How to start a private-pay parent training business for behavior analysts
[some links in this post may be affiliate links]
Whether you are interested in working with parents as your full-time job or you just want to start up a side hustle training parents on ways to help their child, you may find this article useful.
We will be discussing some of the basic tips for how to start a private-pay parent training business. Although these tips may be helpful for anyone who is qualified to provide some type of parent training, this article is specifically geared toward behavior analysts.
WHAT IS PRIVATE PAY?
Although you may already be familiar with this, private pay refers to having your clients pay out of pocket for their services. You can have them pay for their services with cash or credit instead of dealing with insurance companies.
NAME YOUR BUSINESS
Deciding what to name your business can be tricky, but this is a good place to start. Consider what your business stands for, consider what sets you apart, and brainstorm words and phrases that resonate with you.
DECIDING YOUR LOCATION
There are multiple options for deciding where you’d like to create your base for your parent training business.
You may choose any of the following:
Renting office space or subleasing space in a local building (and having parents come to you for their parent training services)
Offering strictly telepractice services (so you’d provide parent training via video chat)
Providing home-based parent training (where you’d go to the client’s home to provide the parent training)
FILE YOUR BUSINESS PAPERWORK
There are multiple ways that you can do this. There are also multiple types of business structures that you could pursue. One of these options is to become an LLC, a limited liability company.
This is what SwyftFilings has to say about forming an LLC:
“The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is now one of the most popular business structures among smaller organizations. While allowing business owners to remain free from a great deal of the formalities imposed on other types of businesses, it still provides limited liability protection for its owners (members). LLCs are also eligible for "pass-through" taxation, which means that the company's income taxes are only reflected on each owner's personal tax return, not at the business level.”
Consider checking out SwyftFilings to help you get your business paperwork filed and creating your LLC in no time.
BE SURE TO GET AN EIN AND AN NPI
These numbers are required for some purposes and also help you to separate your business as its own entity.
You can get an EIN here.
You can get an NPI here.
GET A BUSINESS EMAIL ADDRESS
It is typically recommended to have a business email address rather than using your personal email address for business use. Also, having a professional looking email address will help clients view you as more credible.
Consider using G Suite for your business email.
G Suite has so much to offer to businesses. You will get a domain name. You can use their BAA and offer HIPAA compliant video chat for teleconferencing. You can Use them as your practice management software – specifically as a place to store your electronic documents safely. And much more.
CONSIDER GETTING A BUSINESS PHONE
To prevent blurred professional-client boundaries, it is recommended that you have a separate business phone number that you give out to clients rather than giving them your personal phone number.
Grasshopper is one option for easily obtaining a business phone number that connects to your personal phone. They have tons of helpful tools that go along with the phone number including:
MAKE A BUSINESS LOGO
Having a business logo can greatly enhance your professional look. You can use your logo on your business cards, on flyers, on marketing materials, on your paperwork, etc.
Consider checking out Looka for an easy way to make a logo.
MAKE A WEB PRESENCE
In these modern times, it is important to have a presence on the internet. You can make this as complex or as simple as you’d like. You could decide to go all out and create your very own website full of extensive features or keep it simple yet still effective by publishing your business information in an online directory.
Both options provide similar benefits in that you will increase your exposure to potential clients, you will be able to refer people to your online website or webpage to learn more about your services, and you will be seen as more reputable and trustworthy as a professional parent training provider.
If you’d like to go the route of creating and managing your own website, consider Squarespace.
If you’d like to take a simpler route yet still receive the benefits of having an online presence, consider applying for our Parent Training Service Directory.
You could also choose to go both routes to strengthen your web presence.
CREATE BUSINESS CARDS
You may consider creating business cards. This adds to the professional look of your business and makes for an easy tool to pass around within your community or at networking events.
GET LIABILITY INSURANCE
Shop around for liability insurance to cover your business.
GET A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT
For tax and financial purposes, it is recommended to separate your business income and expenses from your personal income and expenses. Consider setting up a bank account under your business name so that you can have the income you make from your business go directly into that bank account. Additionally, you can have bills and expenses come out of that bank account.
This will make managing your business finances much, much easier rather than having your business and personal finances mixed together.
PREPARE PAPERWORK FOR YOUR CLIENTS
Gathering all the necessary documents for your clients can be a challenge or, at the least, a little bit nerve-racking. You want to make sure you have the right paperwork in place ahead of time so that you can feel confident and ready to go when you start seeing clients.
Although there may be some differences in the paperwork requirements based upon your location as well as the services you offer and population you work with, some general documents that you may consider include:
Consent for services or service contract
Notice of privacy practices
Authorization to release information
Authorization for credit card use
Social media policy (this could be its own form or it could be included in the service contract)
Intake assessment form(s)
Treatment plan template
Progress note (session note) template
Just a heads up: We will be developing these forms in the future, so stay tuned or sign up for our email list to be notified when they are available.
CLARIFY YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Although this article is meant to be a guide for behavior analysts (or other professionals) who want to provide parent training, that may not be specific enough to really gain traction and be seen as an expert by your potential clients.
Most business developers will tell you that you should specialize. Instead of saying, you will work with any and all parents, try to get at least a little bit more specific.
For example, consider the following:
Do you want to work with children with autism spectrum disorder who are between the ages of three and six?
Do you specialize in working with youth with ASD who are in their adolescence (ages 13-17)?
