How to start your ergonomic business as a occupational therapist or COTAOct 19, 2021
How to start your ergonomic business as a occupational therapist or COTA
As an occupational therapist or assistant, you are in the perfect place to start your ergonomic business or side hustle! And I want to inspire you that an ergonomic business/side hustle requires little to no set up cost to start! (Please go here for the OT/COTA ergonomic job guide)
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What software and other tools you need to get started
- Credentials you may need or not need
- The exact steps to start your ergonomic business
- How to find your first client/patient
What do occupational therapists/assistants need to get build their ergonomic business?
- You are going to want a website – I recommend Kajabi and you can get a free 30 day trial here as well as our free virtual wellness course if you do use this link to sign up for Kajabi: https://app.kajabi.com/r/kzizGnqf (please email us at [email protected] when you sign up and we'll provide you with a free $300 ergonomic website template)
I recommend Kajabi as it is your website, email, course and payment host all in one tool. So this is literally the only software you’ll tool need to run most of your business. I’ve tried WordPress but I needed to tie in something that did courses, emails and payments so I ended up with much more headache and more money then I would have spent on Kajabi.
- Booking tool: I recommend Square and you can go to squareup.com to sign up. This tool is 100% free and allows you to take unlimited bookings, payments, scheduling, and has unlimited email and text reminders and is HIPPA compliant.
- Video recording: Zoom is free and you can start simple by using that to record many videos and upload them to courses you create or to social media.
Forms: Google forms is free or $6 a month and is HIPPA compliant. This is what I use and recommend for intake forms and tracking patient progress.
Really you do not need many tools to gather the needed data to perform your ergonomic assessments.
- Web Camera
- Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA)
- Rapid Upper Limb Assessment(RULA)
- Tape Measure
- Scale (optional)
How much can you make as an OT/COTA in an ergonomic business?
How much you earn really will depend on several things:
- Who your client is (i.e.. A individual vs a company)
- How many clients you see (If you work with large companies’ vs individuals)
- What services you provide (just an assessment, assessment plus treats, assessment plus treats plus on going support)
But typically, you could earn $1000 in one weekend! What you charge can really vary but we say between $100-200 per hour.
What credentials do you need as an OT/COTA to get started in ergonomics?
Luckily you may not even need any other credentials to get either a career in ergonomics (see our article here on how to get a career in ergonomics and find positions in ergonomics as an OT/COTA)
What credentials you will need will vary based on the setting – usually office based ergonomics you will not need any additional credentials although it does help to have an ergonomic certification so that you know how to perform office ergonomics by OSHA standards (you can get our office ergonomics certification here) and if you find you are not getting clients or positions it may be due to not having an ergonomic certification. But good news is that these certifications are usually online and just are 2-4 hours long and very easy to complete.
Industrial ergonomics may have stricter requirements due to the work place hazards that say assembly lines or shipment lines may have. But usually simply an industrial ergonomic certification like ours here can be enough to qualify you for these clients or these positions.
It will also help to have valid BLS/CPR training and sometimes additional emergency response training as you may be called depending on your role and company, to help if someone has an injury at work.
What are the first steps you need to take to start your OT/COTA ergonomics business?
Starting this business is super easy!
Step 1: Pick your name, colors, tag line and niche
I usually recommend you perform a little market research when performing this step. See what other ergonomic businesses are around you – what are they called, what do their social media profiles and websites look like, what services do they offer.
Then I suggest you see how you could be better and compete with these companies? What services or skills do you have that make you stand out?
Then take action! This step is the biggest barrier to stopping people – which is crazy because this is literally the easiest step. Just pick a name and dive in – go for it!
Step 2: Start creating your social media profiles and website and booking system
This may sound techy and scary but it’s really not if you choose the right software. I think Square Booking, google forms and Kajabi are a great tools as you only need these 3 items to have a simple to run yet very robust business! Basically for about $100 a month, you can get this business up and running and in a matter of 1-2 weeks.
Step 3: Take additional education if needed
You may not have learned how to perform ergonomic assessments in school, and so while you are building your business – it may benefit you to take our ergonomic certifications (our certification also comes with a whole section on finding and securing an ergonomic position as well as a complete business course) or other certifications to add to your skills and resume.
Step 4: Find your first client/company
Setting up a business is easy – it’s selling that is the hardest part.
If you are trying to get into ergonomics for companies (ie. Intell,Amazon, Facebook, Black and Decker etc) I recommend that you make a PowerPoint presentation that shows how you can prevent pain, save companies money and time, and how you can create a system that the company can implement now and in the future.
If you are selling ergonomic sessions to individuals, then you want to show them why ergonomics has been the solution they’ve been looking for. Why ergonomics is a LONG TERM solution. I still suggest a prepared talking points, with some statistics or data and pictures included if you do any in person presentations (you could also send them a recorded presentation) that really inspires this person to take action.
A good place to get your first client or patient is within the connections you already have. Ask around at work, on social media, have your loved ones ask around, and see what connections your connections have…..this is a great place to start.
You may need to offer your first sessions at reduced price so that you can collect recommendations/reviews and gain your confidence. But then you can put these reviews on your website and social media, they can share the word about you, and you can put this on your resume as well (no one needs to know how much you charged!)
Step 5: Keep trying and being persistent!
You will get “no’s” or “maybe’s” and I don’t want you to quit. People say no to me all the time.
If that happens, it’s an opportunity to see what you can add to your business, how you can make your sales calls or presentations better, or perhaps add further education or a new niche to your business.
Ready to get started?
Take our office or industrial certification course and earn 2-3 hours of CEU credits, learn how to perform office or industrial ergonomic assessments and treatments and get our complete job program program filled with resume templates, interview questions and answers, job search lists and more as well as our business program which has the step by step guide on how to set up all of your technology and systems, find clients, and ace your first sales call!
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