Small Business Loans for a Chiropractor
The chance to touch people’s lives through manual manipulation that relieves pain, to bring true relief and make a difference in their lives, motivates many to become chiropractors. When you first enrolled in a chiropractic college, you might have dreamed of one day opening your own clinic. The majority of practitioners operate out of private clinics or chains, and this is not predicted to change anytime soon.
It has become easier for chiropractors to operate successful businesses as chiropractic has gained legitimacy. It is now seen as a complementary and alternative therapy to help patients deal with back and neck issues and chronic pain. While most studies have established its safety, there have been mixed results on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment. This led to slow adoption of coverage by some insurers. Insurers and health professionals have begun to embrace its non-invasive treatment methods, particularly with increasing worries about prescription drug abuse in recent years.
Insurance coverage has grown. In 2012, 60% of those who sought chiropractic care had insurance that paid for all or a portion. By 2018, it rose to 87%. Worker’s compensation also pays for chiropractic visits, though you should still plan on a certain percentage of your customers paying directly.
Growing your chiropractor office requires a financial commitment that sometimes can be difficult to manage shortly after leaving school or when an immediate opportunity arises. We make it easy for you to grow your business by providing immediate access to business funding. Apply online in just a few clicks and funding can take place as fast as the same day you apply.
What Do I Need to Qualify?
Below is a list of the requirements to get approved for business funding with our most basic program. There may be additional factors that are considered, meeting these three requirements though gives you a very high chance of having your application approved.
- At Least 2 Months in Business
- 500 Min. Credit Score
- $8,000 Min. Monthly Revenue
Types of Business Loans Available
No matter which path to growth you choose, you will need to spend money. While you may start spending smaller amounts, such as $100 for postage, as your business grows, so will all of your associated costs. To build, you will need access to capital. Here are a few loan products which could meet your funding needs.
1. Bad Credit Business Loans
Bad credit business loans help borrowers who cannot qualify for a loan with a bank. The term bad credit refers to all the reasons that banks turn down potential borrowers, not just a credit score. One of the biggest issues for a chiropractor could be their outstanding student loan debt.
Chiropractors who graduated in 2018 paid between $40,000 to $120,000 for their degrees. If you are carrying student loan debt, it will impact your ability to qualify for loans. Banks calculate your debt service coverage ratio, which is the amount of your revenues used to cover debt payments when deciding whether or not to approve a loan. If you still have a high student loan balance, the ratio may disqualify you from qualifying for a loan even if you have a decent credit score.
Traditional lenders will turn down your loan application if you have only been open for a few months. Banks also require several years of tax returns and bank statements to even apply for a loan. You only need two months of minimum $8,000 month in revenue to qualify with an alternative lender. Alternative lenders offer bad credit business loans to borrowers with credit scores as low as 500, too. If you meet their easy requirements, a bad credit business loan could help you grow.
2. Working Capital Loans
Working capital, calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current assets, is the amount of money you available to cover your business’s operations. During your practice’s first year in business, balancing cash flow could be a struggle. If bills come due, but insurance companies haven’t reimbursed you, it creates a cash flow gap. A working capital loan helps you manage these gaps.
Shield Funding requires minimum monthly revenues of $10,000 and a credit score of 650 to take out a working capital loan. They lend in amounts from $10,000 up to $1 million. These loans provide you with needed capital to keep the lights on and the rent paid while you are launching your new chiropractic practice.
3. Short Term Business Loans
Short term business loans have terms of less than a year and are not intended to fund a major expansion or ongoing cash flow needs but rather to help you through a temporary cash flow crisis. There are times when a short term business loan could keep you in business.
Opening a chiropractic practice requires capital to purchase an X-Ray machine, tables, charts, office furniture, the list goes on. A short term business loan allows you to make large, lump-sum purchases shortly after your doors open. Shield Funding’s short term loans last for periods of six to twenty-four months, by which time your business should generate enough money on its own.
