There are many perks of being in private practice but one of the downsides might be administrative work.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from therapists and counsellors in private practice is how frustrating it is when clients don’t pay on time, leaving them with hundreds (or even thousands!) of dollars in outstanding payments.
Feeling like you have to “chase after a client” for one or more missed payments is no fun for anyone.
Here are a few tips to avoid outstanding payments and that dreaded feeling of having to follow up with a client for not paying!
Require Payment in Advance
Implement a policy in your practice that all payments are due at the beginning of the session (or prior to). Some therapists I know require payment no later than the end of the session and if that works for you, great!
The bottom line is that if your policies permit clients to have their session and then leave your office without paying, then you are setting yourself up to have an issue with outstanding payments. Most likely, you will experience the frustration of having to “chase down” the money owed to you.
Keep a Credit Card on File
Have your clients sign a credit card authorization form that permits you to keep their credit card details securely on file.
You can either set up your practice so that this is your standard method of payment, in that you are responsible for charging the client on the day of the session. Or, you can request their permission to charge the card on their behalf if payment isn’t receive at, or prior to, the session.
Pause Sessions Until Payment is Received
If a client has outstanding payments, this is not necessarily a reason to terminate therapy. However, you can “pause” their sessions until payment is received in full.
Set Healthy Boundaries
For those of us that get squirmy around issues related to money, are you aware of where a clients’ issues with money and finances end … and where yours begin?
Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the client at all … but with us!
If you struggle to set and enforce clear policies around money, you notice that you avoid conversations with your clients related to problems with payment, or you find yourself making exceptions and then feeling frustrated and resentful, this says less about your client and more about you!
Considering tapping into your support systems, whether that’s your therapist, a business coach, or a trusted confidante who can set you on the straight and narrow when it comes to enforcing policies and engaging in good business practices!
Having clear policies around money and finances, enforcing them consistently, and keeping on top of administrative practices related to your business will help create the kind of ease, flow, and abundance that you dreamed private practice would be!
As always, if you need additional support, feel free to book a free 20-minute Business Mentorship Consult with me!