I know the feeling, you are so excited that you can’t stand it. You want to start as soon as possible. Here are four things that you absolutely have to do before starting a private practice (I’m assuming that you are licensed and completed the appropriate school work, if not, add steps .5= get your degree and .7=get licensed):
1. File as an LLC. I discussed this in a previous post, but an LLC limits your personal liability (as noted in other spots, I’m not a lawyer). Many clinicians jump into a DBA (Doing Business As), but an LLC or PLLC (Professional LLC) will restrict people from going after your personal assets.
2. Obtain Liability Insurance: I have a $1m/$3 policy, which is the industry standard. There is not much need to go beyond that in my opinion.
3. Set up a separate bank account: It looks more professional to have clients write a check to _____________ Counseling LLC than to you.
4. Establish your paperwork: I am going to be posting my paperwork as a service to you soon, but talk to others that have a good set of paperwork or hire a lawyer. I saved time by creating my own and having a lawyer review it, rather than write it all from scratch. Want my paperwork packet?
I hope that helps. If you have questions, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is a therapist, counselor, psychologist, and owner of Mental Wellness Counseling www.mentalwellnesscounseling.com in Traverse City, MI. He helps angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples…and just about everyone else. He is a frequent speaker in the Traverse City area, Michigan, and nationally. He helps counselors in private practice through his blog www.PracticeofthePractice.com and through individual consulting.