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Starting a New Chiropractic Practice on a Budget

Updated on January 21, 2012

Starting a Chiropractic practice on a budget isn't easy but it is achievable with time and dedication!

Welcome to our "Starting a New Chiropractic Practice on a Budget" lens. This lens is dedicated to, you guessed it,: starting a Chiropractic practice with the least amount of money possible. There's no way around it, starting a new Chiropractic practice from scratch costs money. It doesn't have to be an insane amount of money however. You can set up a nicely equipped, nicely furnished Chiropractic practice without breaking the bank. It doesn't need to be just a cubicle and a card table either! With a great deal of time, effort and elbow grease you can start your own Chiropractic practice without killing yourself with debt. I did it and I'll help show you how to do just the same. Keep in mind for my method to work you have to be committed to saving yourself as much money as possible. You must be prepared to work hard and get dirty. Saving yourself money means learning to do a lot of the labor and work yourself. You also need to be prepared to do a lot of research and to negotiate and haggle. If this doesn't sound like something you can handle, then I'll forewarn you that none of my advice will be for you.

This lens is focused primarily on new Chiropractic college graduates and associates who've decided to take their modest savings and start a Chiropractic practice. Of course, there will be seasoned Chiropractors that simply want to start a new practice without breaking the bank due to something like expansion or relocation. The material contained here will apply just as well to these situations. I just wanted to apologize in advance if it seems this page is a little biased to newer members of the Chiropractic profession.

If you're ready let's get started!

Let's Talk Numbers

How much money do I need to Start a Chiropractic Practice? How can I raise it?

How Much Money do I Need to Start a Chiropractic Practice? - How much is enough?

Before we can really get started we need to know how much money we have to work with. So how much is enough? This is one of the toughest questions of all. How much money you need to start a Chiropractic practice depends on a variety of factors including the techniques you intend to use, what type of practice you want to have, and where you plan to practice.

Before you begin any real plans you need to set your target budget. How much do you have to spend, or how much will you need to save to spend? To do that wee need to tackle one of the most difficult decisions first: practice location.

If you want to open a practice in Beverly Hills, California the amount of money you'll need is obviously going to be dramatically higher than a small town in midwest America. Since the name of the game is saving money, let's eliminate the possibility of buying. I suppose in the current economy there may be the rare situation where you could come across usable commercial property for sale at an unbelievable low price, but these exceptions are so rare we won't even wast time considering them. Odds are pretty good you'll be renting. Odds are also pretty you'll need to be renting in an on older building. Again in the current state of our economy you may be able to find a newer commercial office space at a great deal. There are probably many landlords in desperate need of commercial tenants and willing to extend great deals. Although certainly possible, these situations are again the exception rather than the rule.

The only way to get an idea of how much you can expect to pay is to research real estate listings in your area. This can be done very easily via the internet. You may also be able to consult with a local attorney early on who can help make suggestions. Just keep in mind their main goal is to make as much money as possible. While most are trustworthy, you need to clearly point out you are on a tight budget as a new business seeking to keep overhead as low as possible.

How much space is enough? Ideally most practice consultants will tell you to find the area you definitely want to practice in and sign a lease for an office that is large enough to meet your needs when you grow later on. When starting a Chiropractic practice on a tight budget, this usually isn't really an option. A nice 2000-3000 square foot office in the perfect location will definitely allow you to settle in without worrying about outgrowing your practice location in the future. However that just isn't in the budget for those of you reading this. I'm going to buck the trend and tell you to look for a lease space that is big enough to do what you need it to do for a 1-3 year period. Starting from scratch you can get the job done in 500 to 1000 square feet. I've seen people start out with less space, but the range I've suggested includes a functional sizes that are still affordable.

If you are on a budget I would not recommend signing a long lease if possible. Many landlords want a 10 year lease or longer. If you are going to be signing a lease that long then you definitely need to take your future space needs into consideration. If you manage to sign a 1 to 3 year lease you'll probably be fine starting out small. If you start out and go like gangbusters you can always relocate somewhere a little larger in the same area. Don't worry what the "experts" tell you. As long as you move within 1-5 miles of your old office location your loyal patients will still come.

The second big factor that will impact how much money you need could be your chiropractic technique. If you intend to practice traditional manual techniques then you will need less money for equipment than someone who wants to be a pro-adjuster, atlas-orthogonal or similar Chiropractor. If your technique requires specialized tables or equipment this can increase your costs by thousands of dollars. Leasing equipment is always an option if you can obtain credit.

