As a mental health professional, you’re primary thought in private practice is how to best serve your clients, but you know the value of monitoring and strategizing for your business – it’s just tough to make time! Therapy client metrics are often overlooked by most mental health professionals.
In the spirit of being efficient, I’m going to highlight 4 client metrics therapists and other mental health professionals should track in their private practices. These 4 metrics can make a big impact and help you to narrow your attention to things that greatly affect your private practice’s bottom line.
These 4 client metrics you should be tracking include:
- Your ongoing client metrics
- Your hourly rate
- Knowing your niche
- Cost for getting each new client
1) Ongoing Clients
If you’re going to focus on just one thing – one “canary in the coal mine” that’s the first domino to fall for the rest of your business, ongoing clients is probably it.
If you have consistent clients you can, of course, make a bigger impact, create a stronger relationship, get referrals from them, increase rates over time, etc.
So why is this important, other than the consistent revenue piece? This is your big indicator for planning and creating a strategy.
If you’re looking to grow your private practice, you’ll want to know your ceiling for the number of clients you can handle. For simple numbers, let’s say it’s 30 clients at 4 hours a month. That’s 120 hours a month strictly for client work.
Once you factor in all of the other “stuff” you do, your time is pretty thin. So if you want to grow, you then see at least two paths forward: Raise client rates or hire other mental health professionals to work for you.
Then those paths provide options that need data-supported consideration too while keeping in mind that retention of your existing clients is a major factor too.
We could go down the rabbit hole of those options, but the point is, that initial number of ongoing clients controls your revenue, your time, and your strategy.
2) Hourly Rate
Is it worth your time to build the processes to track the homework you give to your clients? Or to put out a new blog? Or manage your calendar?
There is a lot of value in all of those activities, but the opportunity cost of working with a client vs doing anything like that is an important comparison.
Not only that, what is your hourly rate per client? Are some clients taking more of your time than they should? If you give them a discount to start therapy sessions with you, while you’re also investing more time than usual, that client better stick around for a long time to even out!
Ranking clients by hourly rate might sound harsh, but it’s not meant to call out the “bad” and highlight the “good”. It’s a reflection of your time and your value that you’re giving to clients – not necessarily a reflection of the client. If a certain client is producing the lowest hourly rate, you might just be investing too much time (or not charging enough) and it could be a signal that you’re doing a disservice to your clients on the other end of the spectrum. The point is, it’s a very good ranking to be aware of and know the reasons why the hourly rates are what they are.
Tracking your hourly rate per client (including all the extra hours you may put in that go uncharged for each client) is important for all of these reasons, but it also gives you confidence in knowing that every hour you spend, you’re earning money. And as a private practice owner, that’s a really reassuring thing to know!
3) Knowing Your Niche
The age-old question “what’s your target market”? It’s great to know who your niche is because it will help you put more effort into more people like your current clients.
From knowing who you’re able to add the most value to, you can narrow your focus (of course) but also create content that is easily repeatable with clients. If you’re targeting working with athletes, content you create should be geared towards this niche.
You know there are dozens if not hundreds of other mental health professionals in your area, and hundreds of thousands in the United States. You need to know where you can deliver the most value and own that demographic as much as possible!
After you’ve been serving clients for some time (let’s say 12 months) in your practice, you can start narrowing down who your clients really are. You can simply do this by filling out an Excel sheet with the following columns:
- Client names (optional)
- Age estimate
- How they found your practice
- Condition (ex: Anxiety)
- Effective treatment approach type (ex: CBT)
- Many more
After taking this data, you can create an objective target market using the data that can guide your marketing efforts to reach more people like your “ideal client” types you’ve discovered.
4) Cost per Acquisition
This goes in the right direction if you target your ideal clients, of course.
For service providers in general, we spend a lot of time and a lot of money on marketing – it’s a big cost, and one of the biggest since we don’t have much COGS.
The only real “twist” here is making sure you account for your time in the calculation. Remember your hourly rate from earlier? You may have to adjust that to include ALL of your time. Not just billable client hours. From there, you can measure how much time you spend prospecting, having one on ones, etc., multiply that by an hourly rate and come up with a total expense associated with acquiring a client.
This is something to measure over time (large time periods like 6 months or so work best, unless your sales cycle is shockingly just a few days) and to measure by marketing channel. If posting blog posts are free, only take a few minutes, and yield the same amount of clients or more than posting on Instagram… it might be time to shift more resources to blogging and less to Instagram (for example).
Final Thoughts on Tracking Clients in Your Private Practice
Thank you for reading my blog on 4 metrics you should be tracking for your therapy private practice. Tracking therapy client metrics can be annoying, yes. But it’s worth it tenfold. Whatever you do though, make sure you can easily track everything and make the results visual! Dashboards help a lot here and they’ll help you actually use your data. You can learn more about Pineapple Consulting’s dashboards for entrepreneurs here. If you’re able to track these metrics, you can continue to grow and build a strong strategy.
Note from TherapyByPro: A special thank you to Jack Tompkins for contributing to TherapyByPro. If you’re a mental health professional, you can Join our community and add your listing here. We also have tools and templates a private practice can use to streamline their practice. View all of our mental health forms, worksheet, and assessments here.