Getting funding that fits your business's needs is vital to starting and running a successful chiropractic practice. But choosing the right one involves more than just finding the best rate and lowest monthly payments.
What loan options are available for chiropractors?
Check out these five business loans — and one credit card — for chiropractic practices.
1. Commercial loans
A commercial loan is a long-term loan typically used for large purchases and general business funding. This might include buying commercial property, making a major renovation, buying an existing practice or purchasing the equipment you need to start your practice.
By funding large long-term projects, a commercial loan can help you grow and improve your practice.
2. Equipment financing
Advances in technology and normal wear and tear make it necessary to upgrade equipment from time to time. Specialized chiropractic equipment can be expensive, with the latest high-end tables costing more than $16,000.
Equipment loans and leases allow you to get the tools you need to run your practice without paying the entire cost up front. Loans use the equipment as collateral, and you can often borrow up to 100% of the value. Leases often include a buyout option, which means you can keep the equipment after the term ends for an additional cost.
3. Business line of credit
Business lines of credit offer flexibility and often come with lower rates than other types of short-term financing. You get access to funds on demand, which you can draw from when you need up to a specific credit limit over five to 10 years.
You only pay interest on the amount you borrow. And your credit line replenishes as you pay back the funds. Lines of credit can be used for any legitimate business expense, from replacing chairs in the waiting room to giving your treatment rooms a new coat of paint.
4. Short-term business loan
Should you run into temporary cashflow issues, a short-term business loan can help you manage the costs of day-to-day operations. It can also help you pay for a sudden opportunity or other immediate need that pops up. These typically come in smaller amounts than commercial loans. And because no collateral is required, interest rates can be on the higher side.
5. General purpose business loan
General purpose business loans typically come with fixed terms, high lending limits and fixed monthly repayments. They're ideal for covering a large, one-time purchase, but you can also use them to pay for more than one expense.
These are available through banks, credit unions and online lenders. While banks and credit unions tend to have more competitive rates, they can take longer than going with an online lender.
6. Business credit card
If used wisely, a business credit card can be helpful for purchasing anything from office supplies to a large one-off expense — like new adjustment tools. But because many credit cards have interest rates upwards of 20%, you'll want to pay off your balance in full by the due date to avoid exorbitant interest costs.
Compare online business loans
How do I decide which type of loan is best for my business?
Follow these steps to nail down the best type of loan for your practice:
- Determine how soon you need the money. While business credit cards can get you access to cash almost immediately, it can take anywhere from days to weeks to secure funds through a business loan.
- Figure out how much you need. Because you’re charged interest on a loan, you should borrow only the amount you need. If you’re not sure how much that will be, you might want to consider a line of credit.
- Determine what type of repayments fit your budget. Most long-term business loans come with monthly repayments over 10 to 20 years, while short-term loans can come with weekly or even daily repayments.
- Make sure you can qualify. General purpose business loans typically have stricter credit and income requirements than short-term and secured business loans. Likewise, it can be harder to qualify for a bank loan than financing through an online or alternative business lender.
What common business expenses can I cover with financing?
Besides helping with a major purchase or offsetting cashflow issues when expanding your chiropractic practice, business financing can also cover:
- Operational costs. Costs to buy office supplies, design your website or buy a new front desk fall under operational costs and can be covered by a business line of credit or short-term business loan.
- Moving or expanding. A term loan can help you expand your existing office space or move into a new one while keeping your cash flow healthy.
- Equipment financing. Purchasing X-ray equipment and chiropractic tables can be expensive, but a secured loan can help. And leasing gives you access to necessary equipment without buying it — usually at a lower monthly cost.
- Hiring staff. Hiring new staff and training your existing staff to help grow your client base can be pricey. Short-term loans can be a lifesaver for smaller chiropractic businesses with less-than-perfect credit, while long-term bank loans can offer more affordable financing for established practices.
- Marketing. Having a business plan to grow and market your practice can help you increase your client base and let potential patients know who you are, how to find you and what sets your practice apart from the competition.
What do I need to apply?
While applications vary by lender and loan type, you typically need to provide the following information when applying for financing:
- Business details. Business name, address, date established, number of employees and tax ID or Social Security number.
- Business financial information. Checking and savings account statements, tax returns and unpaid invoices.
- Business assets. If collateral is required, you'll need to provide details on what you're using to secure the loan.
- Personal financial information. Your personal credit score, income and bank statements may be required.
- Current and past business debts. You may need to list and explain any previous or current debts before you're approved for more.
What challenges might I face as a chiropractor?
There were about 50,300 chiropractor jobs in 2018, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the agency estimates more on the way. But like all healthcare specialties, it’s not without its challenges, which might include:
- Funding new and typically expensive equipment
- Landing new clients and keeping existing ones
- Lack of working capital for improvements or expansion
- Covering the cost of hiring and training employees
- Competition from local doctors
- Managing day-to-day operations
Thankfully, there are financing tools to offset many of these obstacles. New equipment can be funded with a term loan or equipment lease. Setting aside funds to market your practice can help you land new patients while keeping your existing client base. And taking advantage of social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can help you find new talent to recruit.
6 tips for a successful chiropractic private practice
Although the path to success depends a great deal on whether you’re just starting out or have been on the scene for years, some tips apply every single day.
- Look for areas of improvement each year. Take a deep dive into your finances at the start of each fiscal year and ask yourself if you're better or worse off than you were last year. Then brainstorm what changes you can make to grow your business and take it to the next level.
- Get some business training. Because a chiropractic education only includes a few business courses, it might be helpful to get specific training in business if you're thinking about starting your own practice.
- Stick to a budget. Costs to get your office up and running, as well as day-to-day business expenses, marketing costs and payroll can all add up quickly. Developing a detailed budget can help ensure you know exactly where your money is going each month and help you plan for the unexpected.
- Treat your employees well. Whether you offer 401(k) matching benefits or simply pick up the office lunch tab once a week, investing in your employees and their happiness is a key ingredient in building a successful practice.
- Keep your books in order. Hire an accountant or invest in software to help you keep track of your accounts payable and receivable, bank deposits, insurance claims, payroll taxes, debt repayments and other business expenses.
- Stay up to date on compliance. Keep up with all state and federal regulations, such as HIPAA, OSHA and CLIA, to avoid legal issues down the road.
It costs money to keep the doors of your chiropractic practice open. Maintaining a steady client base, having adequate cash flow and finding the right financing for your unique needs can all help.
When you’re ready to consider a loan for your chiropractic business, learn more by reading our guide to business loans.
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