With all that out of the way let's get back to answering our initial question: Just how much money is enough? I started my own well equipped and modest Chiropractic practice in which I utilize the common Palmer Package of adjusting techniques (primarily Diversified, Gonstead, and Thompson techniques). I can tell you this can be done in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. I have seen and heard of people opening up a practice with even less so it is possible.

With this I was able to secure a lease space for an office around 1,000 square feet including security deposit, pay utility deposits, paint, re-carpet the waiting room, purchase all required equipment and furniture and more!

Sources of Start Up Funding to Start Your Chiropractic Practice

Where do I come up with $10,000 to $15,000?

So where are you supposed to get $10,000; $15,000; or more? The obvious solution is to save.

If you are an Chiropractic associate looking to branch out on your own this may be a little easier for you. After several years of working for someone else you can probably put away enough cash to start out on our own.

If you are a student in Chiropractic college saving may mean working part time while you are in school. While you may be sufficiently supported by student loans and not need to work to survive, working now would allow you to earn extra income to save toward your dream of opening a Chiropractic practice. A little less time spent partying with friends on the weekends as a student may mean extra money toward your dreams when you finish school!

Small Business Association Loans and bank loans may be another alternative. Just realize it may not be as easy as they imply in school. If you had to rack up a large student loan debt during your undergraduate and Chiropractic college days, obtaining another significant loan may be an issue. I can tell you from experience, obtaining a Chiropractic practice start up loan after you've financed your way through Chiropractic college is not always possible.

In Chiropractic college they spend some time having you work on a business plan. I will say it was pretty good advice, but the best business plan in the world won't get you funding. I worked an entire spring and summer on my business plan. I went above and beyond what I was taught at school. I was even commended by several banks for what a great job I did. I even had one commercial lender ask to photocopy my entire business plan because he was blown away with it. He told me, "What you have here is amazing. One of the best I have seen."

I was only asking for about $30,000. I had decent credit, I had money down, I had some collateral, but it all still wasn't enough for a bank in the troubled economy at the time to take a risk on a new business. Absent a friend or relative to co-sign with a lot of collateral, the three banks I went to weren't willing to lend me money.

Having my parents or someone else cosign with their home as collateral wasn't an option. There was no way I could ask anyone to do that. Long story short, I ended up taking a job working out of Chiropractic for about a year to save money to start my practice. It wasn't easy, but it can be done!

Some Words of Advice

Things to know when starting your own Chiropractic practice on a tight budget.

A Roller Coaster of Emotions

Starting a Chiropractic practice can be stressful

Whether you are starting your very first new Chiropractic practice on your own, or opening a new satellite office, starting a Chiropractic practice can certainly stir up a variety of emotions. The entire process can be stressful, scary, intimidating, exciting, and fun.

For many readers and visitors to this page, starting a Chiropractic practice on a budget is going to be something done out of necessity. When you need to start a Chiropractic practice on a shoestring budget, things can be even a little more stressful. There is a huge difference between pinching pennies because you want to and because you HAVE to.

I just wanted to take a minute to point out that this all can be a very stressful experience. That being said, make sure you take the time to smell the roses and enjoy all the positive emotions and happiness that goes along with starting your very own business! It's a pain in the rear but it also has its own unique rewards which well outweigh the negative aspects. It's a lot like parenting! (That's another squidoo lens for another day!)

Prepare to Be a One Man Army

Be a Master Multitasker and Save!

Prepare yourself to do it all on your own. One of the best ways to save money is to personally handle as many of the day to day tasks of running a Chiropractic practice as you can. If you aren't fortunate enough to have a significant other or family member to work for free you'll need to answer your own phone, schedule patients, do billing, clean, and more!

If you are opening a Chiropractic practice without much money you simply can't afford to pay someone else to do these tasks for you. You also can't afford to be too proud. Squash that pride, get those hands dirty and do what has to be done!

In the beginning I did EVERYTHING on my own. I built my own website, created my own marketing materials,answered my own phone, scheduled patients, did the billing, took my own x-rays, etc. At the end of the day and on weekends I caught up on cleaning and more.

It's not always fun but it can be done!

