Live Consulting with Choya Wise: How Do I Find 1099 Clinicians to Hire? | PoP 560

Are you looking to grow your 1099-based practice further and hire more clinicians? How can you make your employment offer to contractors attractive enough to stand out from the crowd? What can you do to properly search for new clinicians online?

In this podcast takeover episode, Alison Pidgeon does live consulting with Choya Wise who is overwhelmed with referrals and is needing to find out how he can find 1099 clinicians.

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Meet Choya Wise

Choya Wise is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He is the founder of Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services, a group practice in Huntsville, Alabama. His specialty is in Anger Management and Relationship Counseling. He also works as Clinical Supervisor and is the Administrator of the Facebook Group Social Workers of Alabama.

Visit his website and connect on Facebook and LinkedIn.

In This Podcast

  • Offer possibilities to get training
  • Payment options
  • How to optimize searching for new clinicians online
  • Can you have 1099 and W2s?

Offer possibilities to get training

If you are looking to hire more 1099 clinicians, a way to encourage clinicians to come work for you is if you offer training for them to expand their scope of work.

You can set this system up by having them pay for it initially and then you are reimbursing them later on after they have taken a few clinicians on and in this way, both you as the practice owner and the clinician can enjoy the work and both be paid.

You have to think about what you are going to be offering that is attractive in comparison to those other practices or agencies where they could go to work. (Alison Pidegon)

Payment options

If you are not offering benefits, you can alternatively offer higher pay which is in the long-term also attractive to potential contractors. You can look at how much other agencies are offering to pay contractors to get a sense of your competition.

Consider paying your 1099 contractors a higher rate than W2 clinicians because 1099’s have to pay their own taxes, and this is a good perk of higher pay to offer them.

You can also consider dropping lower-paying insurance companies and offer 1099 contractors to work with the higher-paying insurance companies so that they get a higher hourly rate at your practice.

How to optimize searching for new clinicians online

  • You can search by employer: if you know any good agencies or companies in your area that have the kind of staff you would like to have at your practice, you can search that agency’s name, and then you can start connecting with those people.
  • Look for people that have initials after their name so that you can know that they are licensed.

I have noticed that people who are somewhat content in their job wouldn’t necessarily be looking on LinkedIn to find a new job but if something really better fell in their lap, they would be open to pursuing it. So, I will [privately] message people on LinkedIn and say “hey, we’re hiring! Do you know anybody who is interested? Are you interested?” … and you can find people that way. (AlisonPidgeon)

  • Try connecting with people on LinkedIn first before sending them a private email to avoid coming across as spammy or unprofessional.
  • Consider putting an employment page on your website to encourage clinicians who browse your page to apply directly to your practice.

Can you have 1099’s and W2’s?

It depends on your state, some states are fine with having a mix and others are not. For some, you have to provide a good reason why one fully licensed clinician is a 1099 and another is a fully licensed W2.

For example, for some states, you can mix this around and find the system that works for your practice as well as what is allowed in your state, but for most, you need to be specific about how you structure it if that were something you would like to do.

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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Podcast Transcription

