Dr. Rachel Needle on Buying an Office Building and Running a Group Practice | GP 29

Dr. Rachel Needle on Buying an Office Building and Running a Group Practice | GP 29

What changes should you make as your practice expands? How can you go about hiring more staff and delegating? What should you consider when buying an office building?

In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon gets some tips from Dr. Rachel Needle about starting and running a group private practice, including the process of buying commercial property.

Meet Dr. Rachel Needle

Dr. Rachel Needle is a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Sex Therapist. She is in private practice, runs a group psychotherapy practice (Whole Health Psychological Center), and has a continuing education provider company with which she provides CEs and certifications to medical and mental health professionals around the world (Advanced Mental Health Training Institute and Modern Sex Therapy Institutes) as well as provides a Ph.D.in Clinical Sexology.

Dr. Needle is a consultant for businesses and Substance Use Disorder treatment centers. She is often interviewed by and quoted in national media outlets. She is Co-Owner of My Private Practice Collective, which provides support and practice building trainings and courses for therapists.

Visit her websites: My Private Practice Collective, Whole Health Psychological Center, and Modern Sex Therapy Institutes.

Get in touch via email at drrachelneedle@gmail.com or call her at 561-379-7207

In This Podcast


  • How and why Rachel started her group practice
  • Making changes as the practice grew
  • Common mistakes that group practice owners make
  • Tips for hiring more staff and delegating
  • Buying an office building for an expanding practice
  • Financing a commercial property
  • Lessons Rachel has learned about buying an office building
  • Advice for a group practice owner looking to buy a building for their practice

How and why Rachel started her group practice

After graduate school, Rachel pursued her postdoctoral in private practice. She decided to go into business instead of pursuing a traditional postdoc as she had dreams of opening her own group practice, for a few reasons:

  • She wanted to create a space where everyone’s needs could be met under one roof. While in her master’s program and supervising other students, she noticed that it was often inconvenient for a whole family, for example, to go to therapy as each member needed to go to a different place for their specific type of therapy (child, adult individual, couple, family, etc.)
  • She wanted to make sure that no one would be turned away based on their inability to afford therapy, and that they could still receive excellent treatment.
  • She wanted to create a business that was successful and would give back to her community.
    Rachel opened her group practice, Whole Health Psychological Center, in 2010 which now has 10 clinicians and some part-time staff. The latter allows for her practice to offer a range of specialties from almost every area of psychology.

Making changes as the practice grew

When Rachel first started out, she wanted to start her business right from the bottom and let it grow organically, so she didn’t take out a loan to get the ball rolling. The practice began as two offices in an executive suite, and Rachel was managing everything herself. As the practice grew, she took on two clinicians and the business just kept growing. She realized that she needed to make some changes so that she could fill more of a CEO role in the business. About a year after starting the practice, she hired an assistant to take on some of the admin tasks. This was quite a challenge as she needed to determine whether or not it would actually be worth it, and she was also struggling to let go of some of the reigns and stop micromanaging everything. Rachel started by creating electronic records and delegating the scheduling of appointments to this first assistant as a test-run. She then got her to handle the finances via QuickBooks, and gradually gave her more and more responsibilities. Rachel came to realize the benefits of having an assistant, and now she strongly recommends that you hire one for your practice and for your other businesses in general.

Common mistakes that group practice owners make

  1. Not putting systems and processes in place
  2. Being scared to spend money

Tips for hiring more staff and delegating

  • Consider the financial aspect of taking on more staff and do not commit to spending money that you don’t/won’t have.
  • Focus on hiring someone who has some of the necessary training already but also is willing to be trained in how you like things to be run. For this, set up something like a Policies and Procedures manual that you can go over with them when they start and for them to refer back to when needed.
  • Make sure that hire someone who is trustworthy and honest, as this will make it easier for you to delegate and it will give you some much-needed peace of mind for you to focus on your own responsibilities and patients.

Buying an office building for an expanding practice

Although it may seem scary to spend a lot of money buying property and then keeping up with mortgages, Rachel has saved a lot of money because, in her experience, the mortgage and maintenance payments are actually less than the rent she had been paying before. Another benefit of buying property is that you then have the option of renting out some of your offices to other people, thereby creating another moneymaking opportunity.

