Mobile businesses across all sectors are becoming common, since they have distinct advantages over brick and mortar premises; they reduce overhead expenses, increase mobility and allow the owner flexibility of lifestyle. For many businesses outside of our industry, going mobile is often the ‘next step’ when it comes to expansion. Rehab therapists, on the other hand, tend to start mobile and consider permanent premises a step up.
It need not be this way. Mobile clinics can be advantageous, lucrative and long term, with the flow of business just as full as when we operate out of permanent premises. A mobile clinic can grow just as you do, for as long as you do.
Let’s look at reasons to go mobile and stay mobile:
Wherever you and your equipment can go, you can work. This may be in clients’ homes, in a veterinary practice, in a yard, or at a show – you can be where you are most needed when you are most needed.
The convenience for your client of your coming to their home can be one of the biggest selling points of your business. For many, traveling with their pets for treatments is just not an option. This is especially so for those of us treating horses – regular traveling by the owner is costly, time-consuming and high risk, and your mobility will be highly valued. But there are advantages of home treatments for other pet owners, too. Busy professionals may lack the time to come to you during office hours, and the convenience of a home visit can be a strong selling point.
All animals are more comfortable in their home environment than elsewhere. This means you have a calm, relaxed animal to start with, making your treatments more effective, specific and pleasurable for everyone involved.
By being present in a client’s home, you can be more accurate and effective in your evaluation and treatment, since you’re able to take the home environment into consideration. You can assess the advantages and disadvantages of the home environment, noting specific things that may have to be changed for the animal’s stage of rehabilitation. You can also tailor an exercise program based on the environment you see around you.
Seeing patients out on the road gives you the opportunity to travel, to see and explore your area or even your country. What an incredible advantage, and what a pleasure to be able to take a road trip and get paid for it!
For some of us, there is nothing worse than sticking to a routine day in and day out. The ability to set your own schedule, allowing for a balance of marketing efforts, conferences, personal commitments and of course clients, is magic!
Working on the road gives you time between patients to gather your thoughts, switch from one patient and owner to another on a mental and emotional level, and to prepare for the task that lies ahead. An opportunity to relax and take a breath cannot be overvalued – your overall stress levels will decrease and your efficiency and productivity will increase.
Time on the road gives you time to learn. You can spend a few minutes or a few hours listening to podcasts, audiobooks, interviews or lectures between patients as you travel from one to another.
Your reduced overhead costs may enable you to lower your consultation fees, making you more affordable to clients – winning you more clients and increasing your profitability over time. The lowered overhead costs may also mean lower levels of stress, since you will not be racing just to cover the costs of rent, water, electricity and staff.
Public holidays and weekends are more easily managed, as you don’t have to pay a full complement of staff on days when there is no income. You can also take an occasional day off when it is necessary, without leaving a practice unattended.
You will be spending loads of time in your vehicle, and it needs to be comfortable and practical. Use of your vehicle will become a business expense, rather than a personal expense, and can therefore be included for tax assessments.
A mobile business can be built around your other interests and lifestyle needs. Plan your days in accordance with the commitments of family, sporting competitions, or other activities. Many riders give up their own competitive life to support their clients, but this is not necessary when you’re mobile!
There – twelve reasons why you should stay mobile. To the recent graduate, looking to set up premises and become established, this may seem an odd point of view – but there is no reason why ‘mobile’ need not mean established, too. This business model works and has immense value. It should not be seen as something for the recent graduate and new business only, but as a viable and practical permanent arrangement.
Of course, nothing is all sunshine and roses – there are challenges to running a mobile business. But with some planning and foresight, these challenges can be overcome and turned into opportunities for growth and success.
I’ve put together a handy PDF download for you, collating all the tips we have received from members over the years on how to make the most of your mobile clinic. You may download it here.