A private practice can survive without needing to be reliant on insurance reimbursements. In fact, it’s a very wise move to increase your independence from insurance payments. You never know when laws, insurance company regulations or their fee schedules will change. When you increase the proportion of cash-paying patients in your practice, you’re more in control of your destiny.
One of the best ways to create a practice based more on cash than insurance is to recreate yourself as a specialized service provider for a niche market.
What is a niche market? It’s a segment of a larger group that has specific product or service needs. How do you choose a niche market to appear in? You could look at PT/OT/ST specialties you’re already very good at providing and increase your marketing for those particular services.
Or you could look at the environment of your practice. Are there any unique audiences in your area? For example:
- In the Boulder, Colorado, area, there are many climbers, long-distance hikers, runners and bicyclists.
- In The Villages, Florida, the population is mostly retired people who want to maintain their mobility and independence and avoid pain.
- In Utah, you have several world-class ski resorts that attract skiers of all skill levels.
- In Silicon Valley, California, you have white-collar workers sitting at computers many hours a day, seven days a week.
- For pediatric therapy practices, network with any parents you already know to locate special-needs advocacy organizations with offices or operations in your area and learn from them which services are the most needed in your area.
By serving niche markets, you create a unique position within your industry for yourself and your practice.
Motivation and Disposable Income
With a large population of individuals who are both motivated to get your type of care and have the cash to spend to achieve their goals, you’ve got an excellent opportunity for expansion. Very often, these patients are more gratifying to work with because they are motivated.
For instance, aging Baby Boomers (currently aged 57-75) and Gen Xers (41 to 56) want to stay healthy and often have cash to spend on care for their strength, mobility and function.
Parents whose children may be missing developmental goals or are struggling with impediments are very often highly motivated to help their children achieve independence. There’s also a group of parents that want to provide all possible advantages for their children as they mature. These individuals are often motivated to spend cash to help their children advance at or beyond normal benchmarks.
Designing Your Own Offering
The specialty you choose should be within your own core competencies. If not, you need to obtain further training if you feel there is a specialty that would be very successful in your region.
You can consider specialties like these for adults:
- Wellness and fitness: Depending on your facilities, you may choose to offer Pilates, yoga, aquatics, supervised exercise combined with massage, or nutritional support.
- Sports enhancement: If there is a large athletic interest or industry in your area, this can be a great choice. You can focus on improving strength, speed or flexibility. Or you can zero in on a specific aspect of a sport, such as analyzing and improving golf swings.
- Injury prevention and ergonomic design: This is an excellent choice for areas with lots of manufacturing or a high number of people who need to improve their mobility and function at home.
- Obesity: PTs are highly qualified to coach overweight people into increased physical activity without injury. Add to this nutritional and dietary coaching.
- Therapeutic massage: Massage is a highly-valued service that many people are willing to pay cash for. It’s an excellent offering in regions with a high proportion of highly-stressed white-collar workers.
Pediatric PT/OT/SLPs may choose customized offerings like these:
- Feeding therapy: This care is vital for picky eaters, those on the autism spectrum or children with motor deficits.
- Handwriting programs: This therapy can be important for children that resist learning handwriting or those with special needs.
Are you interested in creating a practice that appeals to a niche market but you’re not sure where to start? Contact Survival Strategies for help making your plan.