You're in the mental health field because you want to make a difference AND an income. Too many therapists are making a big difference but only making a small income. Here are 6 ways you can make your private practice more profitable within the next month. 1) Cut expenses
Look more closely at your recurring monthly expenses. Can you find a way to reduce any of them? You might want to sub-lease your office on the days you're not there so you're paying less rent. Do you pay monthly for a therapist referral listing that rarely sends referrals your way that you could cancel? How about buying bulk printer paper of files online? We recently cut expenses by replacing water bottles that we offered to for all clients with a water cooler in the waiting area. This save $100 a month. The little things add up.
2) Raise your fees
When is the last time you raised your fees? Do some research on therapist's fees in your area with similar level of experience are charging and see where you fall in comparison. Ask yourself what is keeping you from raising your fees?
3) Hire an office manager
Most therapists who don't hire a billing person or office manager because of the added expense. I want you to count up the minutes and hours you spend doing clerical work each week. Let's say it's 10 hours per week. If you saw additional 10 clients at $100 per session that's $1000 of additional income per week, or $4000 more every month. With that additional income you can hire an office assistant for $13 per hour for 10 hours per week. You'd be paying out only $130 a week or $520 per month for the additional support. After paying your assistant you'd be bringing in $3480 every month just by replacing your time spent doing clerical hours with clinical hours.
4) Charge more if sessions go over
Do you allow clients to go over the scheduled session time without paying for it? Consider this...If you're seeing 6 clients in a day and 5 of them go over 10 minutes, you're giving away the equivalent of one session that day. If you charge $100 for a 45-50 minute session that means that you're losing $100 a day of income if you don't charge additional fee for additional time. If you charge for additional time you'll make $100 (or your session fee) each day you work. You will have given yourself a raise of several dollars in a month.
5) Charge full fee for no-shows or late cancellations
What's your no show or late cancellation policy? Do you stick to it? I don't like being at work and not getting paid, do you? For years I've charged full fee for no shows and late cancellations, even for first sessions. And a few years ago, I started requiring a credit card in order to schedule an appointment with me or one of my therapists. New clients were notified that if they failed to cancel with more than 24 hours notice they will be billed for the entire session. Guess what? We rarely have no shows and if we do, clients pay the full fee for the therapist's time. I've found that when I require the client to invest something from the get-go they invest more in the therapy process.
6) Tighten up your collection policies
If you're in solo practice, I know how easy it is to let client accounts get out of control. You didn't get into ther therapy business to do accounting. Try scheduling some time to review your client accounts, send out bills and follow up with clients who owe you money. In my clinic, our policy is if I client is more than one session behind in payments their therapy is "on hold" until their account is current.
More on therapist and money in upcoming posts, but until then, I challenge you to try one of these suggestions this month and give yourself a raise.