7 Things to Consider Before Starting Your Own Private Practice

Less than half of doctors work in private practice. Yet, for some, it's not only the right move — they do well starting their own practice entirely.

Still, although the payoff is often worth it, it's not an easy or stress-free process.

To ensure the most successful private practice possible and reduce the bumps in the road, here are the things you need to consider before you decide this path is the one for you.

1. Consider Your Motivation

Considering your motivation to start a medical practice might just be the most important factor in deciding if this is right for you. Although it's a very rewarding journey, it also comes with a lot of responsibility.

Those who start private practices because they want to be the boss and reduce their own workload will usually fail because they're oblivious to the work they have to put in to get things up and running.

However, if you want to start a private practice because you're passionate about helping people and have ideas for doing so, and you're fully aware of the difficulties you may face, that's a good sign that your practice might be a huge success. 

2. Think About the Responsibility

Carrying the weight of medical practice on your shoulders is far from easy, so it's critical to consider your responsibility and whether you can handle it. This may include:

  • Working extremely long hours, even when things are up and running

  • Being the go-to for all major decisions

  • Having to take the fall for mistakes

If you're comfortable carrying this and accept that it's worth it to have your practice and make a difference, it may be the right decision for you. 

3. Think About Location

If you want to start a practice, you need to think carefully about the location. You need to start your practice in a place where you can afford the building — whether buying outright or renting — but it also needs to be in a place where you'll get a lot of patients.

It's also a good idea to consider the competition in the area. You could struggle to find patients if you start a practice in a big city without a good marketing campaign and plenty of other doctors around.

You should counter this problem by researching the location, whether it's where you work and live now or in a brand new place.

4. Fee Structures and Billing

You'll also have to research your fees and billing. You need to decide what kind of insurance you accept, if any, and if you accept out-of-pocket payments. Then it's about aligning with those insurance companies.

You'll also need to decide if you offer financing plans.

That's not even the most difficult part, though — the actual billing is. You'll have to hire a whole staff team to deal with that side of things unless you outsource this part, which is often a good idea.

Outsourcing medical billing benefits can be huge and really pay off.

5. Consider Who You Need to Employ

You'll also need to think about who you need to employ. A doctor's office doesn't run on medical staff alone, and supporting staff is usually critical to keeping things ticking over. This includes:

  • Billing staff, if you aren't outsourcing

  • Receptionists

  • Assistants

  • Nurses

You'll need to research the appropriate salary for each of these positions as well as the qualifications needed to become one. Hiring can be the most stressful part of any job with responsibility. 

6. Do You Have the Money?

Perhaps the biggest logistical factor to consider is if you have the money to start your own private practice. While it's true that it can be very lucrative, it also takes a lot of money to get things up and running. You have to pay for:

  • Staff

  • The latest technology and equipment

  • Software for billing and health records

  • The building itself

While those are likely to be the main expenses, there are many more things to consider. If you don't have the money at the start, or can't get it, then starting your own private practice will likely be impossible.

Most doctors who start their own private practice do so with a business loan, so do your research on how to get one of those and make sure you go with a reputable lender.

7. Is This Worth the Risk?

The last thing you need to consider is simply: is this worth the risk?

18.4% of private sector businesses fail within the first year. Even more will fall after that.

If you're prepared to put all of the work in with the honest understanding that things may not work out if you slack off — or even because of factors outside of your control — then you may be ready to begin this venture.

If you can't stand the thought of failure or may not be able to put the work in to make it successful, then sticking where you are right now may be the best bet for the foreseeable future.

The good news is that if you do your research and do this in a well-measured and educated way, the risk lessens — but it's impossible to negate completely.

Consider These Things Before Starting a Private Practice

Starting a private practice is an admirable decision, but it's not an easy one. There are lots of things to think about, from hiring the right staff, to medical billing, to the location of the practice.

There are many successful private practices around the United States though, so it's doable. It just takes determination, resilience, and smart, well-informed decisions.

For more business news and other advice, check out the rest of our site.