Setting up as practitioner/therapist for the first time is both exciting, full of opportunity, and scary/confusing! The opportunities and challenges are similar for all starting a therapy business. Here are some thoughts about making your practice successful, and although this post was created for new APS Therapy practitioners, mcuh of it is relevant for all setting off on this journey!
To change people’s lives!
To work flexibly, around the needs of your family or health.
To gain immense satisfaction and mental stimulation.
1) Where to practice
If you have your own house/garage/cabin with a space that can be adapted for use as a clinic, you can have people coming to you.
If you have somewhere that people can come to even without your being there, or on the premises but not necessarily involved in their treatment, even better, as one of the great things about an APS Therapy business is that you can run a self managing clinic. After the first teaching session, people you assess as being able to manage, should be able to happily treat themselves.
You just need to:
- Ensure your home or premises is insured for business use.
- Consider parking, and make sure the drive and entry is clean and clear
- Set up a booking system (online if possible)
- Clean the bathroom/toilet each time!
- Consider whether you will need a waiting area
Renting a place – This is an option, but it can present difficulties, because of the clients who cancel, after you’ve paid for your space, and the reduction in your earning ability. I would recoommend getting creative and working with an existing facility to set up self managing clinics in a local centre such as Sports Centre, Gym, Complementary Therapy Clinic, Yoga studio, Sports club, or a Community Centre in a space that isn’t currently being rented out, eg in a corner or part of a larger room, a lobby or waiting area.
By putting together a business plan, you will be able to see the kind of income that is possible, with a self managing clinic; definately enough to split the proceeds between the hosting facility and yourself.
If you don’t have suitable premises, you might want to work as a mobile practitioner.
For this, you just need to:
- Ensure that your car is insured for business use
- Consider your safety:
- Only go to the home of people you trust
- Make sure that somebody knows where you are going, and what time you expect to be back.
- What would you do if someone else, that you weren’t expecting, opened the door?
- Have an excuse ready for if something doesn’t feel right.
- Keep a mobile phone within inobtrusive reach in a pocket, with a trusted friend on speed dial, and have a code phrase for emergencies.
- Ensure you know how to exit any property that you go into.
Case study – an unexpected pracititoner
I recently had a chat with new APS Therapy practitioner Brendan. Brendan had to leave his long career in the army, after having an early stroke. He came on board through his work as gym assistant/wellness coach at the Joseph’s Court Wellness centre in Colchester, and admits to being very sceptical ” because how can it be working when you can’t feel it?!” However, having seen what APS Therapy can do in this work, he then registered as a practitioner in his own right, and began to see people from his contacts at the local stroke club and thorugh his contacts at ‘Help for Heroes’, in their own homes.
Because the results he’s been getting for people have been so good ( some people’s pain resolving after many many years with nothing else working), he is now getting word of mouth referrals of people with many different types of condition or injury, and is constantly busy, working as a mobile practitioner in his local area. His charges are very reasonable, as £20 per hour plus travel expenses.
Because some of his referrals come from a local gym, Brendan and another APS Therapy practitioner intend to set up a clinic there in the new year, which I would expect to be very successful.
Rent out machines
This option allows you to have a face to face teaching session with your client, and then send them away with a machine and a treatment plan to follow at home for a few weeks, with follow up and support from you along the way. It does involve an element of trust, but certainly it works very well for me; in fact I use Skype and Facetime to teach people at a distance. it’s good value for the clients, and clients have reported favourably on the relaxed approach – see The APS diaries!
Of course your return on investment is a little slower, but if you end up with a few machines, it can work out very well. And if you get too much demand, you can rent a machine yourself from Painfree Potential, or send them our way.
2) Set your prices:
3)Registering as self-employed
4) Promote the service!
Treating people one to one and running your own business can be isolating if you don’t get involved with some supportive network or group, so you don’t get lonely, but connect with other like-minded people – there are lots of local therapists or small business groups who have an online presence but meet up locally, and this can also help you to thrive and set up creative collaborations.