How to Start a Chiropractor Clinic

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Our guide on starting a chiropractor clinic covers all the essential information to help you decide if this business is a good match for you. Learn about the day-to-day activities of a chiropractor clinic owner, the typical target market, growth potential, startup costs, legal considerations, and more!

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Start a chiropractor clinic by following these 9 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your chiropractor clinic. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

STEP 1: Plan your Business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

  • What are the initial costs?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How long it will take you to break even?
  • What will you name your business?

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you. Skip on ahead to the Business Overview for more detailed answers to all your questions.

Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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STEP 2: Form a legal entity

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your chiropractor clinic is sued. Consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

STEP 7: Get Business Insurance

Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.

STEP 8: Define your brand.

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence

A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Business Overview

Chiropractic clinics are an alternative modality that supplement conventional medicine. Their aim is to improve spinal mobility. This usually also means adjusting various parts of the spine, including the low, middle, and upper back area, as well as the neck. Patients often choose this type of therapy when they are dissatisfied with conventional treatments or want pain relief that conventional medicine does not offer.

Who is this business right for?

This business is right for individuals who have good spatial awareness, dexterity, and who love working to help people with medical problems.

What happens during a typical day at a chiropractor clinic?

Day-to-day activities of a chiropractor include meeting with patients, diagnosing illness, manipulating soft tissue, and performing chiropractic adjustments on patients. Some chiropractors also do consulting with primary care physicians.

What is the target market?

Preferred clients are those with ongoing health issues that need continuous work. Direct pay patients lower administrative costs. However, billing insurance may provide more consistent income.

How does a chiropractor clinic make money?

The way most chiropractors make money is by charging a fee for services. Usually, this includes a chiropractic adjustment and general mobility work for the patient. Services are billed either directly or to insurance. A chiropractor may charge an hourly fee but generally charges a flat fee per session.

What is the growth potential for a chiropractor clinic?

Potential for growth depends on the market in your area. Many chiropractors operate as a small owner-operated clinic. However, it’s possible to expand this business easily by hiring more doctors to work at your practice.

Even owner-operated clinics start with a small staff that includes a receptionist and accounting or HR staff.

After the first year, consider hiring more staff and expanding with additional chiropractors. You have the choice of building your own brand or buying into a franchise opportunity. Franchises are generally for individuals who want a ready-made business platform with marketing and sales support.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful chiropractor clinic?

To operate as a chiropractor, you are legally required to complete the necessary schooling and examinations.

The first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Following your bachelor’s degree, you will required to obtain a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree before you can work as a chiropractor. Candidates usually have to complete at least 90 credits of undergraduate work before earning their degree; however, some states don’t require a bachelor’s first, so check with your state board.

Biology, physics, and chemistry are typical prerequisites for a chiropractic degree. Once you’ve been accepted into a college, you must study for 4 years. Only a handful of schools in the U.S. are accredited and offer a D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic). Most programs in school also offer internships at a clinic where students practice manipulation and diagnostic skills under supervision.

Getting a license to practice is required. Some states require chiropractors pass a certification exam before they can practice. The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners also requires a three-part exam (with an optional fourth section) which is accepted by most states. However, some states require you to take their own exam.

Even after you get your degree, you must complete continuing education (CE) requirements every year to maintain good standing and to renew your license.

Aside from the formal education and basic chiropractic skills, a chiropractor needs to have good spatial awareness, good dexterity, a calm attitude, and strong communication skills.

What are the costs involved in opening a chiropractor clinic?

According to some chiropractic doctors, startup costs for a proper office could exceed $100,000 in the first year. Building out an empty office space may cost upwards of $50 per square foot. New equipment, including chairs and office furniture, may cost another $40,000 to $60,000.

Where can I find a business mentor?

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a chiropractor clinic?

Save on overhead where you can. Make a business plan and buy used equipment when possible. Seek out other chiropractic clinics that are going out of business or are closing because the owner wants to retire. Offer to buy their equipment or even their entire office.

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Growing Your Business

How to promote & market a chiropractor clinic

Market your new chiropractic clinic locally at networking events and talk to local primary care physicians about your clinic. Offer to supplement what they are doing with patients. Take out ads in the Yellow Pages and do local marketing through Google’s local search platform.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

How to keep customers coming back

Choosing a specialty for your clinic can help differentiate your clinic from others in the area. If you specialize in sports injuries, geriatrics, or pediatrics, you can charge more money for services because you will know more about that market than a generalist.

How and when to build a team

Most clinics start with a small staff of at least 3 people. However, once you feel that your profits can support a larger staff you can grow your practice, see more patients, and make more money.

Legal Considerations

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

In most states, it is necessary to obtain a chiropractic license. Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a chiropractic clinic. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

Maintain Personal Asset Protection

Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
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CORPORATE VEIL

To learn more about maintaining your LLC's corporate veil, read our guide and protect your personal assets.

Certificate of Occupancy

A chiropractic clinic is generally run out of an office. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a chiropractic clinic location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a chiropractic clinic.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a chiropractic clinic location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your chiropractic clinic will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

 

Earning Potential

How much can you charge customers?

Chiropractic clinics typically charge clients between $50 and $150 per session. A treatment plan is usually prescribed before the first session and clients come back weekly or bi-monthly until the patient either cannot afford services any longer or the treatment plan is complete.

What are the ongoing expenses for a chiropractor clinic?

Ongoing costs for a clinic include insurance, continuing education, license renewal, salaries, rent, and utilities.

How much profit can a chiropractor clinic make?

Some income and revenue surveys indicate that chiropractic offices have substantial overhead, up to 65% to 70%. This means a chiropractic office will have a 30% to 35% profit margin.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Partnering with other naturopathic doctors may help you increase your own business. Some chiropractors also advance their education and offer more treatment options, including Active Release Therapy (ART), heat and light therapy, STIM therapy using TENs machines, and other related modalities. The more unique treatments you offer, the better you will be able to corner the market of people who seek those treatments in your area.

Next Steps

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