Financing a commercial property

When Rachel found a property that she wanted to buy, she first did some research and spoke to people in the business with whom she felt comfortable so that she could learn about the available financing options. She had an option for someone in private finance, an investor of sorts, who was willing to lend her the money, but she decided to take out a bank loan similar to a mortgage on residential property.

Lessons Rachel has learned about buying an office building

  • Be prepared for lots of questions from the bank
  • Find the right contractor for renovations
  • Create a company first

Advice for a group practice owner looking to buy a building for their practice

  • Do comparisons
  • Look at the resale value
  • Pay attention to the accessibility and location of your practice
  • If you can do it, do it!

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Meet Alison Pidgeon

Alison Pidgeon | Grow A Group Practice PodcastAlison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.

Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

You’re listening to the Grow a Group Practice podcast. Whether you’re thinking of starting a group practice, or in the beginning stages of a group practice, or want to learn how to scale up your already existing group practice, we have lots of great content for you.

Hi, and welcome to the Grow a Group Practice podcast. I’m Alison Pidgeon, your host. Today we have an exciting guest for you – Dr. Rachel Needle – but before I introduce her, I just wanted to kind of give you an update on where things are here. So summer is winding down and people are getting ready to send their kids back to school, us included. We decided our kids are going to be I guess homeschooled, but maybe that’s not the right word. They’re going to do online schooling because of COVID, even though their school is opening, we’ve made that choice for our family. So we realized recently, my husband and I, that we are essentially location independent. He works from home now 100% of the time, and so do I, and the kids are going to do online school. So we realized that we really could be anywhere and go anywhere, obviously, still taking some precautions. But that got my wheels turning about maybe taking working vacations, like going to the beach, which is only about three hours from our house, and working and hanging out there for a week or two. So if I do that, I’ll definitely let you know. And I’ll let you know if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Right now it sounds great but we’ll see when we actually do it.

And I wanted to tell you about something else exciting that we’re working on. So some of you might know I own a virtual assistant company called Move Forward Virtual Assistants and this is October, we are hosting a virtual summit. It is specifically for mental health private practice owners. And over four days, we’re going to be talking about different areas where you can really scale up your practice. And there are lots of cool people who are going to be presenting. If you want to figure out how to save time and really maximize different tools and services so that your practice can run really efficiently, and you can kind of scale back on your time while not scaling back on the amount of money you’re making, definitely consider checking it out. It is going to be October 20th through the 23rd. It’s going to be from 1pm to 4pm Eastern Time. And if you’re interested in that, definitely go to our page, it’s www.moveforwardvirtualassistants.com/scaleup and you can get yourself on the email list so that way, when registration comes out, you’ll be the first one to know; it is totally free. And like I said, there’s lots of great speakers including myself. Green Oak Accounting might be there, other virtual assisting companies might be there, business consultants, lots of really great experts. So definitely check that out. Again, it’s moveforwardvirtualassistants.com/scaleup.

I want to introduce to you today our guest who is Dr. Rachel Needle. She’s a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. She’s in private practice, runs a group psychotherapy practice called the Whole Health Psychological Center, and has a continuing education provider company, where she provides CE and certifications to medical and mental health professionals around the world, which is called Advanced Mental Health Training Institute and Modern Sex Therapy Institutes, as well as provides a PhD in clinical sexology. Dr. Needle is a consultant for businesses and substance use disorder treatment centers. She’s often interviewed by and quoted in national media outlets. She is the co-owner of My Private Practice Collective which provides support and practice building trainings and courses for therapists. So I’m so excited that she’s going to be on the podcast today. Definitely a woman after my own heart of wanting to run multiple businesses at once, and we have a great conversation for you today about how she bought her building for her practice and also, some tips she has about running a group practice.

Dr. Rachel Needle, welcome to the podcast.

