It may seem very convenient to start serving clients from the comfort of oneâ€™s home. This is a very interesting choice and may not be suitable for all of those looking to build a successful private therapy practice. Before going down this route, it may be important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of seeing clients from oneâ€™s home.
Advantages of Working from Home
A number of business professionals like the convenience of working from the same location in which they live. This can reduce commuting time and make it easier to serve more clients, potentially increase a business ownerâ€™s profits. Working from one location can reduce costs associated with maintaining both an owned office location and a private residence. It may be useful for those who are starting out in their practice to reduce their potential overhead by offering sessions from their home.
When it comes time to pay the IRS, there may be benefits to itemizing expenses and using deductions to reduce tax burden on a home business. Rent, mortgage deductions and utility costs may be reduced as a specific percentage may be applied toward business purposes. Those that require a single treatment room and work alone may find they do not need to incur the additional expenses associated with separate premises for a practice. Â
In addition, it may make it easier to spend quality time at home with family. The time spent in commuting to an office can be used toward connecting with family and friends, as well as self-care. This is an important consideration for those who need to balance their home and work commitments, as well as to take care of oneâ€™s own needs.
Disadvantages of Having a Private Practice at Home
Many practitioners prefer working from a location that is not their home. They like the level of privacy with this option and the ability to keep work and family life separate. Many may find it difficult to separate their personal life from their work life and may get interrupted by friends and family during regular business hours. This may be viewed as unprofessional by clients and by fellow colleagues.
Working from home may make it easy to overwork. Individuals may spend more time tending to work commitments when they can take a few steps and be in their office. Working from a separate location creates a mental break between the practice and the home. Therapists have more pressure to work within the business hours listed with separate work and home locations.
Working from home can be socially and professionally isolating. Working within a larger practice makes it easier to connect with those in oneâ€™s field and may lead to additional referrals. Those that choose to operate their private practice from home may want to make a conscious effort to attend conferences and network with those in or connected with oneâ€™s area of expertise.
How to Successfully Work from Home
Toys scattered in a waiting area, smells of home cooking and interruptions from teens will not be helpful in attracting and maintaining a full caseload. In order to be viewed as a professional in the field, take steps to maintain a separate work space, waiting area and office area. Sometimes renovations might be needed in order to make clear separation of living and working spaces. Family and friends should know the behavior expected from them during business hours and what types of interruptions, if any, are permitted at such times. From answering machine messages to the general setup in an area, those working from home have to take additional steps to maintain the appearance of professionalism and connect with colleagues, staying abreast of the latest changes in their field.
Before looking to work from home, check into the zoning regulations on a property and whether or not in-person visits are permitted. Those who rent may have additional restrictions when it comes to using a residential property for business purposes.
Anthony Gilbert is the owner of The RealFX Group. Anthony specializes in real estate, real estate marketing, and home business startup strategy.