How Physical Therapists Can Make More Money

For the past twelve years, I have learned all of the ways that are available for physical therapists to make more, just understanding a few different things. I really believe that most PTs, including myself, just don’t know you don’t even know that these things are available to you and because of our lack of understanding of the finances, of the physical therapy business itself, of what patients are looking for, you just totally shut off all of those potential streams of revenue. I did that for quite awhile. Even when I had my private practice in the first couple of years, I did that and it made me suffer. I just thought that the only way that I could make more money is if I either brought in more patients, which I didn’t feel I have control over, or if I kept people there longer. It’s just not a good feeling to be in and I think it’s just because most physical therapists in a whole, most companies, they have a lot of tunnel vision with regards to how they help their patients.


The number one way is just understanding the financial ramifications of the physical therapy business.

PT on a whole is based on a couple of things. It’s based on understanding net revenue; that’s the amount of money that is coming in per patient based on their insurance. Understanding insurance, that the type of insurance plans that you are seeing within the facility that you are working for are going to pay a certain amount. Not all insurances are created equal. Understanding how cancellations affect your business. Understanding capacity, which is the amount of patients that you are seeing per hour based on the amount of revenue that you are creating for the clinic. All those things make a big difference and I just think that most physical therapists from staff PTs to homeowners don’t have a good pulse of that. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. I believe if you are a staff PT or you are looking to go in the field, I think just understanding those things will allow you to separate yourself from the rest of the pack just because you are willing to understand it. It’s a lot of taboo in our profession.


I think that those ways are really important and I think that is something that you understand it, now you can actually manage it, you can measure it, and now you can look at, “hey, we just changed this, where could we go?” and I always believe in the 10% group. You don’t have to complete a 180, you just make small little changes and it could radically change your career and financially change a lot of things for you.

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Number two, and I think this is a huge one I did in my practice is just increasing the lifetime value of your patients.

We can do that through a lot of different ways. Typically in PT, we get a patient, they come with their script, we see them, we make them leave, we are done and if they liked us and remember us then if anything aligns perfectly we’ll see them again three years from now. I just think that is not an efficient way of doing it. If you understand the power of customer reviews, patient reviews, that will bring more people to you. I think if you understand the power of additional services that you can offer, you now increase the lifetime value of that customer.


Let’s think about it for a second. Somebody is coming to your clinic, the average amount of visits that you’re seeing that person is eight, you got paid $80 per visit – that’s $640 for that person. To get that customer, you are getting $640 over here. What if you offer that person longer services, subscription-based model, they do massage therapy, they do other things at your office, running analysis, whatever things you have. And now, you can make that person an additional 400 – $500. That’s a huge difference, that’s 40 – 50% difference. 600 vs a thousand dollars for that person? And what if you have campaigns that are setup to where you are sending out email broadcasts to patients on different things that you are offering for your former patients every six months or maybe eight months. That person, now that can go from a $600 lifetime value to a thousand to fifteen hundred to 2000 to 3000. Those things are a big deal in understanding the lifetime value of your patient.


Number three is CONSULTING. That’s a big one for me. As a consultant, you could usually make whatever you wanted to charge but if you have expertise in the area of physical therapy, if you know the area of physical therapy very well, and most of the physical therapists don’t know anything besides the clinical aspect of physical therapy, well you just separate yourself from everyone else. Understand this, if you are not understanding and you are not embracing the business of physical therapy, there’s many other non-PTs that are, you might work for one. And there are many non-PTs that see the value and they see the potential to help a lot of people in this area and they use you for consulting because they know that you have expertise in what clients go through and you can name your price as a consultant. My price for a consultant has increased by 350% over the last four years just because of the demand. That’s a really cool thing that you could continue to do if people know that you are expert in physical therapy along with one or two areas.


Number four, I believe that this is the wave of the future for PTs and that’s telehealth services. The thing that people are buying for is time and money and we know where insurance companies are going or moving towards trying to keep more of their money and to save people time and they know that there is opportunity in that. Physical therapy right now is not huge in telehealth even though telehealth is big with a lot of physicians now but physical therapy is moving towards that. Are you comfortable enough with tech? Are you comfortable enough with being able to manage someone’s care that wanted to be managed via telehealth or part of it being telehealth? That’s a huge opportunity for you to make more money in the PT profession.


And I think the final one is practice ownership. Because whenever company you work for, there are always going to have overhead that you are going to be working towards paying for. The bigger the company, the bigger the overhead. The more that you are doing with regards to treating patients and doing all these other things, the more it has to, now it will pay you but it has to pay all the other people up the chain.