How to Start an Occupational Therapy Business

ANKLE FRACTURE image by Dr Cano from

So you decided years ago to become an occupational therapist, and you are now experienced and ready to open your own business. With patience, preparation and research, you will successfully open your own occupational therapy business. If you have questions, seek the help of your local small-business administration. It can give you the answers you need or direct you to the source that has them. Retired occupational therapists are often untapped resources—seek their advice for inside tips and tricks to owning and operating a successful occupational therapy clinic.

Choose a name for your new occupational therapy business. It should reflect professionalism, as doctors and patients will direct clients, friends and family to your practice.

Develop a budget and create a business plan that highlights your goals and aspirations for your occupational therapy business. This document should be error free and professional in appearance and readability. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration online for tips and tricks to creating a business plan. You can also view sample plans that provide you with an idea of what your document should look like.

Apply for a small-business loan to acquire the necessary startup funds that you will need to get your occupational therapy business up and running. If a loan is not an option, network with other occupational therapists and inform them of your decision to open your own business. If they are not interested, they may know someone who is. Spread the word throughout your family and tell friends of your new venture; perhaps they will consider investing in your idea.

Choose a location for your new occupational therapy business. You may purchase or lease an unoccupied building; however, if the funds allow, constructing your own office may be a better fit for you. Customizations will allow you to design the building according to your needs and those of your patients.

Apply for the proper permits, business licenses and federal tax identification number at your local courthouse or municipal office. Your state may require that you obtain business licenses for your occupational therapy clinic from the city, county and state in which your office will operate; however, each state’s regulations vary.

Hire aides that have the proper licenses and educational experience to help you operate you occupational therapy business. They must pass a state examination to able to legally work with your patients.

Equip your office with the necessary machines and items you will need to successfully operate your occupational therapy clinic. State of the art machinery will cost a bundle, but you will find that quality machines will outlast their cheaper competitors.

Print business cards and inform other doctors of the opening of your business. Many patients will come to you from based on a referral from their doctor or place of employment. Though you can advertise your new business via radio and television airspace, word-of-mouth will play a major role in the number of patients who want to work with you.


  • Remember to include wheelchair ramps to accommodate patients who may be wheelchair bound. Some patients may have small children, so consider designating an area specifically for their entertainment. Provide them plenty of toys, books and a television.


  • Be sure to verify with a legal consultant the paperwork your patients should sign to address any liability for unexpected occurrences, such as unforeseen injuries. Certain waivers releasing you of responsibility for certain instances should be discussed with your counselor.


About the Author

Meka Jones, from Cherokee, Ala., began writing in 2009. She is a faculty member at Shelton State Community College and has written for "Shoals Woman Magazine" and various online publications. Jones is pursuing a Ph.D. in exercise physiology at the University of Alabama and holds Master of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in physical education from the University of North Alabama.

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