It's Time Consuming! - Saving money takes time

Opening your own Chiropractic practice on a budget saves you money, but costs you time. Not only does it take time to obtain or save the required funds, but opening your Chiropractic practice with as little money as possible means you'll be doing a lot of the work yourself. You simply can't afford to pay someone else to do something you are capable of doing. Paying someone else to do things for you is usually much more expensive than doing it yourself. Obviously if you need to do major buildout or construction work or need major electrical or plumbing work you may need to outsource those jobs.

However, nearly everyone is capable of using a paintbrush, paint roller, or cleaning. You'll be amazed at what you are capable of when you simply don't have the money in your budget to pay someone else to do it. Check the internet or your local library and there is likely a "how-to" guide or video to teach you how to do what you need. I learned how to frame up a wall, hang wainscoting, wallpaper, lead line the walls in my x-ray room, lay carpet, wire up new fluorescent lighting fixtures, do light plumbing work and much more thanks to starting my own practice.

How to Stretch Your Chiropractic Practice Start Up Funding

Does new Chiropractic equipment fit into your tight practice start up budget?
Does new Chiropractic equipment fit into your tight practice start up budget?

Old vs. New Equipment

Can you afford new Chiropractic equipment?

I got the idea of new Chiropractic equipment out of my head pretty quickly. New Chiropractic adjusting tables are incredibly expensive! Thousands of dollars on a new hy-lo adjusting table just wasn't an option. Securing a bunch of leases with high monthly payments wasn't a smart option either.

You are reading this so it's safe to assume you want (or need) to start a Chiropractic practice with little money. New Chiropractic equipment just doesn't fit into this model. Get shiny, bright and new out of your head. Start thinking, "previously enjoyed". You can obtain older equipment at a great deal. Many times it functions just as well as new equipment and won't put you in the poorhouse.

I was able to buy a Hy-Lo table that originally cost over $6,000 for less than $600.00. It was such a great deal that I drove hundreds of miles away to get it. I loaded it in the van I borrowed from my parents and took it home. After an hour or two of clean up, a minor repair, and some recovering it was good to go.

Check thrift stores, flea markets, resale shops and more for fantastic prices on the items you need to start your Chiropractic practice!
Check thrift stores, flea markets, resale shops and more for fantastic prices on the items you need to start your Chiropractic practice!

Thrift Stores, Salvation Army, Goodwill. . . Oh my!

These stores and more can save you a ton of money!

I'll admit in the beginning I was less than thrilled with heading into thrift stores and other associated stores. I used to think Salvation Army and "Goodwill" type stores were just a place for the less fortunate or those on a tight budget to buy affordable clothing. That's only a small portion of what they have to offer. Once I started looking around I was blown away with the amount of cool items you can find at your local thrift store, Salvation Army Store or other Goodwill type store.

The ones in my area sell furniture, artwork, decorations and so much more. Some of the items are even new or barely used at all. For my practice I was able to purchase a conference room table, chairs, artwork, and much more for a huge discount. You would be amazed at the amount of useful items you'll find in these stores and I still stop in to shop and see what's new.

I've even found a great deal of new or nearly new healthcare related items. I've found blood pressure cuffs, new stethoscopes, reflex hammers, reference texts, paraffin baths, infrared lamps and a ton of other great items. Of course you should have any used electronic item you intend to use on patients professionally tested and calibrated if applicable before using it within your practice.

The bottom line is thrift stores, resale stores, flea markets and similar locations offer a wonderful opportunity to find the furnishings, fixtures, and equipment you need to open a Chiropractic practice on a budget.

Check your local classifieds for great prices on items you need to open your Chiropractic practice on a budget!
Check your local classifieds for great prices on items you need to open your Chiropractic practice on a budget!

Auctions, Local Classifieds, Garage Sales and More!

Even more ways to save money.

Local classified listings, garage sales, and estate sales are additional opportunities to save you money when starting a Chiropractic practice on a budget. Of course you probably aren't going to find any sort of major equipment for patient treatment, you will find many of the office furnishings and other miscellaneous items you need to start your practice.

I was able to pick up a modern office desk, chairs, huge HON lateral filing cabinets, therapy carts, magazine racks and more via these methods. The best part about buying locally from a classified or at a garage sale is you can often negotiate your price. When you are starting a Chiropractic practice with limited funds every penny you save counts. You quickly learn to get over any fear of haggling.

