How to Start a Chiropractic Office
You’re about to embark on your lifelong dream – starting a chiropractic solo office. Don’t panic if the process doesn’t always run smoothly. Keep the end goal in mind and persevere. Remember that as you being a chiropractic solo office you’ll wear many hats, especially at first. You’re a practitioner, a business owner and a manager, and a general jack-of-all-trades for anything involving your work. When you can sufficiently prepare, the endeavor isn’t nearly so daunting.
Setting Up a Business Structure
While you are operating a chiropractic solo practice, that doesn’t mean you must operate the business structure as a sole proprietor for tax purposes. There are advantages to sole proprietorships, as they are the easier type of business structure to establish. There are also serious disadvantages, as creditors can come after your personal assets, including your home, if you are ever sued. Most chiropractic solo practitioners opt for an LLC or a PLLC business structure, the latter designed specifically for licensed professionals. Both entities are taxed as sole proprietorships, but your personal assets are protected.
Keep in mind, however, that LLCs or PLLCs do not protect you from medical malpractice claims. That’s why carrying medical malpractice insurance is essential. The IRS allows PLLCs to treat themselves as S Corporations. If you decide to go that route, you can pay yourself a salary and avoid having to pay some additional income in self-employment taxes. Note that in some states, including California, professionals cannot form a PLLC but must set up a professional corporation for business entity protection. Consult an attorney and accountant familiar with chiropractic solo practices when setting up your business structure.
License Applications and Insurance
If you haven’t already filed your license application, do so as soon as possible. This process will vary according to your state. Then it’s time to look into malpractice insurance. Ask other chiropractors in your state which insurance providers they recommend. If you can find someone who had to use their malpractice insurance, that’s even better. You need to know that an insurer stands behind you if you are ever faced with a lawsuit. If you know any malpractice attorneys, you may also want to get their opinion on the best insurances for your chiropractic solo practice.
The Right Location
The right location can make or break your practice. You must also deal with the affordability factor. Decide how much square footage you need – most chiropractic solo practitioners require at least 1,200 square feet. Along with doing your own research into patient demographics, find a real estate agent specializing in medical practices. While you probably don’t want a long commute, that should take a backseat to finding the best location. You should also find an attorney to look over any lease contracts.
Signing a lease on your office space is just the first step. Next comes designing your professional space. This is a task you can take on yourself, too, if you have the time and ability. You want an office that is both professional and aesthetically pleasing. Ideally, you design the practice for minimal movement and maximum, but comfortable, patient capacity. Once you settle on a plan, you will need to find contractors to carry out the work. Again, look for contractors familiar with medical office space design – your realtor may have recommendations for you. The basic rule of thumb for hiring contractors involves interviewing at least three candidates and always checking references. If possible, visit a medical practice whose office a contractor has designed, and ask about whether the work was done within budget and on time. Be sure to ask if the contractor was easy to work with.
Marketing Your Chiropractic Solo Practice
Starting a chiropractic solo practice means marketing that practice is left up to you. Get started a few months prior to your scheduled opening. In addition to establishing a social media presence and purchasing targeted Google ads and in local print publications, you must market yourself to the community. Save money by sending out booth standard and video press releases, and set up tables at well-attended local events, such as fairs or street markets, to introduce yourself and your practice to potential patients. You can also network with other local businesses by joining local business organizations. Small business people know that helping each other is key to success in a competitive environment.
The Right Technology
Choosing the right technology for your chiropractic practice is one of the most critical decisions you’ll make. Consider your EHR a crucial part of your team. Since you’re probably going to start a chiropractic office with limited office staff, you need software that aids you in virtually every aspect of running your chiropractic solo practice. ChiroTouch provides software specifically designed for the solo practitioner. ChiroTouch can help you with documentation, paving the way to compliance. It really is the ideal software for the chiropractic profession, addressing every aspect of the business. Schedule a free virtual tour of ChiroTouch and see how it can help you build your new practice.
Consider joining your state’s chiropractic association. These organizations often offer reduced rates for new practitioners, and it is a great way to network with other providers. Depending on your locale, you may have city or county chiropractic associations available, and it’s important to take advantage of these resources. Since you are operating a business, joining your local Chamber of Commerce and other business groups can help you promote and grow your practice. Finally, get to know the other chiropractors in your area, even though they are competitors. They are also potential colleagues and friends and may provide referrals if you offer a service they do not. Another plus – there’s a good chance a local chiropractor already enjoys the benefits of ChiroTouch, so you can see it in action!