You’re thinking about starting a group practice, and you’re wondering how you are going to do all of the start-up tasks to get the practice up and running, on top of your already-full schedule. You know that you want to hire another clinician or two because your caseload is full and you’re turning clients away. It just makes sense at this point for your practice to expand so that you can have a larger impact on clients without seeing them all yourself, and for the supposedly “passive” income that you receive from others seeing clients under your practice’s umbrella. However, you need a place to start, and you know that you cannot do everything. You need to outsource some processes and tasks to someone else for a group practice to be successful.
Remember back to when you started your own solo practice. How much work and planning went into getting not only up and running, but getting new clients and sustaining the ones you got. Back then, you had time to do the planning and strategic work, the marketing and the advertising. Now, however, your caseload is full and you have very little extra time. And starting a group practice does take time. It isn’t something that you can do in just a few hours a week, on top of everything you’re already doing. Moving to a group practice also takes a tremendous amount of mental effort. You don’t want to stress yourself out before you’ve even hired someone! The simple answer is to get some help from someone else.
The Cost-Benefit of Outsourcing
Take your hourly therapy rate. That is also the hourly rate you’re spending doing a whole lot of administrative and marketing tasks, that you could outsource to someone else who is more experienced and specialized that you are in those particular fields. You can pay someone else a fraction of your hourly cost, and likely that person will be more efficient than you are anyways in that particular area. So, for example, if your average hourly rate is $120/hour, you can hire an administrative assistant for anywhere between $15-$35 per hour, in essence saving you $85-$105 per hour. The cost-benefit of outsourcing, from this perspective, is very clear.
What to Outsource?
First, you need to decide what you want to outsource and in what order. I suggest that you make a list of all of the tasks you do daily, weekly, and monthly that are not related to directly serving clients, and use that as a starting point. You’ll then want to add any tasks that you need to do to get your group practice up and running. Then identify what tasks you least enjoy but that should be getting more attention. For me, doing my social media accounts was what I liked the least and what I really wanted my practice to do more of. Here are a few examples of things you can outsource:
- Social media posting
- Insurance billing
- Benefits verification
- Updating your website
- Monthly e-newsletters
- Weekly emails
- Blog content creation
- New client scheduling
- Answering phones and/or emails
- Creating and updating online profiles
There are sure to be many other types of tasks that you do not enjoy but that needs to be done that you can outsource, thus freeing you up to do the most important parts of expanding your solo practice to a group.
I hope that I’ve been able to talk you into the benefits of outsourcing some of the work involved in building your group practice. Not only will it help you look and become more professional by having administrative or marketing staff, but it also will ease your burden significantly and by the time you hire and train a new clinician, but your company processes will also be operating much more smoothly. And, you won’t be doing everything for everyone, all of the time. You deserve to work the number of hours per week you want to work and to not feel overburdened by your choice to expand to a group practice.
I know that you can do it! Stay tuned for Part 2 of Outsourcing When Starting a Group Practice, coming next month.
Shannon Heers is a licensed professional counselor in Colorado. She owns the private-pay group practice Catalyss Counseling in the Denver metro area, focusing on helping adults manage their anxiety, grief, and trauma. Shannon is also an experienced clinical supervisor and manager and is just starting to offer business consultation services to other therapists. She balances working with raising her two young children.