When you’re reviewing your practice’s expenses and profitability, do you ever find yourself wondering how much a colleague in the Midwest pays his massotherapist, or what a doctor in the South budgets for her student loan payments and office space? If you’re like most chiropractors, you probably wouldn’t mind knowing how much your colleagues are spending on themselves, their staff and their practices… and how much they’re taking to the bank.
In an effort to answer those types of questions, we recently asked Chiropractic Economics’ readers to respond to our Fourth Annual Salary & Expense Survey. More than 400 of you from all 50 states candidly calculated your costs and compensation. The information that follows makes it easy to determine how your practice stacks up to the average numbers reported by our survey respondents. We’ve included demographic data about the respondents, plus practice stats, income, expenses and personal data. We’ve graphed the results by region of the country, age, gender, type of practice, managed-care involvement and more. Where appropriate, we have compared this year’s statistics to those gleaned from our Second and Third Annual Salary & Expense Surveys (May 1999 and May 2000 issues of Chiropractic Economics’).
We sent this year’s survey out to a sampling of readers via fax blast, and the questionnaire also appeared in the March 2001 edition of Chiropractic Economics. Surveys received within the designated time period have been tabulated here. The results of the survey will be used in future articles and to help determine editorial topics of interest. We appreciate your willingness to share your financial information by taking the time to answer this industry-exclusive survey.
If you have questions or comments, contact Chiropractic Economics’ Business and Editorial Offices at 904-285-6020. If you have thoughts about salaries and expenses and how the trends are affecting the chiropractic profession, send your letter to the editor to Tara Stultz, editor-in-chief; fax: 440-234-2192; or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all who participated!
About the Survey
403 readers responded.
Figures reflecting an average or mean were calculated by dividing proportionately the total number of respondents per question. Medians were determined by calculating the middle number or range.
Percentages are also based on the total number of respondents to each question.
Survey results are for informational purposes only, based on the answers of readers who responded to a fax blast, and readers who responded to a questionnaire that appeared in the March 2000 issue of Chiropractic Economics. Results indicate year-to-year trends among Chiropractic Economics readers and serve as a benchmark, but the data should not be used in determining salary and expense levels for your practice.
Gender, Age, Number of Years in Practice
Virtually all respondents, 97.5%, are doctors of chiropractic; .25% are retired; .75% percent are students; and 1.5% are office personnel. The breakdown is similar to those found in other chiropractic surveys, including Chiropractic Economics’ 2000 and 1999 reader surveys. 16% of the respondents to this year’s survey are female and 84% are male. In 2000, 17.5% of the respondents were women, and in 1999, 12% were. The ages of respondents ranged from 24 to 73, with an average age of 40.5. The average age in 2000 was 41.7, and in 1999 it was 41.5. The breakout by age is 21% under age 30; 26% ages 31-38; 23% 39-45; 23% 46-55 and 7% are ages 56 and up. The average length of time spent practicing is 11.88, down slightly from 12.07 in 2000 and 12.63 in 1999. Respondents reported that 75% are married, with 12.5% married to another DC and 32% married to a staff member.
Number of Hours, Additional Activities
Almost all respondents practice at least full time, with 45% working 30-39 hours per week; 17% working 40-49 hours; and 10% putting in more than 50 hours. 22% work 20-29 hours, and only 6% put in less than 20 hours. These averages are similar to 2000 and 1999 figures. A number of respondents participate in additional revenue-generating activities: 94% retail products to patients; 8% consult with business or industry; 5% lecture or give seminars; and 18% teach. Another 8% engage in other revenue-generating activities, such as: independent medical examinations, rental income, investments, private training, network marketing, and unrelated businesses. Almost all the percentages are up, compared to 2000 and 1999.
