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Why Now is The Perfect Time to Start Your Private Practice

consumerism startup timing Dec 18, 2020

So much of success seems to boil down to putting yourself in the right place at the right time. A crazy amount, really. The fascination with timing as the driver of success in business was the topic of a wonderful TED Talk by Bill Gross.

One great example he uses is Airbnb. You probably can’t even fathom the idea of your parents renting out your home to strangers when you were growing up…because they never would have. However, after the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007 and resulting recession, people needed money. Airbnb launched in August 2008 and provided those people with an option. Letting someone sleep in the basement didn’t seem so bad when the alternative was losing your home entirely. The need for financial help drove hosts to changing their outlook. It also provided travelers with a cheaper alternative. Airbnb met the needs of both hosts and travelers, and the timing was perfect.

Here are the three reasons why right now is the perfect time for physical therapists to start their private practice:


The #2 trend in health care right now is consumerism. The #1 trend is consolidation. It is beyond clear that health care consolidation drives prices up and service quality down while leaving patients in the dark about what’s going on and why. What is it that drives consumers to find a better way??? That’s right –

  • Lack of transparency
  • High prices
  • Poor service

So, the #2 trend in health care is being delivered to you by the #1 trend. If you were waiting for a sign to tell you when the market was ready for a small, local practice to stand above the competition, this is that sign.


Most PT companies are not delivering a service people want. This is evidenced by WebPT’s 2018 State of Rehab Therapy report that cites only 10% of patients completing their physical therapy course of care. Even if you don’t like WebPT’s number, the highest % of patients who complete PT I’ve ever seen is 30% – which is still plenty damning.

As large PT companies continue to acquire smaller practices, prices will go up, quality will go down. It’s what we’ve seen with physicians and health systems, and it will be what we see with PTs. They’ll make an incredible profit margin doing it – until they don’t. That’s where you come in.

My mentor once told me, “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me what you spend your time and money on, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

People are telling us with their wallets, time, and energy that they don’t value physical therapy in the way it’s currently being provided.

Big box PT companies have no desire to change what they’re doing as they’re too busy chasing short-term profits. Additionally, they couldn’t change their entire model overnight if they wanted to. It would be incredibly expensive and risky for them to try. Many of them need consumer ignorance to succeed, and that isn’t sustainable in the new health care economy.


The cost of starting a private practice is lower than it’s ever been. Online and local resources that can help you keep costs down are abundant. You don’t need to be in an incredibly visible, high-traffic space. You don’t need to have the nicest, newest things. Your patients need you – your expertise, your time, your energy, your ability to listen, care, and understand them. The things people really need from you do not cost you anything. Start there. Spend your money on things that allow you to spend time and energy with your patients and save on the rest.


Starting a private practice isn’t nearly as hard as it was to get through PT school and pass your board exam. If you’re like most PTs, you don’t give yourself nearly enough credit for your ability to learn and do challenging things. Costs are low. People who can help you are out there. You’ve got this.

The best time in history to start a physical therapy private practice is now. Don’t miss it. Timing matters.

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