If you’re thinking about setting up your own practice or urgent care while still holding down a job, it may be hard to find the time necessary to stay within your budget and open on time. This is where you might consider hiring a practice startup consulting firm to help you.

“I think it’s very important to know about the dynamics of the area you’re going into and whether there’s competition nearby or if it’s completely saturated,” explains Traci Krulik, a senior startup consultant at Provider Services Nationwide (PSN). She’s been working in the healthcare industry for the past 25 years and has helped open over 200 urgent cares across the country. She often advises doctors to first do an insurance feasibility study to ensure the insurance panels are open to new providers in a certain zip code, especially in dense metropolitan areas. Doing a demographic study might also be a good idea. “Otherwise, you could run into problems getting into the networks which will limit your patient flow and could lead to an unsuccessful business,” she says.

In addition to startup consulting firms some EMR companies, like Experity and Athena Health, are now offering consulting services too. “They don’t do a personalized full-service startup like us,” Krulik says. “We specialize in niche startups say, for six providers and under, generally for multispecialty groups and urgent cares.”

A startup consultant, like Krulik, will act as a project manager liaising with preferred vendors to get you all the services you need. This takes the guesswork out of the process and helps avoid pitfalls or costly mistakes along the way. They’ll stay with you, guiding and advising you, until the practice or urgent care opens. Among the myriad of tasks associated with opening a practice, they can help you choose the right EMR for your needs, source specialty equipment, and hire staff.

Consulting services from start to finish can take about 8-10 months especially if the physician needs to secure financing and find a location. The credentialing process – which takes about 6 months – can’t even begin until the physician has a business address. Another benefit to hiring a consultant is to listen to what they suggest about popular revenue generators like allergy testing, dispensing prescriptions on site, or weight loss management. These ancillary services can bring increased revenue to practices making them more profitable.