So, you graduated from PT school—congrats! At this point, you may be thinking, “Now what?” A DPT education can take you down many paths, but if you have dreams of starting a physical therapy private practice, there’s one item you’ll need to check off your list first: securing the money to get started. And if you’ve considered taking out a business loan, there are some things you need to know.
PT is a fast-growing industry, and private practice ownership is an attractive option for many therapists. Are you ready to branch out on your own? Before you run down to your local bank to talk funding, check out the following tips.
What You Need to Consider When Opening a PT Practice
You’ll need a brick-and-mortar location and a website, of course, but you’ll also need licensing. Physical therapy is a broad field. What will you be focusing on? Senior mobility? Post-surgery recovery? Athletic injuries?
Whatever you choose, you’ll need to ensure that you have the right licenses and permits to operate in your state and city, and those fees are dependent on the locale and the type of business you’re looking to run.
Equipment is another concern that is dependent upon your practice’s area of focus. Heart rate monitors, treadmills, TENS units, massage and treatment tables, whirlpools, and other assorted fitness or exercise items can be expensive, and you’ll want to make sure you don’t buy anything unnecessary—or miss out on buying something you need. (Side note: If you’re a WebPT Member, you can purchase everything you need to start a practice—all at deeply discounted prices—in the WebPT Marketplace.)
Before you open your doors, you’ll also need staff! Will you hire therapists as contractors or employees? Part-time or full-time? For any full-time employees, you’ll also have to consider salaries and benefits such as medical insurance and retirement.
And don’t forget about the costs associated with marketing a new practice. As I mentioned before, you’ll need to put up a website, and that may require hiring a developer or graphic designer. Additionally, you may need to pay for web hosting, business cards, flyers to announce your new venture’s grand opening, and advertising—just to name a few.
How You Can Get Funding
Business lending can take many forms. From term loans and lines of credit, to construction loans and quick-turnaround inventory loans, there are a lot of options available to you as someone who’s looking to start a physical therapy practice. You could finance the purchase of a building or one or more pieces of equipment—or simply get some working capital to help get things off the ground.
There are even lenders that specialize in loans for PT practices! GUD Capital works directly with lenders that offer loans for budding physical therapy entrepreneurs. Through its lenders, GUD has term loans ranging from six months to 30 years. Amounts range from a few thousand dollars up to $5 million, with enhancements from the Small Business Administration. GUD also has lines of credit, bridge loans, cash advances, and more.
Business Lending Authority is another lender that provides loans specifically for physical therapy businesses. While this organization typically works with borrowers who have less-than-stellar credit, if you’re finding that you’re unable to get financing elsewhere, you might have an easier time with Business Lending Authority. Plus, you may get through the approval process more quickly—sometimes in as little as 48 hours, if your documentation is in order.
If neither of these lenders work for you, there are many other small business loan options available. Just be sure to do your due diligence and find the lender that best fits your needs—and whose requirements you meet.
You might also be wondering what kind of documentation you’ll need when applying for a small business loan. In addition to a business plan outlining what you expect to accomplish and how you plan to get it done, you’ll need extensive financial documentation, including:
- tax returns
- personal bank statements, and
- anything else that proves you’re financially responsible enough to take on a business loan and make your practice profitable.
There’s no reason why you can’t chase your dream of starting your own practice. It’ll just take some research and a good deal of effort.
Andy Kearns is a Content Analyst for LendEDU and works to produce personal finance content to help educate consumers across the globe. When he’s not writing, you can find Andy cheering on the sub-par Lakers or hanging out somewhere on a beach.