Principle Form of Employment
Solo, Group, Multi-Discipline
46.5% consider themselves solo practitioners, compared to 44% in 2000 and 51% in 1999. 14% are part of a group or have partners, compared to 12% in 2000 and 15% in 1999. 5.5% reported being employed by a DC, compared to 11% in 2000 and only 3% in 1999. 34% of respondents said they work in a practice with integrated disciplines (some with MDs/DOs, some without), compared to 33% in 2000 and 31% in 1999. Of those multi-disciplinary practices, 17% have an MD/DO on staff, compared to 24% in 2000 and 6% in 1999; 67% offer massage therapy, compared to 76% in 2000 and 24% in 1999; 22% offer rehabilitation, compared to 38% in 2000 and 13% in 1999; and 17% have a nutritionist/dietitian, compared to 30% in 2000 and 11% in 1999. 44% of these respondents offer additional services, including: acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, naturopathy, physical therapy, podiatry, and more.
Location and Competition
Population Density, Number of Competitors
Respondents estimate an average of 15 clinics within a 5-mile radius of their clinic, which is the same as 2000 and an increase over the average of 13 in 1999. 49% report practices located in suburban areas (50% in 2000 and 55% in 1999); 27% have chosen rural locations (27% in 2000 and 23% in 1999); and 24% are in urban areas (27% in 2000 and 22% in 1999).
Patient Visits Per Week, New Patients
An average of 117 patient visits per week (PVPW) is the norm for individual respondents; higher than 2000’s average of 97 and 1999’s average of 106. Respondents estimated 133 patient visits per week for the entire clinic, up from 116 last year and down slightly from 135 in 1999. The average number of new patients per week is 5.81, up slightly from the average of 5.13 in 2000 and 5.44 in 1999.
Number of Clinics, Staff
Respondents own an average of 1.11 clinics, similar to numbers from previous years. The mean number of full-time employees in each office is 3.72, up slightly from 3.5 in 2000 and 3.15 in 1999.
Fees and Income
Sources of Revenue, Managed-Care Participation
Respondents report the following forms of payment as revenue sources: cash, 87% (92% in 2000 and 99% in 1999); auto insurance, 86% (82% in 2000 and 92% in 1999); private insurance, 81% (84% in 2000 and 92% in 1999); Medicare, 70% (76% in 2000 and 81% in 1999); workers’ compensation, 55% (72% in 2000 and 78% in 1999); managed-care plans, 73% (60% in both 2000 and 1999); Medicaid, 50% (27% in 2000 and 34% in 1999); and 4% accept other forms of payment such as attorneys’ liens and barter arrangements.
Of the 94% of respondents who receive income from retail products, the products offered are: nutritional products, 84% (81% in 2000 and 77% in 1999); pillows, 89% (84% in 2000 and 77% in 1999); orthotic supports, 73% (75% in 2000 and 71% in 1999); topical creams/ointments, 60% (53% in 2000 and 47% in 1999); weight management products, 18% (21% in 2000 and 20% in 1999); and other products, 22% (7% in 2000 and 1999). Additional products sold by respondents include: exercise products, hot packs, magnets/magnetic products, skin-care products, and more. 70% of respondents participate in at least one HMO, PPO or IPA (up from 62% in 2000 and 64% in 1999).
Office and Staff Expenses
Respondents reported spending an average of $81,515 per year on office expenses, compared to $66,651 in 2000 and $92,548 in 1999. The totals in each of the office expense categories include: office space, $15,315; miscellaneous expenses such as business loans, dues and insurance, $13,698; advertising/marketing, $6,794; student loan payments, $7,529; business supplies, $7,788; practice management consultants, $6,663; equipment leases, $4,986; utilities, $4,232; computers/software, $3,268; continuing education/professional travel, $4,692; other professionals such as CPAs, attorneys, etc., $2,768; malpractice insurance, $1,874; and medical equipment/repairs, $1,908.
Staff expenses include the following average amounts per year for salaries, bonuses and retirement plans (note that the amount includes the total average per practice in each category, not necessarily per employee): primary doctors of chiropractic, $82,989 ($76,108 in 2000 and $81,824 in 1999); associates, $79,104 ($56,069 in 2000 and $61,604 in 1999); chiropractic assistants and staff, $49,350 ($40,478 in 2000 and $40,179 in 1999); and MDs, LMTs and PTs, $32,285 ($48,303 in 2000 and $41,507 in 1999).
