How to Start a Virtual Doctor Service

Telehealth enables doctors to see patients in the safest and most convenient ways. Clients consult with physicians via phone, video conference, or email. You can make customers' lives easier by starting a virtual doctor service; they won't have to leave their homes to seek medical attention. This method helps provide greater access to affordable health care and reduces the risk that patients will spread infectious diseases.

Regulations and insurance policies have become more favorable to telemedicine, so it's an excellent time to think about entering this field.

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Learn how to start your own Virtual Doctor Service and whether it is the right fit for you.


Start a Virtual Doctor Service by following these 10 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 guide to starting your Virtual Doctor Service. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

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:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a Virtual Doctor Service?

If there's a completely private and quiet area in your home, you won't have to rent office space. You'll need modern computer and phone equipment. Many people already own adequate hardware. However, you should plan on paying a substantial amount of cash for security and telehealth software. Different packages sell at prices ranging from about $115 to $1,400 per month. Consider using an application with a free trial period so that you can test it before spending money.

What are the ongoing expenses for a Virtual Doctor Service?

Utilities represent a significant cost. The federal government recommends a minimum internet speed of 4 Mbps for video-based medical visits. Many telecom companies surpass this speed for less than $40 per month. Although you won't meet patients in person, harmful mistakes could still occur. You should purchase telemedicine malpractice insurance. Fortunately, it may cost as little as half the price of conventional malpractice coverage.

Who is the target market?

Virtual doctor businesses primarily serve women between 18 and 49 years old, according to the CDC. You could also market your service to companies that purchase bulk subscriptions for their members. Potential buyers range from insurers to discount clubs.

How does a Virtual Doctor Service make money?

This business has low startup costs, making it easier for one-person firms to turn a profit relatively quickly. However, a service with multiple doctors and/or nurses will face high labor expenses. There's no guarantee of profitability, even at a time of high demand. The well-known telehealth company Teladoc remained unprofitable in 2020 after 18 years in business. Teladoc is the only publicly traded firm of this kind; its rivals don't publish net income data.

How much can you charge customers?

If they sign up for subscriptions, customers often spend around $12 to $40 per month for unlimited access. Non-subscribers pay $79 per call on average, according to CNBC. For example, Teladoc charges them $75 for a single interaction. Employers spend about $8.50 a month on telehealth employee benefits (per person). Their staff members frequently have to pay a discounted rate of around $35 per call.

How much profit can a Virtual Doctor Service make?

This business has low startup costs, making it easier for one-person firms to turn a profit relatively quickly. However, a service with multiple doctors and/or nurses will face high labor expenses. There's no guarantee of profitability, even at a time of high demand. The well-known telehealth company Teladoc remained unprofitable in 2020 after 18 years in business. Teladoc is the only publicly traded firm of this kind; its rivals don't publish net income data.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Don't overlook significant tax deductions. You'll probably qualify to subtract a portion of your internet bill. More deductions become available if you set aside an entire room to use as a home office. More tips:

  • To save time, try to make setup as easy as possible and provide thorough instructions to new clients.

  • Unlimited access may promote overuse; think about requiring the patient to pay at least a nominal fee for each call.

  • Interactions with established patients tend to be more efficient and lucrative, so retention is important.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. 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

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your Virtual Doctor Service is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can start an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

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

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

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.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

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.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Open net-30 accounts

When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.

Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.

Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.

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Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!

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.

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

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

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.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

How to promote & market a Virtual Doctor Service

Be sure to set up a sophisticated yet user-friendly website. You can promote it via search engine ads or social media. Highlight the reduced risks, convenience, and faster service associated with telehealth. Consider writing medical news articles for other websites to enhance your credibility. When marketing telemedicine to an employer, provide examples of lower costs in comparison to office visits.

How to keep customers coming back

Use detailed information to assure potential clients of your qualifications and professionalism. Offer multiple communication methods to suit different customers' devices, internet speeds, computer skills, and privacy preferences. If you utilize video conferencing, make sure clients have access to helpful technical support. Maintain convenient hours so people can reach you when they're not working.

A modest setup fee could deter patients from canceling their memberships and resubscribing when they have health problems. Even if you think someone definitely needs to schedule an in-person office visit, always try to provide a helpful suggestion, explanation, or referral. Clients shouldn't feel like they've wasted their money. You can also retain customers by minimizing wait times and including other health-related services or discounts.

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Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.

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Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.

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Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.

Start A Virtual Doctor Service In Your State

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

Is this Business Right For You?

If you want to make use of your medical skills without the stress of commuting or working in an office, this occupation may hold appeal. Telehealth entrepreneurs appreciate the opportunity to deliver their services from almost any location. However, you must have the ability to understand and adapt to complex rules as well as changing technology. Most patients prefer empathetic, non-judgmental physicians.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a Virtual Doctor Service?

Expect to spend a lot of time talking on the phone or participating in two-way video meetings. You may also review health records, examine still photos, and reply to text messages. Regardless of the specific method, you'll supply medical advice and prescribe medications when needed. Other daily tasks range from marketing to billing.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Virtual Doctor Service?

You can benefit from comprehensive medical knowledge, especially with regard to illnesses, chronic conditions, and minor injuries. An independent telehealth provider ought to be qualified as a doctor or nurse practitioner. Advanced computer skills prove valuable as well.

What is the growth potential for a Virtual Doctor Service?

Telehealth has rapidly gained popularity in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. A company called First Stop Health experienced revenue growth of 843% in early 2020. Thanks to inexpensive long-distance communications, businesses in this sector have nearly unlimited potential. Telemedicine provider HealthTap has attracted so many customers that it established contracts with over 95,000 doctors worldwide.

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Take the Next Step

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.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a Virtual Doctor Service?

You can serve more customers when you're licensed in several states. Prioritize states with high populations and favorable telehealth laws. Depending on when you have time available, a time zone difference may or may not work to your benefit.

Try to avoid relying upon satellite or cellular communications. Your telecom service and equipment must consistently deliver clear audio to ensure precision. Misunderstood words could result in flawed advice or unsuitable prescriptions.

If you have difficulty marketing your service to new clients, you can work at home as a contractor for existing platforms. Examples include Teladoc and Doctor On Demand. This experience might help you start an independent business in the future, so avoid signing any non-compete agreements.

When setting prices, remember that practitioners sometimes find it difficult to get reimbursed for individual calls. Monthly and yearly subscription fees supply more reliable income. The same goes for providing your service as an employee benefit.

How and when to build a team

Staff isn't essential in this profession. Nonetheless, you might benefit from hiring a nurse or customer service representative after attracting a considerable number of customers. An employee could update personal information, arrange appointments, and answer questions that don't require a doctor's expertise. Telehealth nurses earn about $37 per hour, according to Salary.com.

Next Steps

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