It has been one year since I have opened my own private practice here in downtown Washington DC! Working sixty hour weeks is commonplace. Dealing with insurance, as expected, is frustrating. Here are a few pieces of advice that have helped me to survive in a tough market:
1. The Internet is your friend. People are constantly using sites such as Google, Angie's List, and Yelp to search for therapists that have solid reputations. Register your practice on sites that customers may use to find you—and build up a solid reserve of positive online reviews (tools like WebPT Reach can help you automate the process of requesting reviews from your most loyal patients). Consult with an internet guru if necessary for tips. It also goes without saying that you must have a quality website that sparks interest with patients. Do not be afraid to "Tweet" and post regularly on your practice's Facebook page. This will help you to get more visibility on the internet.
2. Do not burn bridges! Before starting my own practice I worked for six years as part of a physician owned practice. I did make sure that I did the best job that I could do while working for them, and I am happy to say that I do still get referrals from their office.
3. Carefully chose your location. Some patients will choose your clinic based solely on convenience. My clinic is located literally on top of one of the most used METRO stations in DC. If patients can get to you easily, you are more likely to get business.
4. Make your clinic look fantastic. Nobody likes a dingy, uninteresting, or otherwise boring facility to spend an hour of their day in. Spend the extra money with your start-up to have impressive equipment and a chic design aesthetic.
Dan Baumstark, MSPT, CHT owns PhysioDC a unique, physical therapist owned and operated rehabilitation clinic conveniently located in downtown Washington DC.