You’ve got your business plan set and
your website up and running, now it’s time to look for an office. In this video
I’ll share a few tips about what to look for in an office for your private
practice. Welcome to Private Practice Skills.
I’m Dr. Marie Fang, psychologist in private practice. I post videos offering
tools I learned the hard way about starting and growing private practice so
that you don’t have to. Once you’ve developed your business plan and built
your website, it’s time to start searching for an office. It’s important
to have an office space secured before the next steps because much of what
happens after this point requires that you have a physical address. Step number
one: Create a checklist. Identify how you’re planning to use this space.
Consider your ideal client. Are you needing a place that’s a ADA accessible?
If you work with kids, is the waiting room child-friendly? Do you need there to
be a locked door in between the waiting area and the hallway of offices? Consider
all of these items and create a checklist of must-haves and wishlist
items. Step number two: Do research on cost. With
your checklist of must-haves on hand, do some research on Craigslist to see how
much people are charging in your area. You’ll likely find a range of prices
available depending on whether you wish to sublet part-time or rent full-time as
well as other factors such as neighborhood. Here are some helpful
search terms to get you started: you might want to use “therapy office,”
“therapist’s office,” “psychotherapy office,” “counseling office.” Be sure to use a wide
range of search terms to make sure you catch all the available office spaces in
your area. Quick sidebar: if a listing does not include a photo of the interior
or no photo at all, skip it. You’re going to get nowhere fast if you follow all
those bunny trails. Step number three: Create a budget. How much are you willing
to spend on monthly rent assuming you’re not going to be turning over a profit
for the first few months, and maybe longer? Come up with a number that feels
reasonable within your overall budget. Step number four: Decide if you’re going
to rent full-time or sublet part-time. My suggestion is to start off subletting
one day a week. I mean sublets in my area go from
anywhere from $130 to $190 a month to sublet one day a week, so you only need
one weekly client to start turning a profit. If you do decide to go all-in
with a full-time space, be sure to consider the cost of furniture and other
design elements before taking the plunge. Step number five: Consider the
neighborhood. As you explore potential office spaces, consider your ideal client.
Is it easy to find the office? Is there parking nearby? is there public
transportation available? Is it near a freeway? Is it a safe neighborhood?
(super-important) Think of all of these things and factor them in when you
decide if you’re going to go with an office space. Step number six: Listen to
your gut. This is such a therapist-ey piece of advice, but it’s true. I mean, if
you’re walking into a potential office space and it feels a little bit weird or
the landlord is weirding you out for whatever reason, chances are that your
clients as they come in will have that same weird feeling. And it’s going to
impact your business and your effectiveness as a therapist. So follow
your gut and say no if you have a weird feeling. After all these tips, when you’re
ready to sign a lease take a deep breath and go for it!
Hopefully these tips help the process of looking for an office feel a bit more
manageable. Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well.
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