Physical Therapy Startup Options: Mobile PT, Cash-Based & Insurance Model

(Updated, March 2024)

Here’s a secret: You have to be a successful person before you can be a successful physical therapy owner or CEO. 

What do we mean by this? 

Working for someone else can be frustrating, especially if you naturally have an entrepreneurial, leadership mindset (aka, the Go-Getter Owner). This typically drives physical therapy staff therapists to pursue going into business for themselves and opening their own clinic. 

Our advice: As you begin your physical therapy startup journey, ask yourself why you went into private practice in the first place and return to your ideal scene. 

Let’s discuss the business model options for opening your Startup in physical therapy private practice, and what is needed for each. 

Before we dive in, first know that you MUST have a Compliance Program established and ready to go for your clinic, complete with a comprehensive Policy & Procedure Manual and following OSHA guidelines. 

We know this can be a daunting topic, but not knowing is no excuse for not doing. Plus, there is expert training available. We offer an extensive Compliance Program in MEG Academy at the most reasonable price on the market that we recommend for owners wanting to startup or expand their existing clinic(s). 

If you don’t go with us (we beg you) go with someone! You do not want to face steep fines or serve jail time for violations that could have been so easily avoided.

Enough with the heavy, onto the business models. 

Like we said, you’ll want to work backward from your “ideal scene” and avoid diving into the details and logistics prematurely. But if you’re ready to take the leap, here are your options: 

Starting Your Mobile Physical Therapy Practice

For this, you will start by selecting your place of service as “in the patient’s home.” Similarly, you’re going to select your “office or clinic location” as your home office. 

For Mobile Physical Therapy, you should definitely consider outsourcing your billing, as you don’t want any more overhead than necessary. That’s the whole point of choosing Mobile PT, isn’t it? It’s essentially therapy on the road, from the trunk of your car. 

Contrary to popular belief, you actually can accept Medicare patients in Mobile PT – just make sure you understand the rules and regulations, and have a robust EMR system. There are 10,000 people a day turning 65 every day – do not cut this demographic out of your business model. 

Starting Your Cash-Based Physical Therapy Practice

If you choose to go with a fully Cash-based physical therapy model, you’ll want to diversify your income verticals. This can be done by taking on a nutritionist, massage therapy, dry needling services – the list goes on.

You’ll also want to have a solid physical therapy training system (LMS) in place for your staff so you can carve out some time to stay freed up enough to have a life.  

Again, none of these business tactics will work if you’re just chasing money, trying to buy that bigger house or a cooler boat. You must be able to confront money by taking the viewpoint of “abundance seeking abundance.” In other words, try shifting your viewpoint to “I need to spend money to make money.” Be prudent, while at the same time intelligently investing in yourself. You don’t need to pinch every penny. 

Physical Therapy Insurance Model

With this more traditional route, you will lease your space and hire W2 employees. 

You go through insurance with the patients paying their copays, versus Cash-based, where you are strictly paid cash. Here it is ideal to keep it all under one tax ID and go through the insurance networks. But keep in mind the need for multiple income verticals, as it is acceptable to offer the cash services listed above in this model as well. 

Here you are operating as the traditional-brick-and-mortar practice, which is still the model that 90% of physical therapy owners use today. 

Final Physical Therapy Startup Tips

Start thinking like a private practice owner who happens to be a therapist, as opposed to the other way around.

In our MEG Academy Startup Accelerator Program, we provide step by step training that coincides with a GANTT chart timeline for starting up a private practice. It is essential to understand the critical components of the process from incorporating your business, to negotiating a lease, to setting up your structure and marketing your services. 

Securing finances is one of the most important actions a new physical therapy owner must take. You MUST have a pro forma going into opening your clinic, and you’re going to need a business plan to get financing. 

You may be tempted to just wing it and fly by the seat of your pants when making the plunge to open your own practice. Just know that there is a path that has been proven successful time and time again, and which is available to you. You don’t need to make the mistakes and hit the roadblocks that so many before you have. 

If you believe in your purpose to bring the best quality of care to your community, then get the training to operate like the top 10%, from day one. You, your staff and your patients don’t deserve any less!

The road to success is paved, simply reach out to learn more about how we can help you successfully open your Physical Therapy Startup and run a PT practice.

Physical Therapy Startup Evaluation

Recent Blogs

Go to Top