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[ALISON PIDGEON] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast, number 560. Hello, I’m taking over the podcast today. I’m Alison pigeon your host. I’m one of the business consultants with Practice of the Practice and we are doing a series of five episodes where we are doing live consulting with our Group Practice Boss members. Group Practice Boss is a membership community that we started last year in 2020, and when I say we, I mean, myself and Whitney Owens, where we help established group practice owners really clean up their systems, figure out how to scale up their business, all kinds of challenges that group practice owners face. And we have just been having a blast working with practice owners all over the country. And today I am talking to Choya Wise. He is a LCSW and the founder of Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services. He has a group practice in Huntsville, Alabama.
[ALISON] So he has some questions for me specifically about hiring more 1099 contractors. He is overwhelmed with referrals, as many of us are at this point in the pandemic and so yes, we talk about that and a few other things. So without further ado here is my live consulting session with Choya. Choya, welcome to the podcast.
[CHOYA WISE] Hello, hello. Thank you for having me. Yes.
[ALISON] I’m excited to talk with you today. Before we get started with your questions, can you give us a little bit of an overview of your practice?
[CHOYA] Yes, yes. Okay. The name of my company is Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services. We’re located in Huntsville, Alabama, and my specialty is with anger management and relationship counseling. Right now, our practice is pretty much insurance-based. We do private pay as well, but we’re insurance-based practice. And I have two clinicians that I have on right now, two part-time clinicians. They are 10 90 nines and that’s kind of where we are right now.
[ALISON] Okay, awesome. So I know you have a list of questions ready so we can just jump right in.
[CHOYA] Yes, yes. Alison. So it’s been a big struggle for me and I’m so glad to be able to talk to you about this today. I am having a serious predicament. You all have taught me so much about marketing to where I’ve just been really doing well with that particularly from the digital spectrum, is what I do. I probably need to strengthen my ground game with the doctors and things like that later, but referrals is not an issue right now. So I’m getting a ton of referrals and right now, like I said, I have two clinicians. They’re only able to see maybe 15 to 20 combined. So I need a lot more help and I see probably about 10 to 12 a week myself. And so my biggest struggle right now has been with just trying to get someone in to help me. I need to hire on another 1099, I’ve tried Indeed and paid about $400 or $500 so far for the past couple of months and just really not good leads that I receive. Maybe one or two reasonably decent ones and I’m exploring LinkedIn, but I’m kind of stuck and just need some help in that area.
[ALISON] Okay, great. I think a lot of people are actually experiencing this right now because of the pandemic and everything turning to telehealth. It became a lot easier for people just to go start their own practice. So you’re actually probably the fourth or fifth person that’s told me they’re having this issue.
[CHOYA] Really? Okay.
[ALISON] Yes. Yes. So this is a trend that’s happening. That probably doesn’t make you feel any better, but I guess I wonder what is the kind of where you are geographically? Are there a lot of therapists, are there a few therapists? Like, what is your sense of like the pool of prospective applicants?
[CHOYA] I thought it was a lot of therapists where I am, but it may be more just like, I, you know it seems as though it’s a pretty good number of therapists where I am, but I really don’t know Alison, because when I’m putting out these inquiries, nobody is really biting. And I don’t know if it’s because of specialty. I have noticed, which is good for me, but not in this situation, a lot of people don’t want to see couples, you know? Yes, and that’s half my referrals, so they have to be able to do that. And I don’t know if that’s an issue or not.
[ALISON] So what if you allowed somebody to have a specialty, obviously that still fits within your niche of your practice, but if they don’t want to see couples or they don’t have training to see couples, you don’t necessarily make them do that because that’s a whole specialty in and of itself that a lot of people don’t have that advanced training. So I could see where that is probably really shrinking down the number of people who would be able to be a good fit for you. Does that make sense?
[CHOYA] It makes a lot of sense because I didn’t know this was such a big deal as far as specialty until I started putting out the ads and it just seemed like when I started narrowing down, I looked at some of the examples that you all gave for how you, you know, with the content that you want to put in the ad. And the more specific I got, it’s like, it did cut off a lot of people and the responses and it’s just being, seemed like it narrowed to nothing.