Thank you for having me. [ALISON]:
Yeah, I’m really excited to talk with you today. There’s kind of two different topics that I was hoping we could cover today. One is talking, obviously, about your group practice and how you scaled it up, because I understand it’s quite large. And then the other topic that I was hoping we could cover is talking about the commercial property that you bought for your practice, so if it’s okay with you that we could just dive right in, and you could tell me about how and why I guess you started your group practice. [RACHEL]:
Sure. So right after graduate school when I graduated, I started as a postdoc in a private practice because I knew that I wanted to go into private practice. I wanted to go into business. So I, you know, didn’t want to do a traditional postdoc no matter what that meant financially, or finishing my hours. And so as soon as I finished that, I decided I wanted to open a group practice and it came for a couple different reasons. So the first was I was supervising students at the time myself in a master’s program, and I was going to their sites, and I realized how inconvenient and difficult it was for families to have to go one place for one child, another place for the other child, one place for the couple, then another place for the family. And I thought, how hard is this for people and I wish they could get all of their needs met under one roof. And the second thing is I saw how difficult it was for people to afford therapy. Some people can and some people can’t, and I wanted a place that would never turn anybody away based on inability to pay or that had excellent therapists who were willing to also slide their fee; that was really important to me. So and then the third reason was, of course, a business. So I had to figure out a way to tie all of these together to create a successful business that also really was something that gave back to our community, and locally, and across the state. So that all was very important to me. And that’s why I started it initially. [ALISON]:
Yeah, that’s awesome. And what year did you start it? [RACHEL]:
2009. [ALISON]:
Okay, so it’s been over 10 years. 11 years. [RACHEL]:
Yeah. [ALISON]:
Great. And what is the size of the practice today? How many clinicians do you have? [RACHEL]:
I have 10 clinicians and then I have some people that do part time work, or per diem. So when certain things that… it’s important to me to have a range of specialties because I’d like, regardless of specialty, for people to be able to get help at Whole Health Psychological Center, which is my practice. So there are some people that are not full time as we don’t need them. But when a client gets referred, or a certain [unclear] case that someone isn’t full time, I have contractors that are able to do that. [ALISON]:
Oh, nice. So then that’s how you’re able to kind of serve all of those different populations because you have all those different providers who have different specializations. [RACHEL]:
Yes. So we have specialists in almost every area of psychology I would say, in my practice. [ALISON]:
Oh, nice. So what’s the best thing about running the group practice? [RACHEL]:
I mean, I enjoy being able to give back and help people. I love running the business part of it and sort of learning by trial and error, which is what I did at the beginning. And I really, really love the people that I work with. I have some incredible clinicians who some of them came to me as great clinicians, some of them came to me straight from school, and I was able to supervise them and learn from them and they learn from me and that’s probably, that relationship component, is something that’s important to me and something that I thrive on. [ALISON]:
Oh, yeah, that’s like so gratifying when you know your staff is doing really good work in the community and you hear feedback from random people that you run into, oh, I see so-and-so at your practice, and they helped me so much. And like, that’s such an amazing feeling as a group practice owner. [RACHEL]:
It’s so great. And when people ask me for referrals, obviously, I always give three different options at least. And if there’s more than one in my practice, I’ll give a couple more. But, you know, people assume that I’m referring to my practice, because I make money then. But and yes, obviously I do. But the truth is, is that I refer to people that I know are good. And so depending on what they’re coming in for, like, this is somebody that I have or would send my own family to. [ALISON]:
Definitely. Yeah. So obviously, your group practice is on the larger size – do you remember a certain point at which it felt like it was sort of like the tipping point, like you started to have to do things differently when you got to a certain number of therapists? [RACHEL]:
Absolutely. And I started off… I didn’t have to take out a loan, I didn’t need a lot of money put away to start the practice. And that was my goal. I wanted to start this and grow organically and in a way that felt comfortable for me without, you know, I had student loans, right? I didn’t want to take out more money. So I started an executive suite with two offices, and then just slowly grew. And when I started, I didn’t have a whole lot of processes in place, I was kind of doing everything myself. And then at some point, once I had two clinicians and started really growing all of our case loads quite nicely, it was like, okay, I need to do something a little bit differently. It’s becoming harder to track the money. It’s becoming harder to make all the appointments, do all the records myself, keep track of everything that needs to be done, and that’s when I hired my first assistant. I would say it was about a year or so, a year and a half after I started. And you know, that’s a difficult thing to do because you’re thinking about paying somebody a salary, this full salary, and will it be worth it? Do I… let’s be honest, I’m a little controlling. I like to micromanage, so will I be able to give up some of that? And it turned out to be a great relationship. My first assistant is actually one of my closest friends now, she no longer works with me. But we learned together and it was really important for me to have that. And since then I have several assistants and with the practice and with, you know, other businesses and that’s something that I think if you get to the point where you can, it can be incredibly helpful. [ALISON]:
Yeah, so it sounds like you just realized that you were like drowning in administrative work at that point, and you probably should have gotten an assistant earlier than when you did which is what we find with most practice owners. [RACHEL]:
Yeah. And there were things I was good at and things I was less good at, and so for me, it’s an important balance to be able to hand off the things that I don’t enjoy as much and that I’m not as good at. [ALISON]:
What was one of the first things you gave to the assistant to do? [RACHEL]:
Scheduling the appointments and creating the electronic medical records. I figured that was a good place to start to see if she could manage that. And then I started giving her more, so she started managing the money that came in, keeping track, and doing the QuickBooks and all the books on it, and slowly just started giving her more. [ALISON]:
Yeah, did you get to a point over the past 11 years where you realized you sort of needed to step into more of that like, CEO, big vision type role in the practice? [RACHEL]:
Yeah, I think I was always there. I always am thinking big, and what’s next, and what can I do differently, and how can I scale up, and grow this, and make more money? So I really enjoy that part of it. And I think that I’ve sort of, even while managing the details of the practice, I was still in that role as well. And that’s why it became a little overwhelming. I knew I needed to hire someone, but that’s the fun part for me. [ALISON]:
Yeah, so that was kind of always a natural fit for you to think that way and take time to do those CEO type tasks. [RACHEL]:
Yes, absolutely. [ALISON]:
Yeah, I think that’s hard for a lot of people to really embrace that, because they’re just so used to being a clinician, it’s hard for them to sort of step away from that or scale back on that. And then, you know, think about oh, I need to run the business and not like answer the phone, but be the big picture person. [RACHEL]:
And I think a lot of people aren’t sure how to do that, you know, we didn’t learn this in graduate school. So some people naturally… both of my parents owned businesses, so I definitely learned a lot watching them as I grew up, and that was helpful. But for a lot of people it’s a process because, you know, running businesses and managing staff and doing all this is nothing that as a clinician you thought you’d be doing. So I [unclear]. [ALISON]:
Yeah, yeah. Do you have any other structure in place now, where some of the therapists maybe have some other responsibilities, or leadership positions? Because I know you have a lot of other things going on, so I wonder if you’ve had to structure the business that way just because you – I know you’re running other businesses and you have other other things that you’re spending your time on. So what does that look like? [RACHEL]:
Yeah, that’s an interesting question. So, no, I have people that I hire specifically for different tasks than managing the office and different parts of it. At one point, I thought about giving more… you know, I had a therapist, or actually two, express some interest in that. I think it’s just sometimes a hard thing to navigate. Again, we didn’t learn about business in school and so when you start out a business, especially in group practice, any business really, you can’t look at things as I work this many hours, I made this much money, right? It just doesn’t… you know, if I did that, then at first I probably made $5 an hour, you know? So because it just doesn’t work out you have to put in more at the beginning and then it pays off, and it certainly did. So I think that not all therapists are able to have that vision. And so it makes it difficult to sometimes include some of the people that are working as therapists in the office also as business sort of partners, or managers. So I decided early in to not go in that direction and I think for me, it was the best way to go. I also have a great relationship with all my clinicians and I think it changes the relationship a little bit when you start kind of pulling them out of that therapist’s role. Certainly, if somebody had wanted to, I’d teach them. [ALISON]:
So my other question is I know you work a lot with other private practice owners helping them with their business. What’s a mistake that you often see group practice owners make? [RACHEL]:
