Valuing Your Time as a Practice Owner

Starting a private practice in physical therapy is very time constraining.  In physical therapy, unlike some of the other medical professions, we spend 30-60 minutes with each patient.  That is what sets us apart and allows us to become so much more personable with our patients.  We’re able to really know their lives inside and out….which sometimes can make you feel a little more like a psychologist, but that’s what we LOVE!  But that amount of time with each patient can really add up quickly, and most of us have a family and a life outside of the office.  If only we could add a few more hours in the day.

When you venture out on your own, there’s almost an 100% chance that YOU are the only one treating patients.  It’s too early to hire a staff PT, and this is what you know and how you start building those relationships with doctors and the health care community.  So as you build up your caseload, you’re seeing patients back to back for 8 to 10 to 12 hour days.   So how do you have time for anything else?

If you’re like me and have young children, that is what encompasses your time outside of the office.  Late nights in the home office while they are sleeping occurred for many years after opening up shop, and occasionally still does.  But what can you do to minimize poorly spent time?

Put together a list of things you do not enjoy doing, but are still essential tasks that must get done.  Here’s my list:

  • Housecleaning.
  • Grocery shopping.
  • Running errands.
  • Laundry.
  • Car maintenance.

Now find someone in college, or retired, that is looking for a side job to make a little bit of cash.  About 1 year into our practice, we hired a college student at $10/hour (our “house assistant”) to help with these mindless tasks.  We also hired a housekeeper and someone that comes to my office weekly to wash my car.  Initially you think of the extra cash flow you need for this person, but seeing new patients or spending time on marketing and acquiring new patients far outweighs this $100/week position.  We kept her for years; through the birth of my 2 children, and have since then replaced her after she graduated college.  I actually feel a little helpless now when I have to go grocery shopping on my own; it’s quite sad!

The bottom line is that you are the practice owner and your time is so valuable.  Hiring help for the tasks you hate doing is not snobby, it’s not frivolous, it’s essential to your growth!

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