[ALISON] So, I mean, especially with the couples, because I know those trainings like EFT training, Gottman Training can be quite extensive and expensive. So maybe not necessarily require somebody who has that training, but even just say, like, if you have an interest in getting training in this area, like maybe work out some kind of agreement as part of them coming to work for you, that you could help pay for that. And we can kind of talk about how you do that with independent contractors, but —
[CHOYA] Yes. Yes, that would be another good thing [crosstalk].
[ALISON] Basically what I did when my staff were, I seized this, I had them pay for the training themselves and then they showed me the receipt that they paid for it and then I paid them a “bonus” and I’m putting that in air quotes on their paycheck to reimburse them. So in terms of a paper trail, it looked like they just earned a bonus, but really I was reimbursing them for the training.
[CHOYA] Oh, so it’s, in other words, you incentivize them for getting a training.
[ALISON] Yes. Well, I paid for it, but on paper it doesn’t look like I paid for it.
[CHOYA] Okay. Okay. All right.
[ALISON] Yes, if that makes sense.
[CHOYA] Yes.
[ALISON] So that’s what we did with, there was a lot of folks that applied to my practice that were interested in learning more about maternal mental health, but they didn’t have any of the trainings. And so that’s how we got people trained. Like obviously if they had an interest, it was a good fit for me. It was just actually getting them, you know like paying for the training and having them go through it and then once they did, then they were able to take those clients. So obviously it was a benefit to the practice because that’s kind of what we had become known for. So maybe just finding somebody who has the interest would be enough to hire them.
[CHOYA] Okay. Okay.
[ALISON] And then get them trained.
[CHOYA] So would you put that in the ad, Alison, something about that we can help you with training or something because you brought up a really good point, you know?
[CHOYA] I think that some of the people that I’ve talked to, I know one person I knew would be really good and I think they ended up just trying to go in another direction, maybe trying to start their own anyway. But they were, you know a big issue was, “Well, I’m not trained in this area and I just feel inadequate. I don’t mind doing it. I actually really want to work with couples, but I just kind of fear the thing about stepping into that not having the experience.”
[ALISON] Yes. I would definitely, I mean, you don’t necessarily have to go into a lot of detail, but I would put that in the job posting, like if this is an interest, there would possibly be opportunities to get training.
[CHOYA] Okay. I’m writing that down now.
[ALISON] Okay. I guess the other question I have too, about your difficulty with finding people to hire is, are you, like if you went on Indeed and looked at other people’s job ads or other agencies or practices in your area are a lot of them offering like a lot of benefits or like a sign on bonus or that kind of thing?
[CHOYA] Yes. Quite a few seem to be offering like thousand dollar sign on bonuses and things like that. Some have actual full benefits and so the same credentials are required, but they’re hiring them on full-time instead of like contract. So I’ve seen a lot of that.
[ALISON] Yes. So that’s actually a really good way to tell how competitive it is in your area for hiring. If you see a lot of like pretty extensive benefit packages or the sign-on bonus, that’s a sign that really people like employers are really competing for good people. As opposed to, in an area where you don’t see as much of that, there might be a saturation of therapists and so employers don’t have to work as hard to hire them. So that ultimately means that you have to think about what are you offering that’s going to be attractive in comparison to those other practices or agencies where they could go to work, if that makes sense.
[CHOYA] Okay. It does. I feel like I’m back in the dating game or something, and nobody wants me. It’s just a weird thing and you’re trying to find the thing to kind of lure these people in. And you know, one thing I have a Facebook group with social workers, and so I said, “Oh, well, why don’t you just put it up there because you got all these people?” And I was for a minute, I was like, “Well, maybe it would be a conflict of interest.” I was like, “No, that’s crazy.” And so I put it up there and so I had the ad there, nobody has hit, but let me tell you, it has been so many other people posting ads for the same thing in the group that it’s like, wow, maybe this is the problem. It looks like everybody is looking for the same thing and a lot of these companies are bigger than mine and I’m just a small timer trying to trying to come up a little bit here.
[ALISON] Right. Yes. So here’s a couple more things you could think about. So with ICEs, especially, I feel like the attractive part of that set up is the flexibility of the schedule because you can’t tell them how, like when they’re going to work or how many hours or any of that kind of stuff. And also if they don’t need benefits, getting a high rate of pay is attractive to the therapists. So I don’t know if you have a sense of how you’re paying in comparison to other opportunities in the area.