So I think there’s two. One, not really putting in your systems and processes, right? You need to have some systems in place for how you’re going to run things. And I think for some is that, you know, being scared to spend money. And I think that… I was in that place I think, at the beginning, so I get it, but as I learned, you do have to spend money sometimes to make money. And don’t be afraid to do that, at the rate that you can. That’s something that people are scared of I think sometimes. [ALISON]:
Yes, I’m so glad you brought that up, because I feel like that’s such a hard thing for practice owners to wrap their mind around, how they’re… even with hiring an assistant. I’ve done the math on hiring an assistant and they not only pay their own salary by keeping everybody’s schedules full and making sure claims are getting paid and all of that kind of stuff, but they also make even more money for their practice because they are dedicated to making sure, again, schedules are full, money’s getting collected, all of that kind of stuff. So I think that’s such a tough thing for people to wrap their mind around, but then they don’t realize they’re keeping themselves stuck, and they’re just hitting this really hard ceiling because they’re afraid to spend money. So yeah, I’m really glad you brought that up, because I feel like I have that conversation a lot with people. [RACHEL]:
I do as well. And I think that people are scared to do it, and I get it because I was as well. I mean, I had to be pushed I think by my mother at some point to hire someone. She’s like, this is crazy. Your time and money is better spent elsewhere. And ever since I did that, the very first time I hired someone, I realized how very right she was. I mean, as soon as my assistant started taking over some of these tasks, I was able to even grow the practice more. Not only that, but she got referrals. So I think it’s a win-win; you just have to know how to manage employees and where to, a lot, get them to organize their day. [ALISON]:
Right, exactly. I’m curious, because I know we talked about you have other businesses and other projects that you work on – how much time do you actually spend working in the practice? And what advice do you have to other practice owners who might be struggling with delegating tasks in their practice? [RACHEL]:
Sure. And it varies each week for sure, depending on what’s going on. But at this point, not a whole lot. So I still see some clients because that’s important to me. I love my clinical work. But for the most part, I have my full time assistant handling a lot of the processes and operations. So I still talk to certain clients at times, I still work with her, but I don’t spend nearly as much time as I used to. So I would say depending on the week, sometimes 10 hours, sometimes less even. [ALISON]:
Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s really just a testament to being really good at delegating. And recognizing, like you said, your time is probably better spent elsewhere besides doing all the little nitty gritty, day to day of running the practice. [RACHEL]:
I’d rather grow it and like I said, it took me a while to learn that; I didn’t learn that overnight. And once I did, I didn’t look back because it just makes so much more sense to spend my time elsewhere and to allow her to help me. [ALISON]:
So what’s a really important thing that you learned through that whole process of delegating that you would give as advice to another practice owner? [RACHEL]:
So I think the first thing is, you know, I would start with who you hire. So, again, it’s easy to think about the financial part of it. And, obviously, you have to look at what you can spend, you can’t spend what you don’t make, obviously. But it’s worth it to hire someone who has a little bit more training already, but that who also is able to be trained. And so once you did, I think it’s important to spend time, have a Policies and Procedures Manual so that you can go over and review all the processes and how things run, because I know my assistant still goes back to it sometimes, in terms of like, it has different sections for each task that she’ll be doing in the office. And I think being organized in that way is important. Also a hard lesson that I learned, because I wasn’t always like that. So make sure that you trust the person that you hire, that you’re not hiring just the least expensive person that applies for the job, or the person asking the least, because that might… it may or may not go your way. And hire somebody that you can trust. I hired my most recent assistant, and the very first one, were people that I knew through different areas of my life and through different people in my life. So I knew that they were trustworthy. And so that felt really good for me because at one point, I had somebody who I didn’t feel that way. And there was a huge difference in operations and how I even felt being in the practice and I definitely spent much more time doing things because I had this feeling that it just wasn’t a good fit, and I couldn’t fully trust them. [ALISON]:
