Doctors of chiropractic who run independent practices are business owners, and just as a restaurant owner needs a grill and other specialized equipment, DCs require specific tools to provide treatment to patients.
Some of those tools, however, are expensive and may require a DC to obtain financing in order to make the
Like any other business decision, there are several factors to consider when tackling the question of whether to finance, wait to purchase, or find a less expensive tool that may do the same job.
Prioritize your needs
Some tools are simply necessary, such as a chiropractic table. DCs cannot perform treatment without a treatment table. However, there is a dizzying array of treatment tables available for purchase. Evaluating and prioritizing your patients’ needs, your own preferences, and the funding you have available will help you reach the right decision for your practice. There are various options for almost every tool, from adjusting instruments to software to ice packs.
Most likely, you will be able choose some high-end tools that cost more, and some less expensive, but still functional, tools, depending on the needs of your practice.
Choosing to finance
If you do choose some more expensive tools that require financing, you have another set of questions to deal with. First, how will you go about obtaining the financing?
Vendors may offer financing, but you may also prefer a traditional bank loan or even seek a loan from the Small Business Administration.
Questions to consider
While every situation is unique, make sure to consider these questions before making a large purchase for your practice:
What is your debt load like already? Newly graduated DCs may have student loans or other debt to consider. Your existing debt will have some bearing on how easily you can get the funding you need. Are you planning to make one purchase that may require financing, or do you need a couple of big-ticket items? How will the purchase impact your business? Will you be able to provide treatments you cannot provide without the equipment, and therefore increase the number of patients you see? Will the instrument increase the value of each patient visit, allowing you to charge slightly more? How long will it take you to pay for the financed item through each of the funding channels you are considering? What are the differences in interest rates? If the instrument has a warranty, does it extend through the financing period? Where are you in your career? If you plan to retire soon, does it make good business sense to make a large purchase?
New DCs may want to build some equity in their businesses before deciding whether or not to finance. Growing practices may require additional equipment. How well will the instrument in question hold its value? Some items, such as a basic treatment table, are not especially affected by advances in technology, but others, such as computer-assisted instruments, may be.
Each of these points can help you reach a decision that will best serve both your patients and your business. Often, new tools help DCs expand the number of services they offer, as well as the number of patients they see.