How to Start a Chiropractic Office
- Learning how to start a chiropractic office can be a rewarding experience, but there are many steps you’ll need to take.
- As a solo practitioner, you’ll need to decide on a business structure, obtain the right licensing and insurance, choose an office location and design, and market your practice.
- The right chiropractic software can ease the chore of practice ownership by simplifying operations for you and your staff.
You’re about to embark on your lifelong dream — opening a chiropractic solo practice. But first, you’ll need to figure out how to start a chiropractic office and set a strong foundation for success.
Running a solo office means 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.
Let’s look at some of the most critical steps when learning how to start a chiropractic office.
Setting Up a Business Structure
The first big decision in learning how to start a chiropractic office is choosing a business structure. This structure defines how you’ll pay taxes and protect your business and personal assets.
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 for your license application, do so as soon as possible. This process will vary according to your state.
Next, 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 want good visibility so patients can find you. You also want to position yourself in a place that’s accessible to your target audience. Do some research into patient demographics to help you choose a good location.
You must also handle the affordability factor. Decide how much square footage you need – most chiropractic solo practitioners require at least 1,200 square feet.
It’s helpful to 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 connect with an attorney to look over any lease contracts.
Next comes designing your professional space. You want an office that is both professional and aesthetically pleasing. Ideally, you design the practice for minimal movement and maximal, but comfortable, patient capacity.
Once you settle on a design, you will need to find contractors to carry out the work. 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. Find out if the contractor was easy to work with so you can set the right expectations.
Marketing Your Chiropractic Solo Practice
Starting a chiropractic solo practice means marketing the practice is up to you. Get started a few months prior to your scheduled opening. At a minimum, you’ll want to establish a social media presence, purchase targeted Google ads, and advertise in local print publications. You’ll want to market yourself to the community to start building trust and familiarity.
Save money by sending out both standard and video press releases. Set up tables at well-attended local events, such as fairs or street markets, to introduce yourself and your practice to potential patients.
We also recommend 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. Small business owners know that helping each other is key to success in a competitive environment.
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.
The Right Technology
In learning how to start a chiropractic office, don’t neglect the power of technology. Choosing the right software 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 helps you with documentation, paving the way to compliance. It helps your office team automate many manual, time-consuming tasks, such as appointment scheduling and reminders, reporting, patient communications, and integrated payments.
ChiroTouch is the cloud standard in chiropractic EHR — the completely integrated practice management and EHR solution created specifically for chiropractors that addresses every aspect of the business. See how ChiroTouch can help you start a chiropractic office with confidence when you book a demo.