Yeah, I think that’s such a good point. Because when you have a really excellent assistant that you can trust, it’s just like that peace of mind that you get is incredible. As a practice owner, it just frees up your mind to focus on other things versus, like you said, you might be in the office always sort of getting that sinking feeling like oh, what are they doing? Are they you know, not being honest with me about X, Y, and Z or whatever? And it’s just such a different feeling, and it just allows you to really do your best work when you have somebody trustworthy, for sure. [RACHEL]:
Absolutely. And with the one, I mean, I lost a lot of money. And it was a big wake up call for me. [ALISON]:
Yeah. So just kind of shifting gears a little bit, I know that you bought your own commercial building. And I wanted to talk about that, because I think that something we don’t talk about enough as practice owners, what a great stream of income that can be. We’re always talking about passive income, like, should we create an eCourse? Should we do this? Should we do that? And it’s like, buying a building doesn’t ever come up in that conversation. Yeah, so I was just curious, like, at what point in your group practice did you start thinking about buying your own building, or how did you get interested in that? [RACHEL]:
Yes. So as I mentioned, I started off in an executive suite and went from, you know, two offices to three, four. And then I was like, okay, it’s time for me to have my own space. So I knew the area that I wanted to be in. I eventually found this fantastic office, redid the whole thing, you know, I was renting it, spent all this money completely renovating it for somebody else eventually, and had a five year contract. It was going up every year and it was about to expire after five years, and I had a choice at that point. They were going to raise the rent again – I was, at that point, paying almost $7,000 a month. I thought this is pretty insane, so I started going a different direction and looking for space. And I definitely was a little bit lucky because my father and my brother own a very large real estate – mostly commercial – business, so I learned growing up a little bit about that and the benefits of owning property. And I thought, I’m ready to do this. And I’ll tell you that not only has it made me money, but it’s also… so, because you can rent out certain offices in it if it has more than you need. But it’s also saved me a lot of money because the amount that I pay in mortgage, and even in CAM, which is the maintenance fee is half, less than half, of what I paid in rent. [ALISON]:
Yeah. It’s amazing. So how big is the office building that you bought? [RACHEL]:
The first one I bought was only 1500 square feet. But it was a conference room and six offices, and had a break room, and we built a second bathroom in it. So, that to me was plenty, because we had at the time, you know, and I’ve since expanded. [ALISON]:
Yeah, that’s great. So, is that the only building you bought? Or did you buy another building? [RACHEL]:
Well, right now, I’ve rented a second building based on what I needed. It wasn’t available at the time, but I’m looking to buy a second space now. [ALISON]:
Oh, nice. Yeah. So if you don’t mind me asking, like, how did you end up doing the financing for the building? Like, did you take a mortgage from a bank, or how did that work out? Because that was the other piece of… I bought my own building in 2018 and when I started doing research into commercial real estate, it was really interesting to me how there’s lots of different ways to finance a commercial property as opposed to a residential property. So I’m always just curious how people worked that out. [RACHEL]:
Yeah, so I used a bank and I got a loan. It’s similar to a mortgage but it’s not considered a mortgage. And I shopped around, I talked to a lot of different people. I got referrals from my real estate attorney, and then I asked around for other people that were in the business and I found somebody that I felt comfortable working with, and decided to go with a bank. There are different options. At one point, I did have a private finance person offering to lend me the money, and I just decided that the bank was the best way to go. And I think it also depends on what you have and what you’re… because the truth is, is that as with a house, you need a certain amount to put down. So I needed 20% to put down. So if you don’t have cash, right, then it’s a lot harder to go the bank route. For me, it was $40,000. So if you’re not liquid in that way, then it’s going to be a lot harder to buy a space. [ALISON]:
Right, right. Is there anything that surprised you about buying the building, or the process? It sounds like you went through a renovation, I wasn’t sure if that was before you bought it or after you bought it, but that’s always a whole adventure, I feel like. [RACHEL]:
Oh, yeah. So first, I was shocked at how many questions the bank asked. [ALISON]:
Ooh. [RACHEL]:
It was crazy to read the questions that they were asking me. At one point, I’m like, is that really necessary? Like, you’re not even lending me that much money. But moving forward to the actual property, I think a couple things surprised me. One is, you know, you mentioned the renovations, like, how important it is to find the right contractor. Make sure that your vision is known, and I think that’s really important because the space is important, but what you do with the space is even more important. And I just think, again, the other thing that surprised me is how much money I’ve saved since doing that. One thing that’s important is, I didn’t buy it with… my group practice is called Whole Health Psychological Center. I did not buy it with Whole Health Psychological Center. The more effective and strategic business way to do it is you create a company, and that company purchases the building, and then the group practice pays that company rent. So I have a lease with my other company where we pay rent. [ALISON]:
