I have a PLLC (Professional Limited Liability Company). It is only for specific professionals and raises the level of professionalism. Many counselors will set up a DBA (Doing Business As) but my view is that this opens those counselors up to tremendous liability.
With a LLC a client can only go after your business assets if they sue you. They cannot go after your house, car, or retirement. I hope that it never happens to you or to me, but why open yourself up? I know that I sleep better knowing that I have an LLC.
I am not a lawyer or accountant, so check with one just to be sure. Also, your state might be a little different than mine, but I’m fairly sure an LLC is the best option.
I filed all of the paperwork myself with the state. There are numerous firms and online resources that can help you, but I try to spend as little money as possible. I would rather save the money for things that are worth it.
Lastly, it is worth briefly noting that I hate the ideas of partnerships. I have seen too many clinicians hate one another because they “went in on a business deal” together. Feelings are hurt and your business is partially reliant on someone else.
Instead, have the business as your own with contracts that you can choose to renew. You can still split rent, without having a partner. When you go into business with a friend, you may lose your friendship…do you want that
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.