Gross and Net Revenue
By Region, Age, Gender, Number of Years in Practice, Multi-Group Specialty, and Managed-Care Participation
Income for this portion of the survey was compiled based on specified ranges, rather than individual figures. The median gross income range reported by this year’s respondents was again $150,000 to $249,000; and individual median net income was again reported to be in the $60,000 to $74,000 range (these ranges are the same as the ones reported in 2000 and 1999). In addition, 80% of respondents reported that their gross revenue is increasing (73% in 2000 and 74% in 1999), while 75% said their net revenue is increasing (73% in 2000 and 72% in 1999). For the first time this year, we asked if respondents’ net income was increasing, and 73% said “yes.” Even though the average median ranges have remained stable over the three survey years, gross and net revenues are apparently increasing within the specified ranges.
Gross and Net Revenue By Region
Respondents in the Southern region of the United States reported the highest net income in 2001, with a median range of $75,000 to $89,000. In 2000, the South also led the pack, and in 1999, the Midwest laid claim to the highest average net income range. The 2001 median net income range for the East, West and South was $60,000 to $74,000.
Median gross income for all regions fell into the $150,000 to $249,000 range, the same as 2000 and 1999 figures. The majority of participants in all regions of the country reported their gross and net revenue is increasing.
Gross and Net Revenue By Gender
Women still fall behind in 2001 when it comes to the median net income range, with $45,000 to $59,000 (the same as 2000 and 1999). Males still earn a median of $60,000 to $74,000 (the same as 2000 and 1999). Gross median income remained the same this year for both groups at $150,000 to $249,000 (consistent with the figures from 2000 and 1999).
Gross and Net Revenue By Number of Years in Practice
The median gross revenue ranges by number of years in practice are: one year or less, $49,000 or less; year two, $50,000 to $99,000; years three, four, five, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14, 18-20, 21-23, 24-30 and 31+, $150,000 to $249,000; and years 15-17 grossed $250,000 to $349,000.
The median net revenue ranges are: one year or less, $15,000-$29,000; year two, $30,000 to $44,000; years three, four, five, 6-8, 9-11, 21-23 and 24-30, and 31+, $60,000 to $74,000; years 12-14 and 18-20, $75,000 to $89,000; and years 15-17, $90,000 to $104,000.
Gross and Net Revenue By Age
Age seems to be a factor when it comes to income. Survey participants under 30 reported a median net revenue range of $30,000 to $44,000. The 39-45 and the 46-55 age groups had the highest net income range, at $75,000 to $89,000. The 31-38 and 56 and up age categories has a median net income range of $60,000 to $74,000.
The median gross revenue range for respondents 30 and under was $100,000 to $149,000. Respondents in the 31-38, 46-55, and 56 and up categories had a median gross revenue range of $150,000 to $249,000, and the 39-45 age group came out on top with a median range of $250,000 to $349,000.
Gross and Net Revenue By Practice Structure
Group/partnership practices remained in the $350,000 to $499,000 median gross revenue range (the same as 2000 and 1999). Net revenue for groups/partnerships was higher than in 2000, with a median range of $90,000 to $104,000 (compared to last year’s $75,000 to $89,000 range; 1999 was the same, at $90,000 to $104,000). Solo practices had a gross median of $150,000 to $249,000 (consistent over the last three years), and a net median of $75,000 to 89,000 (the same as 2000, and up from $60,000 to $74,900 for 1999).
Respondents reported an average gross revenue of $186,409 from associates (up from $162,067 in 2000 and $157,883 in 1999); $64,750 from MDs (up from $77,136 in 2000 and $53,100 in 1999); and $32,385 from LMTs, PTs and others (up from $20,302 in 2000).
Gross and Net Revenue By Managed-Care Participation
The respondents who belong to at least one HMO/PPO/IPA (70% of all respondents) saw their median gross and net revenue ranges move upward. Those numbers were $250,000 to $349,000 for gross and $60,000 to $74,000 for net (compared to $150,000 to $249,000 for gross in 2000 and 1999, and $60,000 to $74,000 for net in both years). For those respondents who aren’t part of a managed-care organization, the median gross revenue range remained the same as it was in recent years, at $150,000 to $249,000; however, the net income median range came back up this year, to $60,000 to $74,000 (in 2000 it was $45,000 to $59,000, and in 1999 it was also $60,000 to $74,000).