My path into the world of physical therapy will probably sound familiar. I played a lot of sports in high school and college and had a bunch of injuries. When I went to physical therapy I thought to myself “I could do this for the rest of my life and be pretty happy.”
Less than two years after I graduated, I opened up my own practice. This was after working for nine different companies in 18 months. I guess you could say I am unemployable.
I always wanted to have my own practice. I knew this even when I was in college. I’m not even really sure why, I guess it’s just what my family does. I’m a 4th generation entrepreneur… just in a much different industry.
I think the desire to run your own show comes from the desire to improve on the current situation. You are working at a place and you look around and say “If I was calling the shots, this would be a lot different.” Even today, this thought process drives a lot of what we do. The potential impact physical therapy can make in our society is huge. We want to make sure our profession reaches its full potential.
The first decade of my private proactive career was no picnic. I have more stores than we have time for but here are the highlights…
- Saw my very first patient at 8am on April 21, 2003. Her first words to me were “Do you accept my insurance?” and I had no idea. Turns out I didn’t… or anyone else’s insurance. I didn’t know you had to talk to insurance companies to let them know you were interested in being a provider for them.
- Opened up my second location a few years later and my friend and number 1 referral source for that location dies in a car accident.
- A few years later, in a desperation move to keep my practice open I purchased 150k worth of vestibular testing equipment in partnership with a doctor that left a month after the purchase and disappeared off the face of the earth leaving me with equipment I couldn’t use.
- Shortly after that I started using a payroll company who a top referral source’s son worked for and watched him steal 40k from me in payroll taxes that he said he was paying to the government but was really putting in his pocket.
- I opened up a location with an urgent care doc that said he could get me 10 new patients a week easy if I paid rent for his basement space. After 100k in build out, he sent me 12 patients in a year and I had to close it down.
- Partnered with another doc to do inpatient rehab with an out patient clinic at a small private hospital he built spending 40k in software development for the project only to have him sell to a larger hospital a week after we completed the project.
- Had my #1 referral source open up his own PT practice in the same building as me and try to steal all my patients.
- Had to split my practice after a 15 year partnership with my twin brother.
- During the split, I had my outsourced billing and financial management company try to buy me out knowing I was in a vulnerable sitionat. Oh, here i the fun part… he partnered with the doc above to help him open up the PT practice in my building… and then shortly after sued me for breach of contract after I thought that getting out of any billing services agreement with a guy that was part owner in another PT practice in my building might not be a good idea.
So as you can see, there has been a lot of adversity since that first day I opened my doors. Luckly, during the hardest part of that journey, I had the founders of NLPT with me. In the fall of 2017, everything changed. I have had some of my most difficult challenges since starting NLPT but it was a lot easier to get through them knowing I had Lee, Arlan, Kevin, Robbie, Pancho, Frank, Jeremy and Chuck in my corner.
Fast forward to today…
I have 4 locations at a current volume of over 2M in revenue and growing with a 10 year vision of 10 locations. I no longer treat patients and get to work on my business instead of in it like 94% of private practice owners. I love going to work every day and have built an amazing team that I plan to sell the business back to in the years to come so that they can reap the same financial and career benefits that I get. All of this in the face of a global pandemic that has crushed small businesses in my area. And guess what… I am still learning and growing! Who knows where I will be in the future? What I do know is this is a LOT more fun with the right people around you.
I have learned one big thing about private practice in the last 20 years. It’s hard. Really hard, but it’s a lot easier and a lot more fun when you are not doing it alone.
I want to provide that sense of security for as many private practice owners as I can. That feeling of knowing you have others in your corner, on your team that will help you through whatever private practice throws at you.
Thank you for the opportunity to give you what these guys have given me.