If you're wanting to start a nutrition private practice and wondering "where do I even begin? what if I miss a step? what order should things be done in?" then this post is written for you.
I spent over 6 months researching, consulting, and learning about every detail of starting a private practice as a registered dietitian. There are great resources already out there, and my hope is this will expand on those.
So, let's get started: HOW TO START A PRIVATE PRACTICE, as a registered dietitian.
STEP 1: Create a business name
The name should reflect your services. If you plan to expand your scope or team, make sure the name accounts for that. First things first, make sure the name is not already taken. Check these sources:
Secretary of State
Your state’s filing office (in WA state this is the Department of Revenue)
US Patent and Trademark Office
STEP 2: File your business entity within your state
Decide if you want to be a sole proprietor, a LLC, PLLC, or another entity. They have different implications regarding taxes, liability, and reporting regulations. Be sure to check and see if your state requires a PLLC (instead of LLC) if you are a dietitian. What is the difference? Some states require a PLLC to be filed if the business will provided licensed professional services. In WA state, I went with PLLC since I am credentialed as a dietitian.
STEP 3: Create an Operating Agreement
This is often overlooked but so important! If you're thinking "do I need one if I am the only member of my LLC?"...yes! An Operating Agreement is a formal legal document that states how your entity will be governed and maintained. It's super simple to put together yourself using free online templates and can be invaluable in helping protect you and your entity legally, if you should ever need it.
STEP 4: Obtain an EIN (Employee Identification Number)
STEP 5: Apply for State and City Business Licenses
You may be thinking, "didn't I already do this in Step 2?". In WA state, you file your business name with WA Secretary of State (SOS). Then, separately, you must file your business with WA Department of Revenue (DOR), as well as the city you will practice in. This will vary by state, so be sure to check with your state to see what requirements they have.
Phew! Take a deep breathe. Completing the above tasks is a HUGE step to starting your practice. Getting it set up correctly from the start is invaluable.
Part 2 will go over: bank accounts, liability insurance, and payment methods.
**Disclaimer: the above is purely based on my own experience and is not a substitute for legal or accounting advice.