You can incorporate house calls at any stage of your career.
Making a change in your practice or deciding to start on your own comes down to finding the right opportunity. Whether it’s the chance to create new revenue streams, work fewer hours and still make a good living, or have more freedom and flexibility in your life, the definition of opportunity is different for everyone.
So when chiropractors consider a house-call practice, the first question that comes to mind is: “Will this model work for me?”
The house-call model is gaining attention because it offers chiropractors a way to practice with lower startup costs, reduced overhead, more time with patients, and increased revenue. This offers instant curb appeal as an option for doctors in a variety of situations. The key is knowing how to incorporate house calls effectively with your specific circumstances.
You have your own practice
Being a practice owner gives you the great advantage of integrating house calls with your already-existing patient base. So first understand your motivation. Either you want to incorporate home visits as an additional service, or you are looking for a way to phase out of your current business. Knowing this will help you determine the best game plan for your desired results.
Then map out your practice flow. Determine blocks of time for your office patients and house calls to keep your scheduling efficient. This agenda will create the framework for your availability, and you should share it with current and new patients alike to spread the word.
Next look at your systems. Determine your fee structure and policies for house calls, which should be different yet complementary to what you have in your regular practice.
House calls are a different model of patient care. Ensure you can integrate your practice management systems while mobile. This includes accessing patient charts, communicating with your office, and delegating house-call-related administrative tasks to your front desk.
You’ll also want to determine your marketing plan and have structures in place to promote this new practice feature to all your patients. This applies to your office collateral (flyers, brochures); online marketing (website, social media); and marketing event structure and setup. Create a target message for promoting your house-call offers and a timeline to incorporate that point into each marketing component.
Having these strategies in place will help you integrate house calls into your current practice seamlessly and with better odds of success. Your marketing investments will be minimal in comparison to the revenue you’ll receive. If done effectively, you can plan on as high as a 90-percent profit margin per house-call appointment.
You work for someone else and want to start your own practice.
If you’re looking to build your own house-call practice, first identify why the model is appealing to you. Typically, chiropractors in this situation are craving more autonomy in how they practice, more time with their patients, and, most importantly, a way to start a practice without taking on a large debt. Knowing your motivation will fuel you to make the transition into practice ownership.
First identify your core offerings:
- What treatments and techniques do you want to provide?
- What types of patients do you want to work with?
- How do house calls resonate with your clinical approach and your patients’ needs?
These questions can clarify your house-call practice vision and establish a timeline for your launch. This will be the foundation for everything you create.
Now look at the numbers: House calls make great business sense when you consider that the average practice spends thousands of dollars on startup alone, then watches most of its profits go out the door for overhead. In contrast, a house-call practice can be started for approximately $5,000, which includes the cost of a portable table, practice management systems, and initial marketing expenses to get started. You’ll have a greater ability to reach your goals and become profitable fast.
So now that you have this financial peace of mind, break down the components of your house-call practice. You’ll need simple and paperless practice management systems that run automatically, or at the least require minimal hands-on effort so you can have an office that is 100-percent mobile and independent of a front desk. You should have marketing strategies in place that communicate your unique value and generate leads both online and in person.
Working on these elements will be a great starting point to get your initial framework and action plan in place.
You’re a new grad
The recommendations for DCs starting new practices apply to graduates as well. But a crucial difference is that new grads will have to question whether they need experience before launching a house-call practice.
Despite the natural fear of the unknown, you don’t have to fly solo and try to figure out how to launch this practice model by yourself. Consultants and organizations can assist you with training, support, and the systems you need to do it successfully. You can either adapt an MD-oriented model or follow one that’s chiropractic-specific.
When it comes to marketing, the convenience and privacy that house calls offer to patients will make your practice instantly stand out. Plus, you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing budget. With low overhead, your house-call model can be profitable with low patient volume, meaning less pressure and more growth.
For new grads, if starting a typical practice or working in one doesn’t resonate with you, then build a practice based off your vision and what you want.
With a house-call practice, you gain freedom and flexibility. Your practice vision can extend beyond four walls into a life you never thought possible. Whether you want to integrate home visits into your existing practice or start your own mobile business, this option can be molded to fit your style. It can also evolve over time, so you can match your decisions to your current opportunities. Build the lifestyle you want, while providing top-notch care for patients.
Jen Faber, DC is the founder of the House Call Practice and consults on how to build a house-call practice. She has been a house-call chiropractor for six years and has treated patients from MSNBC, National Geographic, the Washington Ballet, and the lady Gaga Tour. She can be reached at email@example.com or through housecallpractice.com.