March 4, 2021

Is it cheaper to manage your PT clinic in-house?

by Sally Hammer

I am a saver.

As in, I’m one of those people who’s physically pained by spending money. I budget almost to a fault and will DIY just about anything to save a few dollars. I’ve learned to cut my own hair, bake my own sourdough, and patch my own drywall. The list goes on.

You can bet that when it comes to things like accounting, organizational management, and recordkeeping I’m inclined to do it myself. After all, I understand basic math and I am extremely detail oriented.

There’s nothing to lose… right? Wrong.

Think all the way back to ECON 101 (I know, it was a traumatic experience for me, too). Remember that thing called opportunity cost? It’s probably at play in your life far more than you realize. In fact, it factors into every decision you make (whether or not you realize it). Whenever you choose to do one thing with your time, you’re also choosing not to do a myriad of other things with the same time.

Time is more valuable than money. Especially for physical therapy practice owners.

Something I have to remind myself of regularly is that money is just a tool. It’s not the end-all, be-all, nor is it worth anything without the things that bring meaning and enrichment to our lives.

Time, on the other hand, is priceless. Once it’s gone, we can’t ever get it back. As we previously wrote, it’s the most important thing.

This is why it doesn’t make sense for us to do everything ourselves. For instance, how much more valuable would it be (both tangibly and intangibly) for you to spend 2 hours managing insurance claims, versus 2 hours seeing patients? I’m going to go ahead and guess that you’d rather be working with patients.

Uh oh, get ready for more ECON… comparative advantage. Not only would you likely prefer to spend more time practicing physical therapy and less on overhead tasks, there are many people out there who’ve made careers out of such task management. Not only do they actually find it fulfilling, they’re likely a heck of a lot more efficient at it than you are.

By outsourcing tasks that don’t align with your focus and strengths, you now have more time to spend with the people you love or invest in parts of your career that excite you.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at some (hypothetical) numbers.

Say your practice earns an average of $80 per visit. Each visit lasts around 30 minutes, so in an hour you’ve earned $160. Meanwhile, you’ve hired a bookkeeper who charges $40 per hour.

Even though you’ve spent $40 on a bookkeeper, you’ve gained a total of $120.

How much would you have made had you done the bookkeeping yourself?

That’s right: $0.

While it’s rarely quite this cut and dry, I hope this illustrates why it makes sense to outsource.

Remember, you can’t do it all yourself. Even if you could, there’d be no reason to do so.

As Napoleon Hill said, “Time is wealth. When it’s gone, you cannot replace it.