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Space Or No Space? Choosing the best model for your therapy practice

For 13 years I’ve had my music therapy practice, and for 13 years I’ve thought about getting a brick and mortar location. To date, I’ve never actually acted on the thought…and yet my practice is thriving.

Recently, however, I’ve started to feel the desire to get into an actual location. The desire stems from a few reasons, most of which have to do with the possibility of growth and serving more clients in need. I’m not 100% sure what I’ll decide, but I do feel excited about the possibility of change. 

But is it really necessary to have a physical location in order to succeed as a private practice? The answer is that it depends. It depends 100% on what you want as a therapist, and what type of clients you want to serve.

Let’s talk a bit about the pros and cons of a physical location, and see whether you are following the business model that works best for you.

Pros of having a physical location

You can work with individual, private-pay/insurance-based clients. 

If you dream of working with private clients in your own space without having to drive all over town, then you’ve got to have a location for them to come to. 

Increased options on how to serve clients 

When you have a home base, you can offer more community services for individuals and groups. Perhaps you want to create a social group for teens with anxiety, or a recovery group for individuals with brain injury. When you have a physical location you can jump on this right away and invite people to your space. 

Gathering place for your team

It’s much easier to stay connected to your team when you have a homebase. Instead of being out and about with no central landing space, you can schedule times to be together for team meetings, gatherings, and support. The space can also serve as an office location where your team can plan, chart, and fulfill other office-related tasks.


When you have a physical location, it can help you feel like “the real deal”. This simple shift in mentality may increase your sense of professionalism, and that will show through and possibly attract more opportunities. Plus, depending on the quality of your space, clients will appreciate coming to a warm, welcoming environment that you created yourself. 

Cons of having a physical location

Added Cost

Once you lock yourself into a lease on a space, you have an added monthly expense to fork out every month. Whether it’s $300 or $3,000, you’re responsible for it, whether you have the income coming in or not. Add the utilities, internet, and insurance expenses, and the bills can add up real quick. You may feel like you’re working all the time but not bringing in much income. The truth is that the income is coming in, but it’s being sucked away immediately to your lease. 

Added Risk

Higher overhead expenses make it a lot harder to achieve healthy profit margins for your business. In the case of mass cancellations such as with the pandemic, you may have to pay for it with money you don’t have. That poses a significant risk, especially if you don’t have a healthy savings account to get you through at least 6 months of expenses.

Added Marketing Stress

Having a space can pose added stress to keep your client numbers up in order to cover the cost. You may need to spend more time marketing in order to find clients and bring them into your practice. 

How to run a successful practice without a physical location

I’ve had my practice for 13 years now without a central location. This model has worked well for me, and can definitely be successful, but whether it’s right for you simply depends on who you want to serve. If you love private clients and staying in one location, a physical space is right for you. However, if you want to expand your reach and consider other types of work you love, you can create a whole business through mobile work. 

Here are some of the benefits of a practice without a physical location:

More Business Stability by Focusing on Contract Work

Without a physical location, my ideal clients have been businesses with whom we can contract. It takes more time to develop these relationships and get a contract signed, but I’ve found these relationships are not only more stable, but bring in more income and allow us to serve more clients. 

We create relationships and contract with hospitals, school districts, treatment centers, and/or early intervention programs for a set number of groups per week. With these contracted relationships we have fewer (if any) cancellations, and there is almost unlimited potential for growth.

Low Overhead Costs

It’s easy to keep costs low when you don’t have a monthly bill to pay. Because I haven’t had a physical location, I’ve been able to pay my therapists more, and bring in more into savings and owners compensation. Over the course of 13 years the savings are around $100K.

Unlimited Geographical Service

It’s easy to expand your reach when you don’t feel bound by a physical location. Instead of finding clients where you are, you can find therapists where your ideal clients are. I’ve been able to hire therapists onto our team even 300 miles away from our “central” location, simply because there was a need there. I don’t know that I would have considered serving those clients if I was focused on staying closeby.

More convenient for some clients

Even without a physical location, we still serve private clients. We simply narrow our client base and do home visits. This option definitely limits the types of clients you can serve, but it can work quite well for children or older adults. 

Many parents love and appreciate the fact that we come to them, and we’re able to serve people that might not otherwise access services. You do have to watch and take good care of your traveling therapists, however, as excessive travel can lead to major burnout!

In conclusion, I want to emphasize that there is not a right or a wrong way to run a practice. There are simply different options, and you get to choose which one is best for you. 

So what will it be for you? Do you want a space? No space? What feels right?

Need help figuring out what’s best for your practice?

You can schedule a time here: