If you are going to venture into the world to start a practice, it’s important that you know the rules and follow them. Many new doctors make up their own rules – and fail as a result. There are few new doctors who start a practice without a new-practice consultant and survive. And they are extremely lucky. The majority tend to fail because starting a practice today is so complicated that specialized help is virtually mandatory.
Don’t depend on luck – follow the rules of a successful practice launch.
Your chiropractic college or university has rules. You can’t matriculate the college without having your pre-medical subjects completed. You have to attend all the classes and can only miss a certain percentage of them. Then, you have to pass the exams. If you don’t follow these rules, you will flunk out.
There is a good reason for these college rules. The colleges want to graduate qualified doctors of chiropractic. And, there are many other school rules you must follow before you graduate.
State board of examiners rules
You must pass your state board examinations or pass parts I thru IV of the national boards. Without following this rule, you won’t be allowed to practice in your chosen state. Then, there are approximately 40 to 50 rules concerning your professional conduct, record keeping, etc. The state boards enforce those rules to protect the public.
Where you decide to establish, your practice has a large bearing on whether or not you will succeed. There are at least a dozen rules that must be followed to find a good location, otherwise you risk picking the wrong one – which will harm your practice. Consider the doctor who located his practice behind a convenience store. (He did not succeed.)
The landlord is not your friend. He or she will want to get the maximum amount of money out of you for rent and then tie you up with a restrictive leasing contract. Many doctors, when moving out of their offices, have had to leave their equipment, X-ray machine, and furnishings behind because of restrictions in their leases.
Usually, you have to remodel an office space to turn it into a practice. The city in which you practice will have rules about this, too, called “building codes.” Many DCs do the remodeling themselves or have their friends and relatives help, ignoring the building codes. The penalties for this can be severe.
Consider the doctor who remodeled his facility by himself. After six months, when he tried to open his practice, the city wouldn’t let him because he didn’t have enough parking spaces. The doctor then hired a lawyer to try and change the city’s zoning rules, spending upward of $30,000 attorney fees. (He lost.)
Another doctor who ignored his city’s building codes couldn’t open his practice because the city condemned his building and made him tear out all the remodeling he did. As he couldn’t use his building for a year and a half, he suffered a $300,000 loss.
There are many more rules regarding how to start a practice. They pertain to the order and timing of your first steps, your advertising, how you obtain financing, and your networking efforts. The new practitioners who struggle either don’t know or don’t follow the rules of starting a practice.