I often have conversations with newly qualified or recently relocated therapists looking for a room. That’s it – just a room, no specifications, sometimes not even an area! I jotted down some key elements to consider when deciding where to set up a practise.
Convenience for you and your clients: Will anyone need ground floor/lift? What’s the parking like? Is there local public transport? How far are you, and they, willing to travel? What would be central? Will you need to carry equipment back and forth?
Have you considered working at home, hiring generic office space, a room in a centre, or running your own centre (look for a future article on this.) There are lots of pros and cons with each. Is going mobile a practical option for you?
Where do you WANT to work? What would make your heart sing?
Will more expensive room hire (nicer space/area) be compensated for by higher fee paying clients or more clients? You need to consider the area in terms of costs – not only will a nicer area cost you more in rent, but the locals can also probably afford to pay you more.
Do you need a receptionist? Do you need an online appointment management system that clients can accesss?
Demographics: Do you know what your ideal client is like? Male/female, age, income, issues, tranpsort options, personality type, web savvy/not etc. How will they know you’re there? How will they get to you? An area where you already have contacts to spread the word about you can also be abenefit: either way consider your marketing strategy.
The financial equation – how much do you need to earn per week/month to make this work? How many clients can you see each day and still be fully functional, what are your outgoings (this includes marketing, living costs, equipment costs, tax, etc)? Do this for several different options. Have you got any seed money/existing income to keep you going while you build up your clientele? At what point is break even? What do you need to aim for to flourish? Only then can you work out a budget and the beginnings of a business plan.
Would it be useful to another income stream to supplement your income? (Look out for another article on that!)
WIth all those questions in mind, an excellent idea is to create a survey for your existing/potential clients to complete. Ask what they want, where they would like you to be, how much they’re prepared to pay etc. And discuss these things with fellow therapists in the same area.
When you’ve narrowed down what you want and need, create a priority list – MUST have, important, useful bonus, don’t mind, prefer NOT to have, deal breakers.
Now you’re ready to start looking!
For further information, please contact Jen Tiller