Your Burning Questions About Private Pay In Private Practice (2/2)

Today is the second of our two-part blog series on way the pros and cons of insurance and private pay in private practice. With the focus on private pay today.

Are you feeling the stress about whether or not to take insurance or just do private pay?

Do you feel like you just don’t really understand either process enough to make an educated decision?

This is the first of our two-part blog series covering the pros and cons of taking insurance or doing private pay.

This is the second of our two-part blog series, this blog will be all the pros and cons of doing private pay.

If you missed the first blog on all the pros and cons of taking insurance we have that linked right here for you.

Deciding if you want to only take private pay or not can be very stressful.

We already covered all the pros and cons of taking insurance for you in our first blog of this series. Today I’m going to give you the same for private pay.

You should dig into what you are expecting out of your private practice and what you enjoy most.

If you like the idea of constantly creating new content for a blog, networking, and heavy marketing then taking private pay is probably the best route for you.


Let’s dig into the pros of taking private pay in private practice.

Private pay Practice

The biggest and first advantage of private pay is you get paid right away.

With insurance, you have up to a 60-day wait to see them pay for your work.


The next pro is there is way less paperwork in private pay.

You aren’t having to fill out all the paperwork for every insurance claim, giving you way less to keep track of.

Our third pro you have way less of a chance of an audit.

An IRS audit is always a possibility, but without the insurance company, you have no risk of an audit from them if you aren’t using them in the first place. This can take a lot of stress off of your plate.

The next pro is you can niche down,

which is huge for therapists because it means that you get to control what type of client you see. With insurance, they send you whoever, and even if it isn’t a great fit, you still have to see them.

We linked our blog about niching down in right here if that is something you missed.

When you decide to do private pay,  you set your rate.

That means the payment you will be receiving for your work will be significantly higher than the way you would receive via the insurance company because they’ll determine a rate for you, then only pay you a portion of that rate.

With your pay rate being much higher, you are able to set a rate where you won’t be overworking yourself, and may even be able to have days off!

private pay practice

Since you will be able to set your rate at something that is suitable for your lifestyle, you have the freedom of a smaller caseload.

This can be really beneficial when it comes to burnout prevention. You also can invest that extra time into other projects you may be doing or back into your business.

The next benefit is the ability to not diagnose a client to ensure they can receive therapy without the worries of claims becoming denied and you not receiving payment.

Since your clients are paying for your services out of their own cash they tend to be a lot more dedicated to the process.

Now, I’m not saying all clients who use insurance don’t care about their healing, you just tend to have a larger number of clients who are much more invested in their healing when they pay for your rates out of pocket.

Now that we’ve highlighted all the reasons you should use private pay, let’s dip into the cons.


First, you have to do all your own marketing.

Now, if you like to market this may not be a con for you, but they didn’t give you any marketing classes in school, so a lot of therapists feel intimidated by this.

Through marketing, you have to prove your own worth to potential clients.

Since you won’t be on insurance panels and have to cover your own marketing,

your growth in private practice will probably be much slower,

especially when you’re first starting out. It could possibly take you up to a year to make your practice full time.

Next, since you are handling all your own marketing, you will be in charge of creating your brand.

Which can seem very overwhelming if you don’t even know what the first step of what you should be doing.

In order for you to build your brand, you have to know what your niche is.

Some therapists like the idea of leaving their field open, but this can be frustrating, as you’ll be seeing a variety of clients, and trying to network and market yourself in an even more competitive arena.

Consider also, when the economy takes a downturn,

when accepting private pay, you’ll be affected by that. When people are feeling the urge to save, they tend to cut back on their spending, which is a lot of situations mean they’ll choose to pause therapy.

The level of frequency that occurs when a client is paying out of pocket tends to be more on the biweekly scale.

When this is the case, you see a lot of slower healing progress, which can be frustrating for the client as well as you. They may even be inclined to think that the therapy isn’t working for them.

private pay practice

 Lower-income clients most likely can not afford to pay your fees out of pocket. If that is the ideal client you are wanting to work with, private pay may be preventative for them.

Considering the pros and cons of accepting insurance vs. private pay is one of the first and most pivotal decisions any therapist or counselor will need to make, and as you can see, each carries many of their own pros and cons.

If you do choose to allow private pay, you can look into the option of using superbills

for clients who have insurance who would like to see you, even if you’re not a provider of their insurance.

They differ with each insurance but allow clients to pay for your services out of pocket, at your rate. This puts the weight of dealing with the insurance company in the client’s hands.

If you want to take private pay in private practice we recommend you take the transition slowly even accepting insurance at first to keep the doors open then slowly move over to private pay as your marketing efforts build up your practice.

We also strongly recommend taking a business marketing course if you plan on tackling your own. This can be extremely helpful when you are first starting out.

We made a blog to give you a few tips on how to market in private practice.

We have it linked here.

Also, check out our YouTube Channel that is filled with tips and tricks to market and grow your private practice. 

That is linked right here. 

Leave us comments on how much this video helped you weigh the pros and cons of accepting private pay.

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