Another great tip is to pay attention if you happen to be at a garage sale, estate sale, or auction near closing on the last day. Often the owner of an item will literally give an item away to avoid dragging it back in the house, garage, or storage. I've been offered a few pieces of furniture as well as a treadmill for basically nothing because the owner simply wanted it gone at the end of the day!

Auctions can also be another effective way to save on items you need to start your Chiropractic practice. The contents of storage unit lockers are often auctioned off when the renter defaults and fails to pay their bill. A local storage unit company near my homes also has an annual tent sale where they drag out items from renters who surrendered their belongings. Scenarios like these can save you some cold hard cash. Of course you could also save money in a conventional or online auction as well.

Another effective auction is an auction held when a business has failed and the contents of the business is auctioned off by the lender to recoup some of their losses. While these auctions are unfortunate for the former business owner (we never like to see fellow businessmen fail) it can actually be beneficial for auction buyers. I attended one of these auctions and was able to secure a ton of needed equipment and supplies at ridiculously low prices. Staplers, computers, copiers, trash cans, artwork, shelves, file cabinets, carts, and more are just some ideas of what I was able to save drastically on. Often most of the other auction buyers are after bigger ticket items so things like trash cans, shelving units and file cabinets go ignored as dull and boring.

Don't overlook the opportunity to save some hard earned cash. Head on out and check out your local garage sales, estate sales, fire sales, flea markets, trade centers, auctions and more!

Ebay is a Great Place to Save on Chiropractic Equipment, Art, and Patient Education

Ebay is packed with Chiropractic related products!

You may not think of it at first, but ebay has tons of great Chiropractic items. It is a great place to go to save money on Chiropractic equipment, Chiropractic art, Chiropractic patient education, and more!

If you are looking for a great deal on a Chiropractic adjusting table, x ray machine, supplies, or even Chiropractic paintings and art, ebay is a great place to search.

Search Amazon for Affordable Chiropractic Equipment and Supplies

Amazon is a great place to find affordable Chiropractic equipment and supplies:

Chiropractic Stuff on Amazon

Did I miss something? Have a tip to share? Please take a moment and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

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    • profile image

      Dr. Gizaw 18 months ago

      thanks a lot , very helpful

    • profile image

      tarek oqlah 2 years ago

      I'm looking to start a chiro offices do I have the money to open a nice one , my wife had worked at one before and I'm looking to hire someone to get it started , I'm in Irving Texas and I'm not a doctor but a very smart business man .

      If any one interested please E mail me @ tarek79@aol.com and we can talk business .

      Thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 2 years ago

      Well this was certainly a great piece of info! After working a couple of years for other chiros who eat their young it will be nice to consider making my own money.....oh and by the way..since nobody else asked...how about a copy of the business plan? ;)........subluxation72@gmail.com

      thank you very much!

    • profile image

      Great Info! 2 years ago

      Thanks for the information... Would you be willing to send me a copy of your business plan? I'm a Chiro student and would appreciate it..

      Rich_pinner@outlook.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Man! You are God sent! I am an 8th quarter student at Life University in Georgia. I want to open up my own practice when I graduate, and I will return back to my home state, Florida. After reading everything you said, it keeps me more motivated to accomplish my dream! Thank you so much!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I am just getting ready to start a new chiro business and needed this advice. Can you email me a copy as an attachment of the business plan if you ever received one? It would sure help in trying to get a business loan. Thanks. email to drtommy613@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am just getting ready to start a new chiro business and needed this advice. Can you email me a copy as an attachment of the business plan? It would sure help in trying to get a business loan. Thanks. email to drtommy613@yahoo.com

    • practicemastery1 profile image

      practicemastery1 4 years ago

      Great lot of good content. Thanks!

    • practicemastery1 profile image

      practicemastery1 4 years ago

      Thanks for adding value to new grads.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What practice management software did you buy? What are some economical yet efficient ones?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is an awesome lens! I just graduated from Life a month ago and this has given me great insight for opening up my own practice next year! Thanks a mil!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      good lens, I think that you have given me the weapons needed but can you email me a copy of your business paln please! please!! and please!!! to use as a model for my? ebexonusa@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      restandrelaxbodywork 5 years ago

      Great lens. Those who have chiropractic career would definitely like your advice. Looking forward to your next lens on chiropractic.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      There is some really good advice here. I am not a chiropractor, but an alternative practitioner, and, while our equipment is certainly much cheaper than that of a chiropractor, I have opened my own clinic before, and the cost is similar in range. Thanks! Blessed!