There is no doubt about it: private practice requires some financial investment. Perhaps you are considering branching out into this exciting field, but are reluctant to, as you do not wish to incur debt. That is totally understandable! In my business venture, I have garnered a few tips and tricks to minimizing start-up costs, which I am happy to share. This post (and Part 2) will be a general overview of doing private practice “thriftly” (which I don’t think is a word, but I am employing a teacher’s advice that if you put a made-up word in quotation marks, it becomes a veritable word). In the posts to follow, I will specifically address economic ways to work as a child, teen, and family therapist.
Get a Good Accountant!
Yes, this tip will cost you money, but trust me; a good accountant is worth their weight in gold! Ask other private practitioners (counsellors, massage therapists, physiotherapists, etc.) if they recommend someone. Don’t feel you need to go with the first accountant you meet—shop around until you have someone who can work with your needs. And have a good idea of what your needs are.
Budget, Plan, and Save
Before actually embarking on your venture, start saving! These funds will be there to offset any loans and prevent you from going into debt. Have a plan in mind: how much can you realistically save/afford? Use this plan to create and stick with a budget. A budget does not have to be written in stone, but creating one and trying to stay within it will help stop over spending.
Go in With a Colleague
Look into splitting operational costs with someone else. If you won’t be using the office space during the evenings, another counsellor could use it then. Maybe you have a fulltime job and only need the space for a few days/nights a week. Why let it sit empty?
Be Open to Unconventional Spaces
What space do you envision for an office? Would something different work, and possibly be cheaper? Maybe you’ll want to work from home (and write off some of your home expenses). Perhaps, you could use a room in a medical office. Maybe a massage, physiotherapy, or other health clinic has space you could occupy (although, keep in mind your clientele; personally I need a space where I can engage in fun and sometimes noisy play therapy—so certain venues are out!)
This ends the first post of this two-part series. I hope you gleaned a tip or two or had an idea sparked!
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA