11 Things to Do Before You Hire Your First Therapist

By Maureen Werrbach, LCPC on February 26, 2020

If you’re anything like me, you like to jump right into things and figure it out as you go. With your own practice, you might feel eager to bring that first therapist on. Or maybe you’re the opposite, and you want to meticulously research before bringing on another therapist.

Whether you’re a jump-in-and-figure-it-out or slow-and-steady type, make sure you take care of these things before you hire your first therapist.

  1. Name your practice. Are you keeping your name as part of your business name or changing to a business name that isn't associated with your name? Make a list of pros and cons of continuing to use your name as your business name.
  2. Consider your business structure. If you’re legally set up as a sole proprietor, change that immediately. The liability is not worth it when you employ or contract other people. Talk to an accountant or business attorney to see what’s best for you.
  3. Write your business plan. I promise you, when done well, it will be an invaluable guide for your decisions. It’s an evergreen document that changes and morphs as your business (and your leadership) grows.
  4. Think about your location. Are you staying where you are or expanding elsewhere? Will you buy, rent, sublease? Is the location well researched? Does it have a need for services? Is it a space you can grow into?
  5. Shape your place in your community. How do you want the community to see your business? What is your brand? Your mission, vision, values? 
  6. Enlist financial and legal professionals. Get an accountant (for your bookkeeping and accounting needs), employment attorney (for employment docs and supporting you in making legal employment decisions), commercial attorney (for going over lease contracts and leasing issues), malpractice attorney (for any client facing concerns), and broker (to find and negotiate lease terms).
  7. Update your malpractice insurance. Discuss with your malpractice attorney how to best have your employees or contractors covered. For instance, contractors often don’t need to be added; rather, they add you as an additional insured to their own malpractice insurance.
  8. Revise your marketing strategy. What’s your marketing strategy for the first year? Instead of throwing a bunch of things on the wall to see what sticks, come up with a simple, non-time-consuming process for marketing that first year. Do you want to focus on social media? Community engagement? Something else?
  9. Find a payroll company. 
  10. Find a good EHR that supports group practices, such as TherapyNotes™.
  11. Look over your current rates. Do they need to change as you grow into a group? Will you have one rate across the board or rates based on licensure levels?

Being prepared as you advertise for, recruit, interview, and onboard a new therapist is a gift you can give yourself. There’s no rush. You’ll get there at your own pace. For more help, download my group practice startup checklist. It lists the steps you need to take before you hire, after you hire, and for growing a stellar group practice.

* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.

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