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  • Julie Herres

Why would a therapist want to work for you?

Do you ever wonder why a therapist would want to work for you instead of going out on their own? It can be intimidating to “sell” your practice to other clinicians looking for work. This article outlines a few simple ways to make your practice a compelling environment for other therapists. Here’s a hint: it’s already pretty appealing.

Think of how nice it is for your therapists to work for you. First of all, they don’t have to find new clients! This can be the most overwhelming part of starting a practice. To many people, the idea of having to find their own clients is SO overwhelming, they are more than happy to have you do the heavy lifting. Keep in mind that if you expect the clinician to bring in all of their own clients, they might as well be on their own. We sometimes see owners who have that expectation in new group practices (especially those with part-time contractors) and it's rarely profitable for anyone.

Some therapists worry about the work involved with going out on their own, but working at your private practice, they don’t have to deal with the administrative side of the job. You or your team can handle all the billing, credentialing, paying bills, answering the phone, etc. If a clinician goes out on their own, chances are they'll spend an additional 20+ hours each WEEK working on these, above and beyond their clinical hours. That's a lot of time!

The therapists you hire also get access to all your amazing systems - no need to reinvent the wheel here. Do you remember how many hours you spent setting up your EHR? Done! Website? Done! Paperwork? Done!


As an owner, you offer a lower risk opportunity for therapists who aren’t sure yet about opening their own office. Let's quantify that risk for a minute. It's not unusual for a group practice to have a rent expense in the $1,500-3,000/month range. If the lease has a 5-year term (yikes!) that's a $90,000-$180,000 commitment + the lessee is typically responsible for the increase in the building maintenance expense. How about payroll? A group practice of 5 full-time clinicians usually has a payroll liability of over $20,000/month. That’s a big responsibility to support the livelihood of so many people.

While a solo therapist may be making a little more at first glance if you break down the hourly rate they are taking home the numbers take a huge nose-dive. Why is that? A lot more hours, a lot more expenses and self-employment taxes on top of that.

Take a look at our charts below for an illustration of the differences:

Can you see the benefit to your clinicians? They get to come in, practice therapy, and then go home! When they go home, they can truly be "off duty". Owning a business takes a LOT of mental space–in fact, I often joke that my business is my “4th child”. It’s an amazing adventure, but it’s also not something everyone wants to do.


There are certain responsibilities you carry as the boss to make your practice a place where other therapists want to work. Some clinicians who are contemplating private practice might work for you just to figure out if it’s something they want to do in the future. That’s usually a good thing! You get a great team member for a few years, and they get some hands-on experience with the inner workings of a small business. They aren’t tied down to a lease and they don’t have to manage a website or do any of the marketing and networking elements of running a business until they are ready to jump ship.

As you interview therapists for your practice, you can trust that you are offering them a great opportunity to learn and they are lucky to have a space to grow. As you build your own confidence in your abilities as a boss, you’ll build a loyal team that shares your vision for the practice.


This article originated from a conversation with Maureen Werrbach from The Group Practice Exchange. The Exchange provides top-notch support for business owners who are starting a group practice or scaling their group practice. Questions? As always, GreenOak Accounting is here to answer your questions and keep your practice streamlined and making a healthy profit.

This article is designed to provide information only and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Because of the complexity of the law and the variables in your own personal tax situation, you can’t rely on our advice specifically related to your unique circumstances. In order to get the best tax savings and legal advice available to you, you should consult with your own accountant, attorney or advisor regarding your particular facts and circumstances. GreenOak Accounting is an accounting firm that specializes in working with counselors and therapists in private practice. We provide monthly accounting & bookkeeping services, 1-time services and online courses. For more information on our specialized services for therapists please visit www.greenoakaccounting.com

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