[CHOYA] I don’t. I mean just for transparency, I pretty much have just started everybody with like a 60, 40 and you know, and just taking it from there, but I’m not sure what some of the other agencies are doing. I mean, that would be something to look into.
[ALISON] Yes. You might be able to tell that from looking at the ads on Indeed, get a sense of what other people are paying, which might be helpful. And obviously for a contractor position, you want to be paying more than a W2 position because they have to pay all their taxes.
[CHOYA] Definitely.
[ALISON] Something else too, if you want to keep the ICE, model you could look at maybe like dropping some of the lower paying insurances and just keeping the higher paying ones, because then that is going to give them a raise.
[CHOYA] Absolutely. So I have been using Indeed right now, and Indeed has been draining my budget for very little hits, and so I was, I’m trying to look at LinkedIn now. I’ve heard you talk about the importance of, when looking for somebody that sometimes it’s more easy, it’s easier to maybe recruit someone who was working for an agency like mental health and things like that, because they’re, I need to find these people because they’re not getting paid anything. I have one person I’ve been trying to negotiate with, but it’s a benefits thing again because it’s, you know she comes over and so she’ll be leaving everything. But anyway, so the thing is that I was wondering like, what is, do you have any recommendation on how you narrow this down to, I don’t even know how to properly search agency, or if it’s key search terms that you look for you as far as like, just look up mental health. How do you start this search on LinkedIn to narrow it down to these types of agencies? I don’t know if that’s a weird question.
[ALISON] No, no, that’s a great question. So you could actually do a search for a particular employer. So if you know the names of the big agencies in your area, you can type them into LinkedIn and then anybody who’s identified that they worked there will come up in the search.
[CHOYA] Oh, I didn’t know that.
[ALISON] Yes. So then you can start connecting with those people. And I’d look for anybody who looks like they have initials after their name, like it’s obvious that they’re licensed. And then I’ve even noticed that people who are like somewhat content in their job, aren’t necessarily looking on LinkedIn to find a new job, but if something better really fell in their lap, they would be open to pursuing it. So I will like private message people on LinkedIn and just say, “Hey, we’re hiring. Do you know anybody who’s interested? Are you interested? Here’s more details.” I have unemployment page on my website. I’ll give them the link and then I found some good people that way. Because I’m kind of in the same boat. I have to really work hard to find clinicians because there’s just not that many around.
[CHOYA] Oh really?
[CHOYA] Well you have mastered it. That’s why I’m here talking to you because you figured it out. So yes, that’s really interesting. Let me ask you this Alison, from your experience and your opinion. So I found some ways on LinkedIn to, of course connect with people where, I’m definitely not going to call them, but you can find their phone number and then a lot of times the email is there as well. Do you think is more efficient to private message them or do you, have you ever campaigned by just getting their emails and emailing them?
[ALISON] I have never outright emailed people. I usually try to connect with them on LinkedIn and if they accept my connection, then I’ll send them a private message because I feel like that’s kind of less spammy in a way than just like cold emailing them because I know I don’t appreciate that. Versus like, it’s very common like when you connect with someone on LinkedIn, they might send you a little message saying like, “Hey, thanks for connecting. Let me know if you need help with this or whatever.”
[CHOYA] Absolutely. Absolutely. And just, if you’re able to share, I don’t know, what has been most effective for, because this is how I built my business asking you these questions, Alison. I don’t know if you know that or not. So what has been the most effective way for you to be able to acquire applicants? Has it been through LinkedIn or is there any other avenues? Was it been word of mouth or what would you say the top two or three?
[ALISON] Yes, I would say definitely word of mouth. And at this point now we have an employment page on our website and we’re established enough that word has gotten around it’s a good place to work. And so I just get like unsolicited resumes now. I don’t even run job ads anymore.
[CHOYA] Oh my goodness. I just, when I grow up, okay, so that’s awesome I was thinking about that too and just putting something on the site. I’m not known like that yet, but you just never know. It looks, it sounds like a good thing to do it professionally.
