How to create your kids gym as an occupational therapist or occupational therapist assistant

business kids gym occupational therapist assistant occupational therapy Oct 19, 2021
How to create your kids gym as an occupational therapist or occupational therapist assistant

How to create your kids gym as an occupational therapist or occupational therapist assistant:


Are you an occupational therapist or occupational therapist assistant looking to start a kids gym or a sensory gym that provides a variety of services? In this article, I’m going to walk you through the basics so you get started today with this amazing alternative healthcare career.

 

Can only occupational therapists own a kids gym or can occupational therapist assistants as well?

I want to start with this question first as it’s important for you to know that you can fully customize your kids gym to include as much or as little occupational therapy services as you want. And as a result, YES! Occupational therapist assistants can create and build their own kids gym! You can do all sorts of services and offerings too within your kids gym, just know that if you want to provide occupational therapy, then you will need OT supervision but otherwise sky is the limit!

 

How much does it cost to create a kids gym?


You can create a kids gym using only the cost for a couple pieces of equipment and the cost of your LLC and liability insurance. So you could really start your kids gym with about $200-$300 in costs. We’ll go over the different locations you could provide your kids gym in a couple paragraphs.


You can also start with a official location or brick and mortar location. The cost of renting a brick and mortal location of your own can really vary. What I will advise is to try to start as minimal as possible. I'm a big fan in any business, of testing the idea and making sure its the right fit for myself as well as for those I will serve. I never want anyone to get into too much of a financial hole in any entrepreneurial venture and I firmly believe that you can start any business with just a couple hundred dollars (even less sometimes!).


How do I start a kids gym?

Here is a list of steps you need to accomplish to get started:
1. Research your competition and make sure you've found a good location
2. Come up with your name and branding
3. Create your LLC or PLLC
4. Get your liability coverage and waivers
5. Pick what services you will offer and create your prices
6. Pick a location where you will provide these services
7. Market and get people in the door!

 

Okay, let’s go through each of these steps in greater detail:
1. Research your competition and make sure you've found a good location
When you drive around to look for potential locations, you may also want to see what competition is currently offering in your community.
In addition to looking in person at your competition, I would also google “kids gym near X city” and this will likely pull up some examples for you. From this, you can learn how they are marketing, what words they are using in their language describing their services, potentially what prices they are offering and more.

2. Come up with your name and branding

This is another long answer! But here are my best tips:
One tip is to use your name as the gym name. This ensures that there is no other gym with your name.
Another method is to create a unique name.

Here are some naming rules of thumb:
Make sure your name is not taken as a domain name
Make sure your name is not taken as business name (you can do a business name check)
Make sure there are no trademarks on your name either
Make sure your name is easy to say
Make sure your name is easy to spell
Make sure your name is easy to read
And most importantly – you want to rank #1 for your name in google. So try your best to pick a name that can make sure you will be the only one when they go to search for you in google.


3. Create your LLC or PLLC
To accomplish this, please go to your specific state’s website and look up the rules there for your business. Also confirm with your profession as well what entity you can provide.
You should also check to make sure there are not any other licenses you need to get based on what you will offer within your gym.

4. Get your liability coverage and waivers
You’ll want to make sure you have waivers for taking pictures and for injury prevention.


You’ll also want to make sure you have liability coverage to protect you incase any injuries do arise.


You also want to do a check with your state, county and also profession to make sure you do not need any other coverage or paperwork or certifications to be able to safely open your kids gym, group sessions or camps.

 

5. Pick what services you will offer and create your prices
Here is a short list of some service ideas:
-Handwriting
-Mom and me fitness
-Autism and sensory classes
-Athletics type of classes (say pre-sports training)
-Gymnastic or trampoline
-Open gym
-Coloring, drawing, painting, and really any arts and craft

How much to charge really depends on you, your skills, what services you provide, and your location. I would do a comparison of services already provided near you to help guide specific pricing for you.

