Starting Your Own Physical Therapy Business: The “Whys” and “Hows” of a PT Startup

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When I was a physical therapy student, I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. But the healthcare landscape is quickly and constantly evolving and one of the amazing factors about the physical therapy profession is that there are many niches and specialty areas to fill! That is to say, you never stop learning!

In this post, I want to give you some ideas of how physical therapists are starting businesses that seek to fill the healthcare needs they see around them. I will briefly mention my own business but read on for some great tips about starting your own “out of network” PT practice from a conversation that I had with Physical Therapist and business owner, Dr. Jesse Mehring, PT, DPT who founded and runs an “out of network” physical therapy clinic in Mt Orab, OH.

My Story of Becoming a PT Entrepreneur

My own desire to start a new business came from a need that I felt there was for support in studying for the certification exam that physical therapists can take if they want to specialize in Orthopedic Physical Therapy. In 2022, I co-founded the tutoring company OCS Overhaul, LLC

My business partner, Dr. Nick Davis, PT, DPT, OCS, and I offer test preparation resources and tutoring sessions (some free and some paid) for physical therapists studying for this Orthopedic Clinical Specialist test.

We not only wanted to fill a need of educational support for physical therapists on the path to become Board Certified as Orthopedic Clinical Specialists (OCS), but we also really wanted to give back to our profession with free study resources.

Check out our website for more information www.OCSOverhaul.com or email us at ocsoverhaul@gmail.com

Physical Therapy “Out of Network” & Cash-Based Clinics

I also have numerous friends who have gone on to start their own practices or become clinic directors to “fill a need” or practice physical therapy in a way that their former jobs would not allow (e.g., starting up a “cash pay” physical therapy clinic vs. working in an insurance-based model). A good friend that I talked to recently is physical therapist, Dr. Jesse Mehring, PT, DPT the owner of Superior Physiotherapy & Performance.

“I never thought I would start my own PT business,”

-Dr. Jesse Mehring, PT, DPT (Physical Therapist and Owner of Superior Physiotherapy & Performance)

As I mentioned above, the healthcare landscape is constantly evolving and with this evolution comes the desire for better outcomes for patients and more sustainable practice environments for clinicians (i.e., Doctors (MDs), Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPTs), nurses etc.). Jesse shared a lot about his business with me and from our conversation there were three key themes that emerged. I am very grateful to Jesse in sharing his passion for physical therapy and the enthusiasm that he brings to his business, of Superior Physiotherapy & Performance.

3 Keys to A Successful “Out of Network” Physical Therapy Business

  1. Charge What You Are Worth

This concept is one that is CRUCIAL to take to heart when you are looking to start your own business as a physical therapist. There are multiple factors that go into this calculation but some of the points that Jesse emphasized were these:

  • Physical therapists are doctorate level providers (if attaining a DPT) and are highly trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal dysfunction (i.e., injuries to muscles, bones, tendons, nerves etc.)
  • A Cash-Pay physical therapy model allows the PT to spend 1 on 1 time with a patient often for 45-60 minutes! That is a HUGE benefit and one that is rare if not impossible in an insurance-based clinic (think about the last time you went to the doctor and how long the doctor spent talking to you- was it 5 minutes? 10 minutes?)
  • Physical therapists with training in sports, strength and conditioning, orthopedics etc. can offer even more value for clients because they can “bridge the gap” between where traditional PT ends and where sports training begins

So, with those factors in mind, physical therapists need to value the time and quality of the services they are providing.

2. Stack Enterprises

One of the added benefits of Jesse leasing gym space that his PT business works out of is that he can offer other services beyond physical therapy that are within the same performance space. These include:

  • Gym memberships
  • Personal Training
  • Group Fitness Classes
  • Sports Performance Coaching
  • Nutrition Consults
  • Massage therapy

Jesse has found that this type of business model, where multiple revenue streams function within the same space is efficient and almost necessary to capture different client needs and generate necessary income to sustain the business. It is also important to remember your “Why’s” for going into business so that you don’t overextend yourself.

“I am here to help others and leave a positive impact on as many peoples’ lives as I can”

-Dr. Jesse Mehring, PT, DPT, Cert DN, MDT-A

Jesse has found that having multiple businesses under one roof works better for his business than seeking to rush and open multiple PT clinics at different locations. The other side of this is that having many business directions is a LOT of work to keep going. This is where finding a business direction that you are passionate about is so important. For Jesse, one of the aspects that drives him is that of impacting his clients in positive ways.

3. Invest in Yourself

“The best investment is to invest in yourself- your mental health, physical health, professional growth”

-Dr. Jesse Mehring, PT, DPT, Cert DN, MDT-A

This could include paying for online or in person continuing education courses. Or, this could be investing your own health as a PT business owner and making time to exercise, cook healthy meals, prioritize getting enough sleep, taking care of your mental health with counseling or being consistent with a meditation or mindfulness practice. This could also include making time for friendships or seeking out professional guidance such as mentorship. Jesse credits a mentoring program that bought into early on; PT Biz: https://www.physicaltherapybiz.com/ for a lot of his business’ success.  

Thanks so much to Jesse for sharing his story about starting his PT business and I hope that you’ve found some of this information helpful and inspiring if becoming a PT entrepreneur is something that you are interested in! As always, please reach out if you have questions or comments about this blog or others!

Check out Jesse’s business website and social media platforms below for more info:

www.superiorpt.com

  • Instagram- @sppmtorab @drjsuperiorpt
  • Facebook- Superior Physiotherapy & Performance @sppmtorab
  • YouTube- @sppmtorab

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