Do you specialize in working with high functioning youth with ASD (Level 1 ASD)? or are you exceptionally knowledgeable about youth with ASD who are lower functioning (Level 3 ASD)?
Do you have a background in working with parents and/or their children who have a diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)?
Do you have a background in psychology or social work and are experienced in co-occurring diagnoses?
Maybe you specialize in telehealth services or you will travel to a client’s home (regularly or on occasion)
Do you feel confident in your ability to work with parents who have multiple children with ASD? How about parents with multiple children with or without diagnoses?
Do you provide parent training for parents of children with general behavioral issues? School issues? Toileting problems? Feeding problems?
These are just some ideas for how to really clarify what makes you stand out from every other provider of parent training. Take some time to explore your area of specialty.
COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS WHO HAVE DONE OR ARE WORKING TOWARD YOUR SAME GOALS
Although you are sure to be mindful of respecting your competitors in terms of other professionals who are also trying to develop their businesses, it is often beneficial to collaborate with other like-minded people.
If you can network with people who have already begun the journey to creating a parent training business or you can have discussions with people who are at a similar spot in their business development journey, you can experience compounding benefits that come from this communication – you can benefit, those you collaborate with can benefit, and parents and families can benefit.
Consider joining the ABA Parent Training Group for Service Providers on Facebook to be part of a community of professionals interested in parent training.
PLAN VISITS TO YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
Take some time to consider how you can make yourself known in your local community.
Could you do a presentation at a local daycare or school?
Could you have a booth at a fair or community event?
Could you pass out flyers to local doctor’s offices or send a flyer home with the students at your local school district?
DECIDE YOUR RATES
Your rates will likely vary based upon your location, your target audience, and your own personal business and financial goals.
There is no one way to figure out your rates, but a general tip for how to begin the thought process behind figuring this out is to consider your ultimate yearly income goal from your parent training business, divide that by 52 weeks minus however many weeks of vacation you’d like to take (or the number of weeks you will likely take off for whatever reason) and divide by the number of parent training hours that you would like to provide in one week.
Here is a formula to consider:
YEARLY INCOME GOAL / NUMBER OF WEEKS OF THE YEAR YOU WILL WORK / NUMBER OF PARENT TRAINING HOURS YOU WANT TO PROVIDE PER WEEK
Here is an example: $80,000 / 48 weeks / 25 hours = $67 per hour
On a side note, you may want to consider adding a bit more to your yearly income goal to account for expenses and taxes. You could also overestimate how many service hours you plan on providing to account for cancellations (unless you plan to have a cancellation fee policy of some sort).
With that all taken into consideration, I could set my rate at $75 per hour.
You may also want to consider identifying a service hour as truly meaning 50 minutes to allow for 10 minutes of transition between clients. This won’t affect your numbers in terms of using the formula. It will, however, affect your practice. It’s important to make this clear with clients, so they know what to expect.
DECIDE HOW YOU WILL ACCEPT PAYMENT
Will you accept cash? check? credit card payments?
If you accept credit card payments, how will you accept payment?
Maybe you accept payment via PayPal?
Identifying how you will accept payments and your payment options for private pay clients ahead of time will help you to be prepared to accept payments in a confident and stress-free manner.
OPTIMIZE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE WITH STRATEGIES THAT WILL INCREASE CONTACTS FROM POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS
This is related to the above recommendation to decide whether you will create your own website or purchase a listing in our Parent Training Service Directory.
If you purchase your own website, you will need to purchase additional services to increase your search engine optimization to help you reach potential customers (or do it yourself which takes lots of time and effort and can be a difficult learning curve for some).
If you go with the option to be listed in our Parent Training Service Directory, we are able to provide this strategy for you.
We optimize your webpage and your listing in the directory to increase the likelihood of potential customers coming to your page and then ultimately contacting you for services.
We also provide additional optimization to help your web presence and increase leads for potential clients by featuring your company, location, and individualized services on our website, on social media, and on other places around the web.
So, this article has provided behavior analysts and other professionals with an outline for how to start a private-pay parent training business.
Whether you want to begin a side hustle and make a few extra dollars or you want to start a lucrative part-time business or you want to go all-in and make this your full-time gig, starting a parent training business is an excellent route to go.
As a behavior analyst, you can use your applied behavior analysis training and knowledge in the context of training parents on working with their own child.
As you can see throughout our site, www.ABAparenttraining.com, parent training (especially behaviorally-based parent training) has extensive research for its effectiveness.
We also offer the ‘One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum,’ which could provide you with so much additional value to provide to your clients.
This is a pre-made, research-supported set of 27 lesson plans that you can use in biweekly parent training sessions.
The lessons cover a variety of ABA topics (with a lesson on ASD, as well).
This curriculum saves you tons of time of research and planning while also allows for flexibility and individualization to each client that you work with.
So, WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT?
DECIDE TO DECIDE. Make the decision that you will begin this journey to developing a private-pay parent training business based on behavior analysis.
REVIEW THE STEPS IN THIS ARTICLE. Save this article on your computer so that you can come back and refer to it as needed. Start at the topic and start getting things done.
GET A CHECKLIST OF THE ITEMS WE DISCUSSED TO HELP YOU STAY ORGANIZED WITH STARTING YOUR PRIVATE-PAY PARENT TRAINING BUSINESS BY ENTERING YOUR EMAIL BELOW.
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to serve as legal, accounting, or business advice. This article is for informational purposes only.