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How Many Clients Should I Have In My Therapy Practice?

You’ve made it, congratulations. No, not to this page (although thank you for visiting!), you’ve studied and worked on your craft for years, preparing you for private practice. You’re an expert in your field of helping clients overcome an assortment of challenges, but now you’re taking on a whole other animal: Your very own business. “How many clients should I have?” “What’s the average case load for therapists?” We’ll have you answer these questions below. Let’s dive in!

Curious what you should charge hourly? Try our Therapy Session Fee Calculator



How Many Clients Should I Have As a Mental Health Professional in Private Practice?

So, how many clients should you have in your counseling / therapy practice? There is no correct answer here. You are unique with unique goals. Having said that, I’ve put together some things you should consider when thinking about your average practice case load:

1. Determine Your Income Goals

What kind of lifestyle do you want to be able to afford? Do you have goals of owning a house, paying for an exotic vacation each year, or growing into a group practice? How about going out to eat or paying for that fancy gym membership? Also, saving for your retirement should be a strong consideration.

You should determine your monthly costs, you will start to see a picture of how many clients you need and how much you need to charge. Of course this is not the only consideration, let’s continue exploring other factors when determining how much to charge hourly.

2. Figure Out Your Lifestyle Goals

Money is not everything. Many people value time over financial rewards. Having time to hang out with the kids, take short trips, or take care of your own mental health can be extremely motivating factors for many therapists. It’s important to determine the lifestyle you want while working in your practice. By doing this you’ll need to know:

  • How many clients you want to see each day
  • How many hours you want to work each day / week
  • How many weeks of vacation you want to take each year

3. Calculate your Monthly Expenses

After considering your income and lifestyle goals, think about your monthly expenses. Some of your expenses might include:

  • Personal salary
  • Rent
  • Practice management software
  • Liability insurance
  • Continuing education courses
  • Marketing costs
  • Website costs
  • Retirement / additional savings

After you add up all the expenses you have, you’ll have a good idea how much money you need to make to keep your practice financially healthy and running.

4. Think About Other Sources of Income

Many mental health professionals get or search for other sources of income to compliment their practice. Here are a few examples:

  • Renting out a room in your office
  • Supervising sessions
  • Freelance writing
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Teaching
  • Selling books
  • Consulting services for other therapists
  • Products you sell online

Your additional income should factor into your overall income number.

Want to read more about making additional sources of income? Check out our 12 passive income ideas for therapists.

5. Factoring in No-Show Rate

It’s important to figure out about how many clients don’t show each week, yet cancel outside the cancellation fee window. Many times it’s hard to fill this spot, so you need to subtract out a specific number of no-shows from your overall patient numbers needed. This will further help you determine the number of clients you’ll need to see each week.

6. Calculating Your Hourly Rate

When you’re trying to determine your daily and weekly caseload, factoring in the above will help 5 points will help you figure out how much you should charge per hour. For example, if you determine that you only want to see 20 clients per week, and you want to make $100,000 gross revenue each year, the math would look something like this (assuming you take 2 weeks vacation):

$100,000 gross revenue / (50 weeks x 20 clients per week) = $100.00 per hour

When figuring out your hourly rate, you should also factor in:

  • Your level of expertise
  • Your competitor’s fees locally
  • How much clients are willing to pay in your city



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Other Factors to Consider When Creating Your Caseload

As mental health professionals, you know how important taking care of yourself is. Money is certainly important, but so is being at your best so that you can help your clients as best as possible. Here are a few more factors to consider when creating your caseload:

Burnout

Working too many hours in any industry can cause burnout. In mental health, professionals have to take extra care due to the material and trauma they hear day in and day out. It’s important to protect yourself from burnout, so limiting the number of hours you work and clients you see can certainly help.

Your Mental Health

In line with burnout, your mental health should be protected above earning potential. If your mental health is suffering, how can you help your clients?

Your Physical Health

Is your physical health being effected by working too much? Are you getting enough exercise? Are you gaining too much weight? Are you eating healthy food instead of the cheap fast food? Your physical health should be considered when planning your client caseload.

Your Social Health

Being around loved ones is important to your overall health. Do you find yourself working so much that you are not around your family? Do you plan for fun activities with family and friends? A balanced life is a healthy life.

Your Spiritual Health

Do you have peace in your life? Your spiritual health is one aspect often ignored, but it can play an important part in your mental health as well.

Final Thoughts on Finding The Right Caseload in Your Counseling Practice

Thank you for reading my post on “How Many Clients Should I Have In My Therapy Private Practice?” Finding the right number of clients is different for everyone, there are so many factors to think about. As mentioned above, creating passive income streams is a great way to compliment your practice so that you can work less “service” hours and enjoy life more. Whether you’re just planning to start a new counseling practice or have been in private practice for years, I hope this blog helped you.

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.

Curious what you should charge hourly? Try our Therapy Session Fee Calculator



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Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Anthony Bart is a huge mental health advocate. He has primarily positioned his marketing expertise to work with mental health professionals so that they can help as many patients as possible. He is currently the owner of BartX, TherapistX, and TherapyByPro.

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