demands of your life. Also enables the counsellor to rent your own space out to other counsellors.

 

There are several great resources available to those considering starting or enhancing their private practice. My favorites are PAA and CCPA. Both these resources highlight the fact that there is no exact manual or how-to book that you can simply follow. Setting up a successful private practice requires hard work, some risk, and a little imagination.

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely mine and not those of the CCPA.

Brian Dosenberger, Canadian Certified Counsellor




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

5 comments on “Office Space”

  1. Marion Duncan says:

    What percentage of my takings is it usual to offer for office space when starting up?

  2. Michael Lucas says:

    What about an office door with a window?

  3. Thanks, Brian, for the helpful information. As a new counselling grad, I really appreciate these types of practical, how-to articles.

    Best regards to my fellow CCPA counsellors,

    Simone Maxwell
    Vancouver BC

    http://www.linkedin.com

  4. Dr. Mike says:

    Hi Curtis,

    Those splits seem very high. While we visit the majority of our clients in cyberspace (rent is cheap!) we do rent space to meet the needs of the EAP services that we provide. We negotiated a set fee per half day which if I were to give a percentage figure, I would estimate it to be less than 5 per cent. The key is to find a person / corporation in your area – it will be tough given that you’re rural – that provides a similar service and is looking to expand and offer to their clients what you provide.

    Hope this helps!

    Carpe Diem Live Counselling
    http://www.livecounselling.ca

  5. As someone re-starting practice in a small rural area, I appreciate someone addressing something as seemingly simple as choosing space. I am looking at practing in a few different areas and am having to share space. Right now, I am doing so on a commission basis. looking at the numbers, it isn’t a whole lot different than an hourly rental rate. In seeing up a commission agreement, a person can work out details like availabiloty, marketing and the like… The percentages vary but seem to float between 60/40 split to a more gerous 70/30 split. Any thoughts on this?

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