How to Start a Chiropractor Business

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Quick Reference

Being a chiropractor can be a gratifying job, but if you’re working for someone else, starting your own chiropractic practice could be even more rewarding.  You could be in control of your own practice and have the freedom of working for yourself.

Business Overview

A chiropractor business offers chiropractic services to patients, usually those with back and neck pain, using spinal adjustment techniques.

Industry Summary

According to IBIS World, the chiropractic industry size is $18 billion and is expected to increase 7.6% in 2021.  There are over 68,000 chiropractic businesses in the United States.  The industry suffered in 2020 during the pandemic but is back on track in 2021 as the economy recovers.

Industry Trends

The industry is expected to grow as people seek drug-free alternative types of care for back and neck pain issues.  Also, many chiropractors are partnering with other health care providers to increase their referral business, which will drive the overall revenue for the industry.

Target Market

Your target market will be people with chronic back and neck pain issues.

Skills, Experience, and Education Useful in Running a Chiropractor Business

There are several specific skills that you will need to open a chiropractor business.

  • Education.  You need to have the proper training and licenses.
  • Business knowledge and experience.  You will need to have at least some basic knowledge of marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.
  • People skills. You’ll need to be able to build rapport with your customers so that you retain them as customers and keep them coming back.

Costs to Start a Chiropractor Business

Here are the typical costs you will face when you open a chiropractor business.

  • Setting up a business name and corporation costs approximately $200
  • Business cards, brochures, postcards for marketing $200 – $300
  • Office lease $2,500 – $5,000 monthly
  • Equipment, furniture, other office set up $60,000 – $100,000

Steps to Starting a Chiropractor Business

Step 1: Write your Business Plan

After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your chiropractor business should be to write a business plan.  The business plan will make you focus on some important aspects of the business, such as who your customers are, how you plan to reach them, projecting sales and expenses, your value proposition to use for marketing, and more. You’ll also need to do some research to calculate exactly what your start-up expenses will be and what your ongoing expenses will be.

Not only will a bank require you to have a business plan if you need financing, but multiple studies have shown that having a good business plan increases the odds of starting a successful business. Writing the plan helps you to think through all the aspects of the business and then serves as a guide as you begin.

How to write a business plan
Free sample business plans

Step 2: Name the Business

Finding the perfect chiropractor business name can be challenging. Not only does the name have to reflect what you do and be appealing to customers, but it also has to be available to use. You can check your state’s website to see if the name is available and register your name.  Your name should make you stand out, reflect your brand, and tell potential customers exactly what you do.

Step 3: Form a Business Structure

A business structure refers to how a business entity is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business entities to choose from, which include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC), and Limited Liability Company (LLC).  Each type of entity has its own pros and cons, such as liability exposure, costs, and administrative requirements.

RelatedComparison of Business Entities

Step 4: Select your Location

You need a location for your clinic that is convenient to customers, preferably near other health care providers or in a doctor’s park.

Related: Choosing a business location

Step 5: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Chiropractic practitioners have several regulations to be aware of. From client privacy regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to state professional licensing and others, it’s important to research the required licenses and regulations before starting a chiropractic office.

In addition to chiropractic business-specific requirements, there are also general business requirements that may be required, such as a business license, sales tax permit, or Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Related: Common business licenses, permits, and registrations by state

Step 6: Find Financing

Coming up with a good business idea and having the skills to run it are one thing but getting the funding to start a chiropractor business is another.  In order to get a loan, the borrower(s) will need to have good credit and be able to invest 15-25% of their money towards the total start-up costs.

Related: Finding the money to start a business

Step 7: Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your business and personal finances in separate business bank and credit card accounts makes it easier to track the income and expenses of the business.

Step 8: Get your Marketing Plan in Place

A marketing plan also needs to be in place. There are several advertising options, including print ads, internet marketing, social media marketing, radio ads and TV commercials.

Having a solid plan will help build a successful practice and consistent patient base.

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

Step 9: Get Insurance

A chiropractor business needs several types of insurance for full coverage:

General liability insurance can help protect you from third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.

Professional liability insurance protects you from claims of professional errors or negligence that result in a financial loss.

Worker’s compensation insurance covers expenses like medical bills and legal fees that a business might face if an employee were ever hurt while working.

Insurance policies will vary. To get the most accurate idea of what to budget for insurance, request quotes from multiple providers. When comparing the quotes, consider not only the premiums but also how the plan exclusions, coverage limitations, and deductibles compare.

Related: Common types of insurance a business may need

Step 10: Hiring Employees

You may need employees to help you run your chiropractor business.  Make sure that you select people with appropriate experience and training.

In addition to salary costs, your budget will also need to include other employee-related expenses. Workman’s comp insurance, unemployment insurance, and paid time off are common expenses that a business will need to cover when hiring staff.

Related: Hiring your first employee

Step 11: Set up an Accounting System

Setting up an accounting system for your chiropractor business is critical to the long-term success of your business.

Staying on top of taxes not only keeps the business out of trouble with the government but the numbers can be used to track and monitor trends and cash flow in the business and maximize profits.

Related: Setting up accounting for your business

How Much Can You Potentially Make Owning a Chiropractor Business?

The average chiropractor makes approximately $70,000 per year.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Chiropractor Business

Running a chiropractor business or any business will have its challenges.  You need to be prepared and make sure that you know what you’re getting into.

Marketing and acquiring customers will be your biggest challenge and an ongoing expense. Online marketing and search engine optimization will be your biggest source of customers, so you will need to have a budget for that.  Having referral partners would be very advantageous to your business.

You will face competition, so you need to offer high-quality services and good customer service at competitive prices.

Talk to other business owners for tips on starting a business and do your homework to determine costs.  Research other chiropractor businesses (both in and out of your community) to see what they offer, what they do right (and borrow from those good ideas), and what prices they charge.

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