If you are expanding a successful business and adding a new location, a short term business loan can be used to pay the rent at your second location, or to cover remodeling costs, before it begins generating revenue.
Financial Growth Tips for Chiropractors
Before you see your first patient, you will want to have a growth plan in place. If you fail to bring in new patients, your business will not succeed. Here are some tips to help your chiropractic business succeed.
State of the Industry
Bolstered by the desire to find non-invasive, drug-free treatments for chronic pain, the chiropractic industry now generates $12.26 billion a year in revenues and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.32% by 2025. Chiropractors treat 35 million patients a year, primarily in small clinics. It is a business favorable to the clinic environment, with the next largest segment of chiropractors found in wellness centers and a tiny sliver operating out of rehabilitation centers.
The industry’s growth will bring new entrants, by 2020 the American Chiropractic Association estimates that there will be 80,000 chiropractors in the United States, with another 2,500 graduating from college each year. The market will become increasingly competitive, and positioning yourself to stand out through services and marketing will become an important aspect of having a healthy business.
Costs to Starting a Chiropractor Practice
First, you will have to find a location and sign a lease. You could have to pay a realtor a finder’s fee, and most likely will have to pay a deposit on your lease. Equipment such as tables, X-Ray machines, and a front desk all cost money. It could be necessary to remodel your space to create separate patient rooms.
Plan on advertising for staff and then taking the time to interview and hire them. You could have to pay their hourly rate or salaries before you have any money coming in. The state requires licenses, and you will have to hire a lawyer to set your business up as a legal entity. Consider all these factors, and more, when putting together your business plan.
Professional Web Presence
A professional website advertises your business and will bring in new clients. Most people start their search for a new provider online, and if you optimize your website for local SEO, you will show up in their search results. Consider the image you want to present and invest in a professional logo and consistent branding.
Consider adding a professionally edited and produced short video which introduces them to you and your practice. Have your space and practice rooms photographed, and highlight any new equipment or therapies on your site. Solicit testimonials from current clients that you can put up on a separate webpage or sprinkle in pull boxes throughout the site.
Your website should contain all information that a new client would want to know; hours of operation, insurance carriers you accept, and how to make an appointment. Any contact form should comply with HIPPA regulations, and be a form of secure messaging.
Be Active in your Community
Becoming active in your community forms relationships with individuals who could become patients, brings awareness to your business, and establishes you as a contributing member to local life, all of which helps your business grow. Consider volunteering or supporting a little league team or participating in fundraisers. Give talks at local schools on career day, or reach out to local employers and offer to attend health and wellness events, give specials to their employees, or let them know about your services.
Register for space at a local library and host seminars on health and wellness, workplace injury prevention, or any topic related to chiropractic care. Yes, you are giving away time and knowledge for free. View attendees as potential patients, and see these seminars as worthwhile for establishing your credentials and trustworthiness in the community you serve.
Retain Current Patients
Building strong relationships will help you build your business. Patients sometimes turn to alternative therapies because they are tired of doctors who rush through appointments and do not listen to their concerns. Schedule plenty of time to talk to and get to know your patients, their names, their pet’s names, their kid’s activities, and how their pain is affecting their lives.
Listen and solicit feedback from your patients. Are there services, such as massage or acupuncture, that they would like you to add to your practice? How was their experience with your front desk staff or office manager? Soliciting feedback tells them that they matter to you and your business. It can also identify growth or improvement opportunities.
Develop a referral program with existing patients to attract new patients. Adding a “refer a friend” discount or incentive tells them that you value their business and will reward them for sending more clients your way. Retaining current patients means that when you add new patients, you are growing, rather than just maintaining.
Market your Business to Attract New Patients
When writing a business plan for your practice, do not forget to include marketing efforts. Patients move away, their insurance company stops covering your services, or they are no longer in pain and stop coming. For whatever reason, you will lose patients. Maintaining a steady inflow of new patients can keep your business operational.
