Medical Billing Forum

Starting a Medical Billing Business => Starting Your Own Medical Billing Business => Topic started by: blhoffman on April 06, 2010, 10:36:51 PM

Title: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: blhoffman on April 06, 2010, 10:36:51 PM
I am working towards starting a medical billing company. I am aware that many individuals do it from home but I don't really have that as an option. I do not have the space in my own home and that leaves me with needing to rent an office space. BUT I'm a single mom, with one paycheck and 2 children.

I have looked into renting an office space. Keeping an eye out for anything close to home, and affordable. Is there anything I should know about renting an office space vs. doing home billing? Anyone that also has a rented office that has some words of advice or bewares?

Thanks,

Brenda
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: medauthor on April 06, 2010, 11:46:09 PM
Brenda,

I understand you feel that space is an issue in your home, but you can do billing from your bedroom or your kitchen table!  I am not advocating declaring this as an 'office' when filing taxes, however, you can absolutley still bill without having enough space or a separate room in your home.  In my opinion, renting office space is an un-necessary expense in so many ways at this point in your business: First, you say starting a business, so I am assuming you don't have your first client yet?  Second, you say "single mom with one paycheck"....so, I beg of you NOT to add the expense of an outside office at this point....I understand that the idea off renting office space may sound glamorous.....I know...I've rented office space before....and yes, it's nice decorating it....having a key, etc etc.....but when no money is coming in and you have to pay the rent every month.....the novelty begins to fade.....There are many of us 'home-based' billers by the true sense of the word who have and currently do bill sucessfully from home....again, by no means would I attempt to use your kitchen table and declare it as a separate home office on your taxes, God forbid you got audited.....but....take some time to re-think and save yourself some money as you venture into your new business!!  Much luck to you!
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: PMRNC on April 07, 2010, 06:15:39 AM
I have to agree. In just starting out you are looking at possibly 6 months and maybe longer before getting that first client.
I'm not sure I would setup a fax and computer in my bedroom but if you have space there, why not? OR if you definitely cannot do this from your home, what about renting some space from a friend in their home for a lower rent? I too don't think it would be wise to have the cost of a rented office when you are starting out.
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Michele on April 07, 2010, 07:02:28 AM
I agree with Linda & MedAuthor.  You can always rent an office when you get things rolling but you can't get your money back for rent.  Getting clients is the most important part of getting started.  Too many people spend all their time getting their 'ducks in a row' and run out of money before getting a client.  If at all possible, hold off until clients are in place.

Michele
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: blhoffman on April 07, 2010, 10:32:27 AM
I fully agree with what everyone is saying except for one little thing - HIPAA. I do not have the space or locked door for compliance. Kids come and go and may see things. I have a large family that drops by all the time.

It doesn't matter if they are my children or family. PHI is need to know basis for purpose of paying the claim or for medical treatment - any other individual viewing someone else's PHI is in violation of HIPAA.

I have a gentleman talked into two months free rent on an office space. In exchange I lay new carpet and paint. Which I have brothers who will do that for me. I'm looking at it again today with a brother who will do the carpet laying if I decide to take the space. I haven't signed the lease yet.


Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: PMRNC on April 07, 2010, 02:56:42 PM
You know, your going to do very well because you are absolutely right. It's not like you can store records under the bed.. But what you could do is wait out your marketing efforts from home, you don't have to worry about protecting documents until you get that first client.. 2 months free rent is good deal, but like I said, it can be months and even a year or more before you land that first client. Of course that doesn't mean you won't land one right away, I'm all for the power of positive thinking! Was just trying to think of some things you could do to save a few dollars while you are waiting for income to come in. Have you looked into a small business loan that might be able to put up some capital funds to help you until revenue kicks in? Check also for small business start up grants too. Another thing you need to consider is that if you get the office space, right off the bat you are going to need insurance ..another cost you could hold off on if you stayed at home until you establish at least that first client.  Just some thoughts.
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: blhoffman on April 07, 2010, 10:20:16 PM
This is all true. To tell the truth I am very nervous about signing a lease.

If you work from home, do you put your home address on the website, in the phonebook, and marketing materials? What about phone number and fax?

I guess what worries me too is that if I get a second phone line and use my address and get a fax, I will get a client. Which is great - except - I will then have to rent a space and change my address, change my phone number and fax number.

Anyone have any suggestions to this? I REALLY would love to hear it. Please help. Thanks.
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Meli on April 07, 2010, 11:01:46 PM
I had some of the same thoughts when I went through my start up process.  My business address is actually a UPS mailbox at my local location.  The mailbox number can be used as a suite number so it doesn't look as postal.  When I moved into office space I still keep that same address because I don't have to worry about deliveries etc and I like the fact that if a patient decide to drop by for a visit because of a bill they received (rightly so) and didn't like I don't have to deal with that interruption.  If you go with a phone service like Voice Nation or ring central (only 2 I could think of off the top of my head - I use Voice Nation) you won't have to worry about changing your phone number and the prices are reasonable.  Your phone service can follow you.  Hope this helps....
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: blhoffman on April 07, 2010, 11:21:05 PM
Thank you. That actually does help a whole lot. Everyone here has been very helpful and it has all been great advice. Thanks.
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on April 08, 2010, 06:02:48 AM
This is all true. To tell the truth I am very nervous about signing a lease.