[ALISON] Right. So here’s one other road that you could go down that I realize is a big undertaking, but I’m suggesting it because it’s really helped me, because when I had contractors, it was really hard for me to grow beyond 12. It seemed like as soon as I hired the 12th person, somebody would leave usually to go start their own practice. I would have people apply that would say, “Oh, I’d love to come work for you, but I really need benefits.” So we switched over to having W2 employees mostly so we could offer benefits like specifically health insurance. And that has been huge in terms of it just is so much easier now to hire people and retain them. So again, I realized that that would be a big change for you in your practice but I think it would be worth the time and energy if you want to go that direction, because I think it would really help your situation that you’re in now, which probably isn’t going to change. I mean, there’s not going to be magically more therapists in your area tomorrow, so.
[CHOYA] Wow, I hadn’t thought about that one, Alison, this early in the game, because I didn’t know if I’m to that point yet, but you’re saying even at this point, that may be a something to consider. And I guess like people who were kind of went behind the ears on things like this, people like me probably wondering how to question, I know I do is like, it just seems like this would cost more. Can you share a little bit about that? Like does it cost more for out-of-pocket for me because when I feel like I’m barely doing what I need to do financially and then having to offer benefits is, well, and then I forgot forbid, 401k. I need to just get it back into that myself. How do you manage that as far as the cost?
[ALISON] Right, right. Yes. Until, it’s actually, a lot of people think having W2 employees is going to be more expensive inherently, but essentially it really financially is about the same as having contractors. So what will happen is you would actually reduce their pay to then make up for the fact that you’re now footing the bill for all the expenses and also the benefits. So my folks make about 10 less dollars an hour, but now they have health insurance and PTO and all of that kind of stuff.
[CHOYA] Oh, wow. Now is that difficult to get set up?
[ALISON] It’s, I won’t sugar coat it for you. It is, it can be quite the process. And definitely I recommend that people like reach out to an HR consultant, check with a lawyer to make sure you’re following all the labor laws in your state and you have to set up payroll. So there’s kind of a lot of moving parts, but again, like the outcome for my practice has just been so beneficial that I think it was absolutely worth it.
[CHOYA] Wow. Okay. Okay. And so let me ask you this, Alison. As far as bringing on a W2, wow, that’s just real scary for me right there, and the reason being, because it’s like, I want to make sure that I can keep them employed. You know, all of a sudden I stopped getting referrals, but got to get over that fear. Do you, with the W2, I would imagine that would have to be full time. Would you hire a W2 part-time or half time?
[ALISON] Yes, you can do part-time. So you just have to decide like, at what point is the threshold for full-time. And my full-time people get benefits and the part-time people do not.
[CHOYA] Okay. So you can do part-time, no benefits.
[ALISON] Right. And I got to decide what full-time was. So my full-time people have to do 25 billable hours a week.
[CHOYA] Okay. Okay. What is the benefit, and help me because I’m real slow on this. I hate to be slow on here, but what is the benefit for a person who is going to be a W2 to do part-time versus like, just, part-time with no benefits versus just being a 1099?
[ALISON] I think if someone hasn’t been a 1099 before, it’s a little intimidating because they have to learn you know, “I got to keep track of my expenses, now I got to pay quarterly taxes.” You know, most people are used to being an employee and so it just seems easier for them to be an employee rather than a contractor, even though on paper, it looks, like as a contractor, you’re making more, but again, once you factor in taxes and expenses, it’s probably about the same.
[CHOYA] Okay.
[ALISON] So it’s actually just like less of an accounting hassle for them to be a W2 employee.
[CHOYA] Man. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. And then being a W2 kind of opens things up a little bit more too, as far as, because they may be able to have, not be required to have certain other credentials too. I have to look into that.
[ALISON] Yes. So that’s actually another thing, you know if you’re hiring an unlicensed person or sometimes people hire post-docs, you know, they finished their PhD, but they’re not licensed. They have to be W2 employees because you have to tell them how to do their job because they can’t be independent if they’re not independently licensed. So yes, that does open up that opportunity.
[CHOYA] Wow.
[ALISON] I have blown your mind right now?
[CHOYA] Really. Like, this is a whole new world. This is a whole new world right here. Yes, Alison, I really appreciate that because I do think, you know the 1099 thing can be intimidating. And you know, that in a sense is a different world for others, for many, but when you just say, hey, a part-time position versus 1099, and then I can hire people who may not be a LPC or LICSW or something like that, I can actually pull them on into different areas, of course when insurance, that’s a whole thing. But yes that opens a whole lot out there. Let me ask you this, Alison. So now we’re talking 1099 versus part-time. Can you do both or does that flag something with the government if you had like 1099 and part-time as W2?