6. Pick a location where you will provide these services
You are likely going to be creating your kids gym locally. One important first step is drive around locally to try pick the best location to launch your kids gym. You may want to consider how safe the area is, price, size compared to price, amenities included, proximity to local providers you may want to team up with.
You do not need to have a brick and mortal location. Let me repeat, you do not need to have a “gym” to start a kids gym.
You can create this in a park, provide services at a library, go to the child’s home, rent a time or an area for current locations like day cares, therapy clinics, and gyms to name a few.

7. Market and get people in the door!

This could be a whole blog post on it’s own but some good tips are to be active on social media, posting pictures of your process even before you open your kids gym. And then after opening your gym, post pictures of the kids improving, their wins, and having fun.


You can also run advertisement on social media, in local papers, or other local avenues – really whatever you think your target audience would best react to.


Lastly, one of the best ways to market is from the current kids and parents you have. This method of marketing is called referral marketing. Essentially, you encourage your current customers to share the news of your business with their friends, fellow parents, co workers and in the community in exchange for prizes, discounted monthly rates, or free/discounted services to name a few examples of how to entice and thank your current clients for getting you more customers.


What services can I provide?

The sky is the limit to what services you can provide! What services you can provide is really limited only by your creativity. But here is a little list of some ideas:
-Handwriting
-Mom and me fitness
-Autism and sensory classes
-Athletics type of classes (say pre-sports training)
-Gymnastic or trampoline
-Open gym
-Coloring, drawing, painting, and really any arts and craft

I do not recommend that you provide all of these services as this would disperse your efforts too much and wouldn’t give you the best results for profits. I recommend you choose 1-3 services at least to start and focus on marketing these services in addition to your open gym.


What I recommend you do in order to help you understand what services you should provide is:
1st: Write a list of what services you have a background providing previously
2nd: Write a list of services you are really passionate about providing
3d: See of these 2 steps above, to help narrow down your initially services.
4th: Which of these services is easiest to run? Doesn’t require very much equipment or help?
5th: After you’ve narrowed down the services to a smaller list, you can test these on social media and around the community to help narrow down and ensure enough interest in each service before fully marketing your services.


How much money can I anticipate that I will make within my kids gym?


How much you can make with your kid’s gym really varies. It varies based on how many employees, the hours you offer, the services you offer, your prices and your marketing efforts.

But to give you a little perspective – Guiselle, who is an OTR/L and built her own kids gym from scratch, was quickly earning $10,000 a month within her first year of launching and without any employees - you can read more about her  story here: https://www.alternativehealthcarecareers.com/blog/how-guiselle-miranda-otr-launched-kids-gym-in-one-year. Kesley, another OTR/L, who created her kids gym over COVID, also is earning roughly $10,000 a month within her first year of launching and without any employees.

 

Can I provide occupational therapy services as well within this kids gym?


YES! You do not need to provide OT services to be successful, but if you want to provide OT services then having a kids gym is the perfect blend! Just think, you could evaluate all kids that come into your clinic for free and then if they have increased needs, you can help that child. It's like a built-in referral system!

How do I provide OT services within my kids gym?


It’s actually quite simple!


Make sure that you are set up in the right business entity to perform any therapy service. This usually means have a PLLC instead of an LLC but not all states or professions require a PLLC. So the first task it so look up your state specific requirements for what entity can offer therapy services.


You’ll likely already have liability insurance for your kids gym and that should cover you for therapy services as well but I do recommend you update your liability coverage with this new service and ensure your coverage is appropriate.


Decide what therapy services you want to offer. Do you want to offer OT, PT, SLP each or all of the above?


Make sure you have the right supervision for each therapy service you will provide if applicable (ie. If assistants are starting their gym and will also offer therapy services).


Create updated marketing materials.


Gather any needed equipment or tools.


Continue your current marketing methods and add in new methods such as marketing to local physicians and other care providers.

 

We really hope this article has helped you decide if you may want to launch your kids gym and also giving you the courage to take action!
If you want to take action, we have a kids gym course you can join here: https://www.alternativehealthcarecareers.com/kids-gym!

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