Transitioning from insurance panels into private pay comes with a lot of emotions. I’ve heard from therapists about the fear, the anxiety, and the lack of self-belief… But also, about the elation, excitement and enthusiasm when they think about switching over.
Once you decide to transition more and more of your caseload to private pay, cash-only clients, you’ll go through a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s okay and only shows that you’re human.
This blog post is about how you can get more private pay therapy clients. I’ll talk about a few strategies and wrap up with final thoughts.
Set a Realistic Goal for Getting Private Pay Clients (then Baby Step Towards it)
Set a Goal for Getting Private Pay Therapy Clients (then baby step towards it)
You’ve got to know where you’re at and where you want to go before you can get there. So, the first order of business for getting more private pay therapy clients, is to determine what percentage of your caseload is private pay.
Is it 0%, 20%, 60%?
Whatever it is, that’s okay.
Once you know where you’re at, decide where you want to go.
Do you want to get off all your insurance panels? 100% private pay can be a reality for you if you work towards it.
Once you decide what your goal is for private pay, the rest becomes easier. The remaining steps in this blog, how to get more private pay therapy clients, will help you baby-step your way into your dream practice.
Sell Yourself to Private Pay Clients Based on Your Expertise
Sell Yourself to Clients Based on Expertise, not Price
The days of the generalist are over. People no longer want a general therapist who can help them with general problems. They have SPECIFIC challenges that they need help with.
Whether it’s depression, anger, childhood trauma, sexual abuse, you name it, they want a specialist to come and help them with their challenges.
So, think about what sets you apart from other therapists.
Start with your qualifications. Are you an LMFT, LCSW, addiction specialist or other?
Did you do extra CE hours studying women’s challenges? Or LGBT challenges? What about family systems?
Who do you look up to in your practice? Peter Levine? Dick Schwartz? Gabor Mate? And have you done or will you do any special training with them?
Whatever you are qualified to do, and any unique approaches you use in your practice can be leveraged to set you apart from your competition. And when you stand out, you’ll be able to attract more attention. This is a prerequisite for step 3.
Use Your Website and Blog to Attract More Private Pay Therapy Clients
This is a must-have, as it will allow future clients to find you and reach out. Once you set it up, it becomes a passive stream for incoming clients, parked for free (or at least cheap) for the rest of time on the internet. But there’s a right way to do it.
The hard way is to do it yourself. Not only does this take time and energy from you… but if you’re not experienced in persuasive writing, your website could backfire.
You see, there’s an art to getting people hooked on your every word. It mostly has to do with speaking to their emotions and easing their pain points. But trust me, there’s a lot more to it.
The easy way is to hire a mental health copywriter to write your website for you. A mental health copywriter is great, because they understand the mental health field and can write about it, yet they aren’t too deep in it to lose their common touch.
A great mental health copywriter can speak to your prospect’s heart and clinch the sale for you – even if the “sale” is just an email sign-up.
With persuasive mental health copywriting for your website, many people who find you will convert to paying clients.
Notes on Mental Health Blogging
Once your mental health copywriter writes your website to highlight your specialties, and how you get your clients relief and insight, it’s time to move onto writing blogs.
Blogs with highly research SEO “Keywords” will help your site gain reach and influence.
Let’s imagine that you specialize in depression treatment for men in their late 20s. A great way to reach that audience would be to do several blogs with keywords such as “mental health male late 20s,” “man depression 25-34,” and “how to cure depression man in 20s”.
These blogs would be found by and speak directly to your target audience. When you help your clients out, they’ll reward you by booking your services and buying your products.
Only Advertise Your Full Rate to New Clients
You don’t want to be known as the cheap therapist.
It could easily happen if you’re not vigilant. A few sliding scale fee clients who refer more sliding scale fee clients could avalanche into a caseload of clients who can only afford half of your rate.
Avoid this fate by only advertising your full rate.
If a client asks, or if money seems to be an issue for them, then it’s okay to discuss sliding scale. Don’t lead with sliding scale. It’s only human nature to try to get a discount where you can.
Should you post your rate on your website? I believe if you’re serious about getting more private pay therapy clients, the answer is yes.
And while we’re at it – make transitioning into private pay worth it for you. Add $15-20 to every new private pay client you get. You don’t want to leave insurance panels behind only to make the same amount of money.
Rearrange Your Schedule to Fit New Private Pay Therapy Clients
A good chunk of clients who can afford private pay are able to do so because they have careers with high responsibility. As such, they can’t leave work for a few hours during the workday to drive to your office and get therapy.
If your clients fit this bill or if you suspect they might, consider opening your practice on either Saturday or Sunday. That will allow more clients who can afford private pay to attend sessions with you.
Plus, moving one of your days off to the week can give you time to run errands that you otherwise couldn’t on the weekend. I’m talking about things like stopping by the post office, beating the crowd at the grocery store, showing up at your child or nephew’s school for art class, and more.
Another option is to open earlier or later. Any time from 8am – 9pm could help you fit more private pay therapy clients.
You might find that rearranging your schedule reinvigorates you by breaking your weekly routine.
Write a Book to Reach More Private Pay Therapy Clients
Writing a book is a great way to get new clients vying for your attention.
Think about all the times you’ve finished a book and wanted to reach out to or work with the author. You’re not the only one!
A book, even if it isn’t a bestseller, can put you on the map and bring in waves of new clients willing to pay cash-only. This is how to get new private pay therapy clients fast.
The boost to your reputation and credibility will attract only clients who are capable and willing to pay your full fee. Plus, getting your first book out and into the world can be a big confidence booster for you.
This article touched on 6 ways to get private pay therapy clients. I want to remind you to baby step your efforts. Not only to avoid burnout, but to avoid getting your hopes up only to later become discouraged.
Attracting a practice with private pay clients IS possible – but aim to achieve it in a sustainable way, perhaps over 6-12 months of time.
Take it slow, work on it day by day, and you’ll get there soon enough.
P.S. If you’ve made it this far, odds are you serious about getting new private pay therapy clients. Let me help you accomplish your goals when you outsource your writing needs to me. And if you’re not sure what you need, I can help with that too.
Use this contact form to send me a message about what you’re working on. I offer free site audits.