[ALISON] Yes, it depends on your state. Some states are fine with having a mix and some states are not. So the other thing too, is that typically, like, you have to have a good reason why one person’s a 1099 and one person’s a W2. So like in some states it’s okay to have the W2’s be the unlicensed and the 1099s be the fully licensed people. And that’s your justification why they’re different versus like having a fully licensed person who’s a W2 and another fully licensed person who’s a 1099. Like that is not, probably not okay. Does that make sense?
[CHOYA] That makes sense. That makes sense. All right. That’s good stuff. I wanted to ask you, how do you determine if you have enough referrals to fill up a part-time slot versus full-time slot?
[ALISON] That can be kind of tricky because I think you have to kind of look at what is your, I don’t know if you keep track of the calls that come into the practice.
[CHOYA] I do.
[ALISON] Okay, and how many people you actually end up scheduling or are good fits versus not appropriate and you have to refer them out. I would say when we had maybe four or five people in the practice, we would get about 10 new clients a week and that seemed like a good amount.
[CHOYA] 10 a week, and that was enough to do, to bring somebody in?
[ALISON] Yes, to feel like, yes, people were getting clients on a regular basis and it might be a little fuzzy on that, but I mean, it sounds to me like that’s not an issue for you. And adding people is always a multiplier because like maybe that person brings clients with them or maybe now that person has another specialty. And so you start advertising them and then you attract a whole new population of people. So I wouldn’t be so concerned about am I going to have enough referrals, because it sounds like that’s not really a problem.
[CHOYA] Okay. Okay. That makes sense. So 10 a week. So when we’re talking about like adding people on and things like that, one of the things that has been a concern for me, because I’m getting a lot of referrals. but it, I’ve been having to do a lot of multiple things and my wife shares some of the management responsibilities, but it seems like even with all these referrals, sometimes the clinicians, I’m just wondering if they’ve been staying full. We were kind of having a conversation about that because they only need 15 to 20 to be full and we have all these referrals. What’s the best way in an orderly manner, I don’t know if this is even something you can suggest, but to track conversions, you know without like, just, do you literally have to just add up everything or is it some way that you can schedule it into a sheet or go to Fiverr or something, like just to put it in and done, you know?
[ALISON] Yes. Yes. Do you mean conversions as far as like when the admin person answers the phone and they actually schedule versus not scheduled?
[CHOYA] Yes, yes.
[ALISON] Oh, okay. Yes.
[CHOYA] That’s right. There’s two different part of, that’s right. I’m sorry.
[ALISON] Yes, they’re probably, yes. I think there are, I’ve seen other people have spreadsheets that are formatted already to do that kind of thing. I think what my staff does is like, at the end of the month, they’ll just like count up, like how many people did we schedule? How many people didn’t we schedule? They’ll figure out what the percentage was. They’ll put kind of a summary of, okay, how many people didn’t schedule and for what reason? Was it insurance? Was it we don’t have that specialty or whatever the reason was? So, yes, I don’t know if there’s any magic answer to that other than you can just —
[CHOYA] Just do the math.
[ALISON] Calculate it. Yes.
[CHOYA] Yes. Okay, do you have like a recommendation for like, if I’m trying to evaluate, if my number of conversions is in a good place, which I’m questioning now, what is the suggested number of conversions? Like, let’s just say that you were to hire somebody to taking your calls and you say, “Well, look, this is what I was doing before, and this is the percentage. We should be converting around this level.” Is it a recommended, like, is there a number to where it’s like, “No, that’s not good,” or optimal number, percentage wise?
[ALISON] Yes, I would say a good rule of thumb for an insurance-based practice would be 70 to 80%.
[CHOYA] Oh, wow. We’re not there. .
[ALISON] Okay. Yes, so that might be good to like drill down into why is that? Is it because you just don’t have space? Is it because you’re getting inappropriate referrals? I’ve noticed too, obviously since, probably about the fall, because mental health services are so overwhelmed, like there’s places that are just getting full and so people are kind of getting desperate and just calling around to wherever and they’re not even even looking to see like, “Oh, do they take my insurance?” They’re just like calling whoever comes up on page one of Google. So we’ve been getting a lot of inappropriate referrals and we’re trying to figure out ways to kind of automate like weeding people out. Like we made our contact form on our website much more lengthy and detailed to kind of weed out people who either aren’t serious about therapy or make it more obvious like, “You know, we don’t take your insurance. So if that’s a deal breaker, then you know, you may not want to fill out this form and go down this road.”
[CHOYA] Okay. Okay. Definitely. If you’re not, let’s just say that your conversions are not that great, what do you start with trying to resolve that issue? I think I know probably the obvious answer, but I just want to see if I can get a few other nuggets if it’s possible.
