Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Should I invest in my own business premises?

London Therapy Rooms EC2
As a therapist, should you work from home or hire a therapy room?
If you opt for the latter, which one should you choose?
To hire a room by the hour in an existing therapy centre?
Or to rent your own office space?
Or even to buy and sublet to other therapists. and how much should you spend?

The number of options and resulting questions can be mind boggling. Hopefully we can help you to make a more informed decision by discussing some of the pros and cons of each option.

The first and usually cheapest option is to work from home. In order to do this, you will need a designated space in your home, which is generally very affordable but could potentially be costly, if you need to renovate a room or build a garden house. There are many benefits to this first option. The big benefit is no ongoing rent expenses. This is a huge advantage, particularly if your business is still quite young. You also do not need to pay travel costs or parking. Being in full control of your environment is also comforting. You can ensure that you have all the equipment you need, that the environment is quiet and the bathrooms are clean. This is not always guaranteed in a rented space! However, there are some disadvantages to working from home. From surveying many clients, it appears that clients view working from home as less professional. Most clients would prefer to go to a more formal setting. Depending on your type of therapy, your clients might feel anxious. Visiting you in your home feels as though they are in your territory, which can heighten anxiety. Running your sessions from a more neutral environment, can enable clients to feel more comfortable. Most of your clients will be wonderful people. However, almost every therapist has had at least one client who has not respected the professional boundaries. This can range from stalker type behaviour to expecting their therapist to be on call 24/7. Working from home offers you less protection against this.

A second option is to visit clients in their homes. This has many advantages. There are big cost savings since you do not incur any costs, other than travel. Clients potentially feel more comfortable in their own home. It is also easier for disabled clients as they do not have to struggle with transport and unfamiliar places. One disadvantage is that you have to carry your equipment from place to place, which, depending on your therapy style, might be very inconvenient. If a lot of your day is spent travelling, you are limiting how many paid hours you can fit into a day. Often client's homes are not a good environment to for therapy. Potentially there are pets around who are keen to get involved or family members in other rooms and the client might be conscious of them listening in.

If you decide to rent a space there are a dazzling number of options available to you. One of the most common for holistic therapists, is to hire a room by the hour within an existing therapy centre. This allows you to minimise the risk, since you are only paying if you use the room. Generally the rooms are well suited to therapy and may have equipment and suitable furniture included. Usually these centres will also do some advertising on your behalf, which is great for generating new business. One of the disadvantages is that the hourly cost is often quite high and takes a big chunk out of your earnings. Also, you can be limited by when the room is available so might not be able to see your clients at times which suit them.

Once you have established a good client base, it might suit you to rent somewhere permanently. This is generally the most expensive option. It looks very professional to have your own designated space, which you can furnish to perfectly suit the needs of your clients. If you rent an office with a receptionist, this further adds to your professionalism and portrays you as an expert. You have full flexibility about when you see clients. It can also be nice to separate your home life and work life. The disadvantage of this option is that it is expensive, particularly if you want a nice office in a good location, with additional features such as parking, receptionists and a waiting room. It is also a the riskiest option. You still have to pay your rent whether or not you have enough clients, so in theory you could be making a loss.

Please do add your comments below. telling the community which type of premises you practice from and how that is working out for you.

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