Gordon Brewer on How he Switched his Contractors to W2 Employees | GP 35

Gordon Brewer on How he Switched his Contractors to W2 Employees | GP 35

Are you a group practice owner seeking to straighten out some financial admin? What are some of the best ways of saving money while maximizing the payroll for your clinicians? Is there a helpful solution that will save you both time and money?

In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks with Gordon Brewer about how he switched his contractors to W2 employees.

Meet Gordon Brewer

L. Gordon Brewer, Jr., MEd, LMFT therapist | podcaster | trainer | speaker | writer is a  licensed marital and family therapist and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast and Blog. The Practice of Therapy provides information and resources for clinicians starting, growing, or scaling private practices.

Gordon has worked in the human services and mental health fields for over 30 years. He has previously worked in agency settings and is currently in private practice as a therapist. He is the owner of a group therapy practice, Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC located in Kingsport, TN.   He has also served as an adjunct instructor and internship supervisor at East Tennessee State University.

Gordon is married to Mary “Sister” Brewer and they have one daughter, Rebecca who is an environmental educator.  Gordon is also a clergy person in the Episcopal Church (vocational deacon).

Visit his counseling website and Practice of Therapy website. Listen to his podcast here and get in touch via email: gordon@practiceoftherapy.com

In This Podcast


  • How Gordon started the switch
  • Gordon’s tips from his experience of the switch
  • Setting up health insurance for his clinicians
  • Gordon’s favorite aspects of having a group practice

How Gordon started the switch

Once he had decided that he wanted to switch from having contractors to W2 employees, he went to inform his clinicians and was honest and frank with them.

What I did is I just want to people I had at the time and said ‘okay look, this is the decision I’ve made, it’s a business decision, this is how it’ll impact you and this is what’ll happen’, and I knew kind of when I did that I was gonna lose some people.

Gordon says that the switch did impact people’s minds about whether to stay or go, but most of his clinicians were on board with the idea.

I did it with the mindset of ‘okay, to some degree I’m gonna have to start over in order to make this correction.’

Making this switch, however challenging it was in the future, led to Gordon creating a profit margin down the line and also enabled him to get his clinicians’ health insurance.

Gordon’s tips from his experience of the switch

  • Decide on a day to do it, like the beginning of the year or at the start of a new month, and make sure to let you clinicians know that this shift is happening. Make the switch before or at the start of a new tax year.
  • Take the time to understand how to manage the payroll effectively, although this may be challenging at first. Making sure that you are comfortable with the payroll is important because you need to have a way of tracking both payments and payment withholding. You can find a system that works for you, but there are also systems available such as Quickbooks and Gusto that can assist you.
  • Make sure to speak to your advisors beforehand, such as an employment attorney and your accountant to make sure that you are on the right page.

Setting up health insurance for his clinicians

Gordon’s payroll structure is based on a minimal amount of hours each clinician works a week, as this helps to incentivize them to keep bringing in new clients or encourage them to stick to the same clients.

Gordon worked through Gusto to receive the Affordable Care Act insurance at the beginning of 2020.

Gordon’s favorite aspects of having a group practice

One big perk of having a group practice is you create for yourself an automatic, almost passive income source, being able to provide not only a place for people to work and practice their practice, but also creating some income for yourself while providing for others. So it’s a win-win in that sense.

One of them is feeling free to take time off when necessary because he no longer has to worry too much about the cash flow as the group practice runs itself well.

Useful Links:

Meet Alison Pidgeon

Alison Pidgeon | Grow A Group Practice PodcastAlison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.

Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.

Thanks For Listening!

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