Yeah, that’s how I have mine set up too. Yeah. And then eventually what’s great is that the practice will just keep paying the other holding company, a lot of times they call it, rent and then eventually, once you pay off the mortgage, that’s just like all income because your expenses after you’ve paid off your mortgage go down pretty dramatically. So yeah, so then it’s another stream of income, which is why I think it can be so advantageous. Because even with everything that’s happening with COVID now, I don’t think that brick and mortar counseling practices are ever going to totally go away. I think there’s going to be a lot more options to do telehealth, obviously, but I don’t think like, we’re never going to go back to the office. So I think, as therapists, we’re always going to need office. [RACHEL]:
For sure, I mean, and different clients are going to need that. I mean, we’ve been talking a lot, both with Amanda and My Private Practice Collective, and in consulting, we’ve been doing a lot of work with people wanting to build hybrid practices. And I think that’s what a lot of people are sort of moving towards, but there will always be that population of both therapists and clients that prefer to be in the office, or that really don’t have an option. Not everybody has internet, not everybody is tech savvy. There’s older people that want to come in and a lot of them are not able to do online therapy. [ALISON]:
Right, right. Yeah. So is there anything you would offer as advice for a group practice owner who maybe wants to purchase their own office building? Especially because I know you said your dad and your brother are kind of in the business, so maybe you have like the inside scoop on what people should think about, or what they should be asking about if they’re going to look for their own building to purchase. [RACHEL]:
So, you know, not all real real estate brokers will tell you this, but you definitely want to do comps; you want to look at what people are paying per square foot around you. And you also want to look at the resale value, because that’s one of the benefits is that eventually, like you said, you’re going to pay off your mortgage, you’re not only going to be saving a lot of money and making extra money. But in the end, you’re going to have something that belongs to you. Rather than paying somebody else rent every month, you’re paying yourself. So eventually, you want to be able to sell your building for a profit. So you want to look at what that looks like in the area that you’re going to be in. And just for the practice, you know, one of the things that was always important to me is, is it a building someone has to get an elevator? How accessible is it from the main road? How easy is it for people if they just want to come during their lunch break, to get in and out quickly? So those things were always important to me both when I was renting, and when I was buying. [ALISON]:
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Because the other thing too, that I was looking at when I bought my building was obviously location is everything, no matter where you’re buying real estate, or for what purpose. But the area that I ended up buying my building in was an area that was much more centrally located than my original office, which we had been renting. And I think a lot of people actually request that office now because they’re already used to going to that area of town to like, do their shopping or go to other appointments, or whatever, because that’s where all those other retail and service businesses are. So that’s another thing to think about too, like you were saying, how easily accessible is it if it’s way out in the boondocks or something you might not have as many people wanting to come all the way out there. [RACHEL]:
Absolutely. [ALISON]:
Yeah, I hear your doggy. [RACHEL]:
I know. I’m so sorry. [ALISON]:
It’s okay. What’s her name, his, her name? [RACHEL]:
His name is Crash. He must hear something outside. [ALISON]:
Crash. That’s awesome. [RACHEL]:
He’s really pretty good. [ALISON]:
So anything else about just the whole process of buying a building, tips that you have for people, or even something that just you learned through that whole process? [RACHEL]:
Absolutely. I mean, I think that, my suggestion would be if you can do it, do it. And look into it – even if you don’t think you can, you might be able to. It’s definitely worth it for many reasons. And make sure you find something that you can grow into also, like, something that isn’t going to, if you decide to grow or scale your practice a little bit more, isn’t going to be prohibitive in that way. I think that’s important as well. [ALISON]:
