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Private practice business premises: working from the home office

For most physiotherapists contemplating private practice, commercial space seems to be the most logical work space choice. However, there are other options to consider that offer significant advantages for physiotherapists, especially for new business owners.

Working from home is a popular choice for many physiotherapists, because it offers them a comfort level not immediately available with a separate premise. It allows you to start operating your business efficiently without significant start-up costs, especially if you are working alone and one treatment area is sufficient for the short-term .

Consider some of the advantages of a home-based private practice:

  • Preferential tax treatment and benefits (e.g. ability to deduct mortgage, rent and utilities based on percentage of space being used for business purposes).
  • No transportation overhead (i.e. no commuting time or transportation costs; no commuter stress)
  • Easier to maintain work-life balance, family interaction.
  • Good location may prove convenient for majority of clientele.
  • Better scheduling flexibility in the event of last-minute appointments, cancellations, use of evenings and weekends, etc.

On the other hand, home practices may bring up other issues, such as:

  • Perceived lack of professionalism by patients and fellow practitioners.
  • Inability to separate work from your personal life (family, friends).
  • More difficult to avoid overworking; longer hours.
  • Lack of contact and interaction with colleagues in the profession.
  • Lack of privacy.

Although working from home offers considerable advantages, it may not be a viable option if your premises are not zoned for commercial use or if in-person visits are not allowed. Home owners may be able to get around such restrictions, but if you rent your property, beware of fine print in your lease that limits use for business purposes .

Check with your municipality’s bylaws before embarking on any home-based private practice venture .

Setting up a home-based physiotherapy practice can be a positive experience for you and your patients, provided you take the necessary steps to make it work. Ideally, the home office will be isolated from your normal living quarters and be properly secured. Consider having a clean, well-lit welcoming area, dedicated business telephone and appropriate furniture to creative a positive impression and a professional practice website to help you get started.