March 14, 2023

Episode 1:

5 Must-Haves Before Starting a Private Practice

In this episode, we’ll discuss the 5 things you should have in place before starting your private practice.

Episode 1: 5 Must-Haves Before Starting a Private Practice

Show Notes

If you’ve been thinking of leaving your 9-5 job or maybe you want another way to make income on side, starting a private practice is a great idea!

Like any business there are always a few things you’ll want to have in place before opening the doors or working with your first clients.

In today’s episode, we discuss the 5 things you should have in place before opening the doors of your private practice:

1. Register Your Business

In Canada, you can register your business through your provincial entity. Each province has its own regulations about what’s required when registering your business. So check out your provincial website to learn more about this process.

As a private practice owner, you can register as a sole proprietor or as a corporation. It’s important to know that some regulatory bodies have regulations or standards about what’s expected when registering your private practice, especially if you choose to register your practice as a corporation. If you’re a part of a regulatory body, you’ll want to check to determine if your regulatory body has such expectations.

Most therapists start their private practice as a sole proprietor and as they’re practice grows they decide to change their business model to a corporation. But some open their practice as a corporation from day one. It’s important identify which business structure fits you and your practice vision best.

There are pros and cons to each business structure. If you’re curious about what the differences of these structures are, I encourage you to check out your provincial or states website to learn more.

2. Obtain Liability Insurance

Sometimes, while working in an organization, therapists purchase individual liability insurance as extra protection, but when we purchase individual liability insurance to cover us as an employee in an organization it usually doesn’t cover everything we might need when starting a private practice, such as commercial insurance or rental insurance, if we’re renting a space.

On the other hand, some therapists may never have purchased individual liability insurance while working in an organization because many organizations have organization-wide liability insurance that covers employees.

But whether you currently have individual liability insurance or not, you’ll definitely, it’s a good idea to look into the best coverage for your specific circumstance as a private practice owner. Whether you start a part-time or full-time practice, practice liability insurance is essential and it may include practice liability, commercial liability and even rental insurance, if you’re renting a space to hold your sessions.

3. Purchase Private Practice Forms

It’s important to have private practice forms in place before accepting your first client. Forms you might want to consider include consent forms, client intake form, medical history forms, biopsychosocial assessments, or any other legal form for your clients to sign to demonstrate that they agree to the terms of service when working with you.

You might be wondering, “Where do I find such forms?”

First of all, you can contact a lawyer to determine what legal forms you’ll need in your specific jurisdiction or specialty.

Also, you find private practice forms on sellers platforms such as Etsy and purchase a licence for use of form templates.

I actually have my own Etsy shop where I sell private practice forms. To check out my digital template shop click here.

But something to keep in mind is that that generic template consent forms that you purchase online may not include everything you’ll need in your private practice because sellers who sell practice form templates cannot know every provincial or state regulation, every regulatory bodies standard, or every professional ethical requirements.

Also, like myself, many digital templates sellers are not lawyers and when it comes to the legal pieces within your jurisdiction, it is wise to ensure that whatever forms you use include everything you’ll need in your private practice.

Now, something we don’t want to do is to take a private practice form that we didn’t buy, take it and use it for our own. And that’s because there are copyright laws governing written or artistic content. Instead, purchase a licence for use or have a professional draw up your practice forms for you. 

4. Purchase Website Domain Purchased

Purchase your domain name after you’ve registered your business.

One of the most common mistakes, is that therapists or coaches purchase a domain name as soon as they think of a business name. Unfortunately, what sometime happens is that after the domain name is purchased, they try to register their business and the business name is already taken by someone else. That’s why it’s best to register your practice as a business first because otherwise you might purchase a domain name that you probably can’t use as it’s relevant to your specific business.

5. Choose Your Practice Management System

A practice management system is a way to document case notes and to keep track of client information. Some therapists and coaches still use the lock-and-key cabinet approach to securely store client files. And that is still a relevant strategy today, as long as you are ensuring you are following the privacy law that is governed by your province, state or country.

But more commonly, therapists and coaches are using online practice management platforms.

Personally, in my practice, I use Jane App. Jane App is a practice management system based in Vancouver, Canada and they are PIPEDA (The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act) compliant.

PIPEDA is the Canadian legislation for privacy laws. Some provinces have their own privacy laws a well. If you’re located in the United States, you’ll likely be looking for a platform that is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant.

Jane App is both PIPEDA and HIPAA compliant.

For Canadian listeners, it’s important to ensure that whichever online practice management system you use is PIPEDA compliant and is based or at-least have a server located in Canada.

There are lots of practice management software that are HIPAA compliant but that doesn’t mean it’s PIPEDA compliant.

So, there you have it, the 5 things you’ll want to have in place before starting your private practice.

If you’re wondering, “What next?” or “What do I do after I implement these 5 steps?” You can download my free Practice Checklist that can help guide you through your private practice setup and journey.

To sign up to receive the Practice Checklist click here.

Podcast Links

Designer Practice Digital Template Shop:

Free Practice Checklist:

Free Boosting Business Community:

Our Podcast Sponsor

Jane App:

When you sign up for Jane App with the promotional code EVASPARE1MO you receive your first month free.

Credits & Disclaimers

Music by ItsWatR from Pixabay

The Designer Practice Podcast and Evaspare Inc. has an affiliate and/or sponsorship relationship for advertisements in our podcast episodes. We receive commission or monetary compensation, at no extra cost to you, when you use our promotional codes and/or check out advertisement links.

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