Yeah. And I think there’s a lot of good options too, like you said, if you do take on more space than you really need when you first purchase a property, you can always rent it out, like, to another business. And then again, you’re making money off of those other tenants. And sometimes you can be in a situation where your practice maybe doesn’t even have to pay rent because the other tenants are paying all the expenses and then some for the building. So there’s a lot of different scenarios too with all of that, that you can look at. And like you said, you really want to crunch the numbers and look at all the data before you kind of sign on the dotted line there. [RACHEL]:
Absolutely. No, a hundred percent. [ALISON]:
Yeah, yeah, well, I know we didn’t talk about all the other things that you do, and we’re running out of time, but I was hoping that you could just give us an overview of the other things that you have going on, because it sounds really cool, the other businesses that you have and the consulting that you’re doing, so can you sort of give us the rundown about those things? [RACHEL]:
Sure. So for over 10 years, I’ve done business consulting, helping people grow and thrive in businesses, and then I started the niche of doing that for therapists. At the beginning, I was doing it for therapists and other businesses, teaching them how to make more money and use their time more effectively in doing that – spend less, make more. And so now with Amanda Patterson from My Private Practice Collective and Online Therapist Collective, we have a course where we help people start and grow and thrive in practice. And we do private consulting on the side. I also do a lot of other consulting for drug and alcohol treatment centers in the area. Well, I did it across the country until, you know, a couple years ago, I started just kind of staying in Florida. And I have several continuing education provider companies. So I have Modern Sex Therapy Institutes. We do sexuality trainings and certifications like sex therapy certification, LGBTQI affirmative therapy certification, transgender mental healthcare certifications, and eight others, as well as individual courses. And then Advanced Mental Training Institute, which does all different trainings, you know, trauma trainings, substance use trainings, and other certifications as well. And I really enjoy that part of the business as well. [ALISON]:
Wow. So you have your hand in a lot of different things. [RACHEL]:
I do, but that’s how I thrive. I’ve always loved doing different things. [ALISON]:
Yeah, I do too, which is why I have four businesses. [RACHEL]:
Sounds like we’d be perfect for each other. [ALISON]:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I know you said you had something to give away to our audience. Can you tell us about that? [RACHEL]:
Yeah. So on the website, myprivatepracticecollective.com, there are a bunch of freebies that I’d love for people to check out. And then, if you go to modernsextherapyinstitutes.com, which is the continuing education company I told you about, you can choose a course of four credits or under and I am happy to give it to you free of charge. So I wasn’t as prepared, so I don’t have the coupon code, but if people email me – and I know you’ll be asking me for my contact information – or just message on the website, I will honor that. [ALISON]:
Okay, thanks. Yeah. And we have some time for you to get me the information and the link and stuff and I can include it in the show notes. So yeah, hopefully we’ll get that in the show notes by the time this episode comes out. [RACHEL]:
I can take care of it. [ALISON]:
Yeah, thank you so much. That’s great. So if folks want to get a hold of you, Rachel, what is the best way for them to contact you? I know, obviously, you have your different businesses, and then you have the Facebook group and that kind of thing. So what’s the easiest way for people to get in touch with you? [RACHEL]:
Sure. So there’s two different ways. So email is great. DrRachelNeedle@gmail.com. And people are also welcome to call me at 561-379-7207. [ALISON]:
Wow, that’s brave, giving out your phone number. [RACHEL]:
I have two. [ALISON]:
You have two. Well, that is awesome. Thank you so much, Rachel. I really appreciate your time and it’s been great talking with you and I feel like there’s so many other things that we could have covered in this episode, I might have to have you come back again soon. [RACHEL]:
I would love that, I really do enjoy being able to give back and support people in their journeys to building group practice, and just practices in general. So thanks for having me. [ALISON]:
Yeah. Awesome.

I hope you enjoyed that interview with Dr. Rachel Needle. I know I learned a lot. And when we were recording, she didn’t have her giveaway put together, but she emailed it to me after and I wanted to share it with you all. So if you go to the website www.modernsextherapyinstitutes.com and you use the coupon code MODERNSEX, you will get $140 off, which is the cost of a four CE course. And so that’s the giveaway she’s created for you, our listeners. So if you are interested in that CE for free, definitely check that out and I will see you all next time.

Grow a Group Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you grow your group practice. To hear other podcasts like the Imperfect Thriving podcast, Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network. If you love this podcast, will you please rate and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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