Add social media to your website marketing strategy. Post tips on pain management or lower back pain prevention on Facebook, write a blog post about recovering from a back injury. Useful, actionable content draws people to your social media channels and builds your reputation and a perception of trustworthiness.
Keep an eye on referral sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List, and consider asking current patients to leave positive reviews. It is an unfortunate fact of human nature that people are more likely to leave a review is they are dissatisfied, so directly asking your happy patients to review your services can offset this reality. Paying to promote your business on these sites can also draw in more clients.
Consider building special offers for new patients into your business plan. A complementary consultation or free X-Ray gets them into your office and gives you the opportunity to sell your services and how you can help them. Special offers can also consist of discounts if they pre-pay for packages of five sessions also guarantees you repeat business.
From their first contact with you, all communication should be customer-centric. Write up a clear, professional greeting that all office staff uses when answering the phone. Respond quickly to all communication, particularly new patient inquiries.
Many new clients contact a chiropractor when their pain has become unmanageable, and they need immediate care – keeping a few slots open on your calendar for same or next-day appointments earmarked for new patients. Getting a new patient in right away could be key to capturing their business. If they do not fill, give staff permission to release them to current patients.
Always maintain up-to-date files that office staff can easily access to answer patient inquiries. Investing in software and an electronic records program can help with this. And take care of checking coverage with their insurance company yourself. The simple act of placing the phone call, or having a list of which carriers will cover your services, saves the patient the time and hassle.
Chiropractic is a hands-on experience that utilizes technology to inform care. You will need at least one X-Ray machine to help you put together a treatment plan and monitor results. Investing in or upgrading to a digital X-Ray machine that produces an immediate image enables you to turn initial, free consultations into a better sales pitch or appointment. It also reduces patient’s exposure to radiation, which is a concern for many and means you can help pregnant women dealing with low back pain.
Investing in practice management software which integrates electronic health records keeps your business running smoothly. It speeds up everything from billing to scheduling and ensures compliance with all regulations and insurer requirements. Software specific to a chiropractic practice can generate useful clinical reports and automate much of your business.
Every time you add a new piece of technology to your office, email, or mail postcards to current patients to let them know. Emphasize how the new equipment will help you provide better care, address their concerns, or make their experience in your office simpler.
Outsource Billing and Office Work
How you choose to spend your time will have a direct impact on your business’ success. It is unlikely that spending your time making appointment reminder phone calls, billing, and following up with insurance companies is the best use of your time. Even if you start small, at some point, you will need office staff to help.
Outsourcing, combined with robust software, can help you stay current on your receivables and manage your cash flow. Hiring someone to monitor the balances owed by insurance companies and clients pays for itself in terms of fewer hassles and more income coming in. Even if you can only afford a few hours a week, spend your time with clients or networking to bring in new patients.
Avoid Insurance Company Audits
An insurance company audit is every chiropractor’s nightmare. If your billing or reimbursement practices raise concerns, an insurance provider will put your invoices on hold while they audit your practice. During the audit, you will not be reimbursed by the provider, you may have to spend valuable time and money providing them with information, and you could lose your provider status.
To protect yourself against an audit, or to make it through one quickly, keep accurate and thorough notes. Document your patient’s pain, complaints, and condition, update your files after each visit and keep X-Rays current. Make sure that your bookkeeper is using the appropriate billing codes when submitting invoices for reimbursement.
The better the records you keep on your end and provide to the insurance company, the less risk of an audit or an audit finding. Both cost you money and pull you away from income-generating growth activities.
The Final Word on Business Loans for Chiropractors
Starting a new business, or expanding an existing practice, can be overwhelming. Enlist experts to help you plan, from an accountant to a lawyer, to a lender. Smart business owners know their strengths and know when to bring in help in areas of weakness. Reach out to Shield Funding to learn about business loans for chiropractors today.