How Long Does It Take to Make a Profit a Nurse Practitioner?

Establishing your own practice as a nurse practitioner is both nerve-wracking and exciting. Starting any business is a serious financial risk, and typically requires the founder to contribute a significant sum of personal wealth during startup. Several factors influence profit potential, and each should be considered when developing a roadmap for your business. It can take awhile before nurse practitioners see any profits from their new business, but you may be able to determine an approximate timeframe for financial prosperity.

How long does it take for a medical practice to sustain itself?

Generating profits through a niche side business should be a nurse practitioner’s main financial priority. It is vital for this side business to become profitable as quickly as possible, since business expenses can pile up fast. The longer a business owner pays for expenses through their own cashflow, the bigger the impact the business will have on their personal wealth.

Generally, a medical practice will begin to accrue measurable income after six months of operation. This income should first be used to pay both recurring and one-off expenses for the business. This may take a bit longer depending on the location of your practice, the types of services offered, and if the business is cash or insurance-based. If your business has a particularly slow opening month, don’t panic. Instead, focus on marketing efforts. Marketing can be a powerful tool, and a well-executed marketing plan can pay for itself fairly quickly. Elite NP’s marketing course can help you develop an effective marketing campaign for your practice.

When does a medical practice start generating profit?

When your business goes from profit neutral to profit positive, you’re doing something right! Market research indicates that a well-run medical practice will become profit positive within six months to one year. The profit amount depends heavily on the nature of your practice and the demand for the services you offer in your area. A comprehensive guide to the most profitable niche side practices can be found here.

Month-to-month profit should increase slowly but steadily. It will take time to execute your marketing strategy, and your patient load will increase as you build trust and legitimacy within the communities you serve. Word of mouth is as powerful of a marketing tool as paid advertising. If you provide quality care, patients will begin referring others to your practice. Excellent service speaks for itself.

What is considered a ‘high-profit’ medical practice?

Generally, a high-profit side practice is one that generates between $10,000 to $12,000 per month. For full-time practices, a highly successful clinic will generate upwards of $40,000 per month. For reference, Elite NP founder Justin Allan’s men’s health clinic consistently generates $45,000 per month.

How do I know if my practice is failing?

Elite NP recommends keeping a practice open for at least six months, even if the business has failed to become profit neutral or positive. If profits are stagnant or declining after this time period, it’s time to seriously evaluate your expenses and the future of your business. If you are still using personal capital to keep your practice afloat after six months, these tactics should be implemented:

  1. Increase your marketing budget and use analytics tools to determine what forms of advertising work best
  2. Decrease monthly expenses, like costly software subscriptions or other business supplies
  3. Consider using affordable wholesale vendors
  4. Make your practice more accessible by digitizing the appointment making process

If your practice is still in the red after using these techniques, it may be best to take the loss and close your doors. If you are afraid of a substantial financial blow, make sure your startup costs are as low as possible. This resource is designed to help NPs start a business without breaking the bank.

22 Responses

    1. Hi Justin,
      I am starting an aesthetics practice, to open next month. Just happen to be following the model all of which makes a lot of sense. I appreciate your posts about expectations for when your practice will make money. This has been a concern for me as I peel off dollars to pay for all the expenses that are piling up. Thanks for sharing your experience.
      Cheryl O’Donoghue, APRN, GA

      1. Best of luck Cheryl! Stay patient and keep going. Hit that 6 month mark and then reevaluate where you are!

  1. I am a new practice owner in a small rural area of Texas- I opened in April and began to see enough to pay myself something at arount month 6- I’m about to go into month 9 and I am just now beginning to pay myself a small amount regularly. I can’t express how important it is to have another source of income to rely on at first….other NP’s who have their practice has told me 2 years before things get really rolling—still waiting to see how things go!!

  2. $30,000 a month in revenue??? I would think I had died and gone to heaven. Good news is, except for the initial start up money, I have been able to cover the bills with practice money so far!! Going into month 3…

    1. CONGRATULATIONS on reaching autopilot status in your practice! That is a huge milestone! Now the profits will begin 🙂

  3. I enjoy reading the blog post. Im working FT an NP and my husband is completely self employed with multiple IT businesses. I’m interested in starting a Nurse Coaching side hustle but not sure where to start.

  4. Thanks for these reminders! I left a FT FNP clinic position with guaranteed salary 11 months ago to “do my own thing.” I planned and saved for this opportunity. I purchased an existing practice so the practice has generated enough revenue to sustain itself from day one. I have not yet reached the point of being able to pay myself a salary but hope to do so in the next few months. I am interested in telemedicine as a side/ cash pay only business. Any information on getting started would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Congrats! I wish you the best of luck in generating a profit. If you are not, MARKET the hell out of the practice! It is the only way to grow your practice.

      Check out the telemedicine article here. It is not difficult. Let me know if you need one on one assistance.

  5. Justin,
    Forgive this simple question. Are you specifically speaking about multiple side businesses as a practicing NP..or are you talking about diversifying into multiple businesses outside of the medical establishment?
    Enjoy your site

  6. Hi Justin! I am a resident surgeon ENT Head & Neck at Lahore, Pakistan. I started a GP clinic in a less fortunate (wealth wise) area of the city. I have been trying to run the clinic for the past year but with no profit or autopilot status. Recently I have been thinking to close my setup because I am pouring money into the clinic from my pocket.
    There were sometimes when the clinic touched the autopilot status, but it kept on falling.
    Would you mind suggesting whether I should close the setup or keep it running for some time?

    1. Hi Dr Basit! In my opinion, a dead horse is a dead horse. If after 6-12 months a business is still in the red and not generating a profit, even after adequate marketing and cutting expenses, then it is time to close and move onto the next venture. This is fine as 90% of small businesses fail. What separates the successful entrepreneur from the failures are the ones that keep going/trying. My first business failed as well. Get back up and try again. You will hit “gold” if you keep trying as you learn more and more from each venture. Best of luck!

  7. Hi Justin! I started a small gp clinic in a remote area where there are already 5 doctors. Will be starting pharmacy too it’s like small pharmacy. It’s been 3 days here. And zero patients I’m falling apart. And overthinking that I shouldn’t have done this job was best option. Will I earn or not? Should I wait? Or what? It’s getting onto my nerves thinking that would I be successful or not?

    1. 3 days is nothing….. you won’t know until 3 months in. Your focus right now should be marketing marketing marketing. Get the word out.

  8. Hi Justin,
    I’m an FNP and opened a primary care/family practice clinic in January…its now June, and I can’t say that I have any regular stream of patients coming in. Unfortunately trusted non-medical people to help me get started, and I feel I’m in a mess now. I came from another practice to start my own, and 37 of my insured patients wanted to come with me. Yet here I am on my 2nd credentialing company d/t the 1st one submitting me as the wrong specialty. I have a FB page and an IG, and have been going to networking mtgs, but what else can I do for marketing?! I have a PRN job to help hold it down, but am feeling discouraged. I’m not ready to shut it down! I appreciate your thoughts!

    1. I would recommend going through our marketing tips but you have to make it as easy as possible for patients to find you. Have you optimized your SEO and Google Business listing?

      1. Yes, I believe so. My clinic is one of the first that shows up when you start typing the name. Ok, I’ll look into the marketing tips! I’m working on a cash pay price sheet as well; wanted to hand it out to the grocery stores and hotels surrounding me. Thanks so much!

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