Gaining a private pay client has a number of benefits. Creating a caseload of private pay clients may allow you to skip the ordeal of paneling with insurance companies, which can be a convoluted and lengthy process. Additionally, having private pay clients can be significantly more lucrative. This is because private pay rates are often higher than the reimbursement rates given by insurance. Private Pay clients often get to be more selective in their choice of provider. There are concrete ways as a provider you can stand out and be appealing to this demographic.
Find Your Niche
We must acknowledge that private pay clients are paying out of pocket often at a significant personal financial cost. It is essential you are able to demonstrate your professional worth from the outset. Developing a clinical specialty is one of the quickest ways to develop your brand. A niche can take many forms including the type of therapy you provide, such as, EMDR, CBT, IFS, and any other specialized protocol. Your niche can also be narrowed down by clinical diagnosis and clinical population. Do you specialize in mothers experiencing postpartum depression, adolescents with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or any other specific clinical concern or population? Having a niche sets you apart as an expert and has clients willing to pay extra in order to gain your specialized services.
Be an Expert in the Field
Once you have developed your niche, you can then begin to do the important work of demonstrating your expertise to peers. A place to begin is by joining professional organizations associated with your niche in order to network and be listed in directories. Attending and presenting at professional conferences is an impressive way to increase visibility in the field. Much of this comes down to the importance of networking with other specialized professionals who can refer private pay clients to your practice.
You can be an incredibly effective and specialized practitioner and still have an empty caseload if no one knows about you or how to contact you. Advertise! With more options than ever in online directories and advertising, there are a number of ways to make your information available to prospective private pay clients. Psychology Today is one of the major advertising players in the mental health realm. Building a psychology today profile that attracts your ideal private pay client can be an incredibly impactful way to advertise. Be sure to specify you are accepting private pay clients.
Create a Internet Presence
In this day and age having a web presence is essential to brand development. When potential private pay clients are deciding whom to invest their money in, they will likely want as much information as possible on you as a provider. Having a professional website is a way to streamline information about you and your practice all in one place. A well-crafted website can be a place to showcase your skills, increase your chances of being accessed through search engines, and demonstrate the professional nature of your practice. This can be an intimidating undertaking for many of us who have little or no training in website design, search engine optimization, or domain buying. Fortunately, Daniel Carlat MD has created an article outlining key steps in Managing Your Online Presence.
Attracting sought-after private pay clients often entails increasing flexibility and options in your practice. Some private pay clients may desire a shorter time horizon for therapy, as paying out-of-pocket prices indefinitely may not be financially feasible. Identifying if you are able to provide short-term targeted therapy can attract these types of clients.
Flexibility can also come in the form of session time availability. Having certain nontraditional slots open (AKA evenings and weekends) allows for private pay working professionals to utilize your services when they are not in the office.
Another way to attract private pay clientele is by offering both in-person and virtual sessions. While preference between in-person to virtual can vary by person, having both options allows a broader swath of private pay clients to utilize a method that works best for them.