[ALISON] Sure. So usually there are two main reasons why. One is your marketing isn’t specific enough for people to sort of, like self-select, if that makes sense. Like your marketing is probably too general, and like anybody and everybody is calling and if you can’t help them, obviously you’re going to refer them out. And then the other would be if the person who’s handling the inquiries, there’s a couple of different like tips and tricks to make sure, like you’re getting people scheduled right away. One is to answer the phone live as much as possible. Another is to schedule them at the time that they’re calling. So like some practices will be like, “Well, I got to check so-and-so schedule. Let me call you back.”
[CHOYA] Yes.
[ALISON] If you do it that way, you’ve basically lost them. You’re probably not going to get ahold of them again and actually schedule them. So we try to capture them like right when they reach out and get them scheduled right away. And then also like, especially with the, you know, more self pay people, there’s definitely like language that you can use to help people kind of buy into why they would want to self pay for therapy. So you may have to do some training with your admin about that.
[CHOYA] Okay. That seems to be something that’s been flagging, is inquiries about pay. Yes, and so that definitely seems like something. What about like a number of referrals that I’m getting end up coming through email, do you find out that, like, as soon as the email comes across, that’s the best time to respond, or is that the same as like picking up the phone or do you see that as lower conversions with email inquiries?
[ALISON] Yes, we see lower conversions when our emails come through from the contact form on the website. And that’s what I was saying we made it much more detailed now to sort of eliminate people who were just not very serious about following through with scheduling.
[CHOYA] Okay.
[ALISON] So that’s a change we just made, so I don’t have any —
[CHOYA] Really?
[ALISON] Yes. I don’t have any information if that’s working well or not, but we have found that people who do fill out the contact form seem less likely to schedule versus people who actually call.
[CHOYA] I know that this may be a tough one to follow back on that one. I don’t even know if it’s a good answer for this, but you see I’m struggling in some areas, anyway, so like what is a reasonable amount of time to call back somebody to where it just becomes like an issue. I mean, I know Joe talked about how initially starting before he got to the level where he grew you know, maybe he checked three times a day or something like that, at different parts of the day. You know, if you call like an hour later or two hours later, is that too long, or does that reduce the potential that you are going to get that response that you’re looking for?
[ALISON] Yes. I mean, I think anytime there’s a delay, you’re taking the chance that that person is just going down the list and calling another place until they get an appointment. So I don’t know if it’s necessarily like an hour is better than three hours or whatever. Like we’ve just learned that. We try to alive answer as much as possible and that’s the best case scenario.
[CHOYA] Okay, I love the answer. I like that.
[ALISON] Yes. Well, I know we are running out of time, Choya, so I would, I just wanted to see if there was any kind of main takeaways that you had from our session today.
[CHOYA] Yes, yes. This is, you know, one of the big things that was an eye opener for me is what we just mentioned 70 to 80% conversions. That’s going to be a thing that I really need to study just to make sure that if I hire somebody that I can keep them busy. And then the second takeaway or probably just as important or more important is that I may need to consider the W2 option instead of just focusing in on the 1099 and then changing some of the parks and searching out my competition to see if there’s some way I can match the competition. And I think one way to match it maybe to going through that part-time W2 or full-time W2 angle. So those are some big, big things for me that I’ve picked up through the session among others.
[ALISON] Okay, good. Yes, and if you need help with making that switch, if you do decide to switch your folks to W2’s let us know because we can definitely help with that.
[CHOYA] Oh, okay. I sure will.
[ALISON] Okay, great. Well, thank you so much, Choya. It was great talking to you.
[CHOYA] Thank you. Thank you as well.
[JOE SANOK] What an awesome show. Hey, if you have not yet tried Therapy Notes, you need some help around your notes, your billing, your scheduling in now telehealth. Telehealth has never been more important than now, and it’s totally integrated within Therapy Notes. So make sure you go over to, use promo code [JOE], you’re going to get three months for free. They give you three months free, and if you’re in another EHR, they will take all of that data and bring it over securely. Why not try it out? If you’re frustrated with your EHR or you just want something better, you got to check out, use promo code [JOE] at checkout. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.


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