So this is it.
The biggest challenge facing the Physio profession right now. For how long have we had this challenge? At least as long as I have been in practice – 15 years.
How do I know? Because I asked you. Not all of you, but from the conversations in the Ultimate Physio facebook group at least 100 of you have told me that you have issues finding, and retaining, good physios.
Now the quickest way to accelerate your business is (no, not a fancy email campaign) finding a star team member, and the best way to put a ball and chain around your business growth wise, is hiring a dud. The problem is you never really know who is who when you hire them. Have you ever faked your way through an interview process only to find you have the job? Well guess what? Your applicants are doing it to you and you don’t even know it!
Sorry, I got distracted. Back to the point.
The biggest challenge for physio private practice clinic owners right now is this:
FINDING GOOD PHYSIOS
As I write this, here in Australia, there are 6600 physio private practices. In 2012 there were around 4400 (source:APA).
This is 50% growth in the number of private practices in 6 years. There aren’t many industries where the sheer number of businesses has increased by 50% in the past 6 years. That kind of growth is staggering.
A growth related challenge?
We all need staff. Good physios who know how private practice works (ie don’t discharge patients after 1 or 2 consults), don’t give you grief as the boss, buy into your team, culture and what you are building, and don’t have any major hangups about being in a business where they are ultimately results driven – don’t treat people well and don’t help them get better and they don’t come back!
Many of us have hired a physio in the past that doesn’t fulfill one, or many of the criteria in the above paragraph.
Want to know the worst feeling I have ever had as a physio clinic owner?
A good physio leaves.
I have to hire someone else.
I then go through a hiring process. I don’t get many applicants.
Of the one(s) I get, I know in my heart they are not suitable. But I have to hire someone anyway, or the caseload will dry up, or worse still I will have to up my clinic hours to service the caseload (after all, I am the best physio in my clinic and all of the regulars still want to see me! Sorry, it had to be said).
So how do we solve the problem?
Are good physios hard to find, or have we just convinced themselves that they are?
A bit of both.
At the moment, with the above growth rate in private practices, there really aren’t that many good people floating around, unless you are prepared to pay overs for them.
My lovely wife is a Lawyer. When the average law firm hires young staff they squeeze every last drop out of them – long hours, poor remuneration, and diabolical conditions. And the young lawyer comes back for more! When they finally can’t give any more they quit – and there are literally 100 job applicants salivating to take their place. The cycle continues again. Many businesses really don’t have to look after their people, as their people really are indispensable, and in such abundance that there is no great incentive for them to look after their people.
Our profession is the opposite. In the world of physio private practice you live and die by the people you hire and train. We operate in a low margin business. In the law firms if a graduate earns $80k they are happy. They are billed out at $200 – $300 an hour, and must bill at least 6 hours a day. Let’s be conservative, 6 hours a day x $200/hr = $1200 a day. This is $6k a week (super conservative bill out rate mind you). The young lawyer brings in $300k per year for the business, and takes home $80k. You just can’t get those types of numbers out of a junior physio in private practice.
When you have high turnover of staff, or the wrong people in your business, it can bring you down. Periods of my business life (the darkest year for me was 2015) when I had both – high staff turnover AND the wrong people – it almost sent my business under – and I had been operating for 11 years at this time! One bad year, and you’re done. When you have the wrong people, the best people can choose to jump ship as they are brought down on a daily basis by the wrong people.
So how do we solve these issues?
This blog post is just the first of many. I will be shooting some live videos which you can watch on the Ultimate Physio facebook page over the coming days, and I will send you an email with a link to them shortly.
Let’s solve our profession’s biggest collective challenge.
Are good Physios hard to find? They are if you don’t know how. I will teach you how to find them.