If you work from home, do you put your home address on the website, in the phonebook, and marketing materials? What about phone number and fax?

I guess what worries me too is that if I get a second phone line and use my address and get a fax, I will get a client. Which is great - except - I will then have to rent a space and change my address, change my phone number and fax number.

Anyone have any suggestions to this? I REALLY would love to hear it. Please help. Thanks.

The one thing that I do regret is not getting a post office box. Using my home address it can be "google" mapped and people can clearly see I work out of my home. I NEVER lie if they ask me, but I just dont' tell them that I do. I am personally going to rent office space when I do get more steady in the business and have maintained a certain level for a certain period of time. My reason is I just prefer to "leave" home to work. The idea of "work from home" is great, but its not as glamorous as some think it can be. Too many times I can take it too casual being at home ....
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Michele on April 08, 2010, 06:58:49 AM
A bunch of great suggestions.  I just have one to add.  You can get a file cabinet that locks so PHI can be protected in your home.  Not sure if you have the space for even a file cabinet, but it is an option.  You don't have to put the info in clothes boxes under the bed. 

Best of luck!

Michele
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: DMK on April 08, 2010, 10:43:28 AM
Locking file cabinet, or locking desk for PHI.  Also it's important to teach your kids about privacy anyway, this could be an important learning experience for all.

Since HIPAA was enacted I actually started looking when I go into doctor's offices.  It's interesting that you would have to REALLY look to get much info.  It seems like it's more about protecting the information from being misused by bad employees.

However, I drove by one doctor's office and the biller's office was one of the front windows.  The files were right at eye level when you parked your car, no filing cabinet, just bookshelves with all those patient names right there in front of you.  I almost felt like calling them and letting them know how visible their patient info was.  I realize it's just a name, but where HIPAA and Medicare are concerned, it's enough to get fined!  Scary!
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: medauthor on April 08, 2010, 02:00:08 PM
Quote
Too many times I can take it too casual being at home ....

Don't you worry Pay_My_Claims....I'm here to be on you about that!!!
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: medauthor on April 08, 2010, 02:11:48 PM
Quote
Locking file cabinet, or locking desk for PHI.  Also it's important to teach your kids about privacy anyway, this could be an important learning experience for all.

Excellent point!
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on April 08, 2010, 03:33:44 PM
Quote
Too many times I can take it too casual being at home ....

Don't you worry Pay_My_Claims....I'm here to be on you about that!!!

I need it.....with all the growing that is going on..I have to stay focused or lose my dreams to being slothful!!
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on April 08, 2010, 03:34:12 PM
Quote
Locking file cabinet, or locking desk for PHI.  Also it's important to teach your kids about privacy anyway, this could be an important learning experience for all.

Excellent point!

Yeah I keep my drawers on lock....he he he
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: blhoffman on April 08, 2010, 04:12:23 PM
I turned down the rental space today. Thanks to all the suggestions I'm going to check out a few alternatives.
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: DMK on April 08, 2010, 05:03:08 PM
You can do it!!!!!
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on April 08, 2010, 06:25:07 PM
I turned down the rental space today. Thanks to all the suggestions I'm going to check out a few alternatives.

You are welcome. I have been working from home since June 09 (preparing for opening since 02/09). I got my first client 09/09. My second client was 01/10, third & 4th client 03/10, (Although 1 isnt' open yet), my 5th client (possibly today*fingers crossed), and I have a 6th one pending. I have yet to have an issue with PHI. My faxes come to my pc (ring central), and any invoices that I have to print get filed in a drawer, but I really don't have to do that. I save them to a stick and keep them. Don't get so caught up in the PHI where you OVERTHINK it. Its very good that you are aware and on top of the legal issues involved. I'm either moving to a 4bedroom this summer to convert 1 bedroom into an office, or I am thinking of renting office space by 06/01/10 (my one year anniversary). I have to (for me) be able to seperate the "home" from the job. Having my office no where near the "home" works best for me. I am leaning towards the office do, more so for marketing on my end. It is in a very lucrative medical office park in Cary NC. Cary, for those not from here is synonymous with money. 
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Meli on April 08, 2010, 09:56:51 PM
That's great Charlene!  I moved into a larger home with a dedicated office in November 09.  Opened for business in October 09, 1st client in November, 2nd client in March and ummmm where's the rest of my clients?  I'm working on it. Seems really slow but I must admit it gives me time to create best practices and get a workflow down to maximize my time.  Looking forward to an office space when I can also.  I like the flexibility but kind of miss leaving the house for work. 
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Alice Scott on April 09, 2010, 05:29:07 AM
Both of you are off to a great start.  It is not easy to find those first clients.  It's good for newbies to see the reality of this business so they can prepare properly.  Believe me, once you get going the new clients come a lot easier.  Keep up the great work!
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on April 09, 2010, 06:39:36 AM
Thanks Alice, and congrats MS. What newbies need to remember is that clients don't seek you out..you have to SEEK them!! I have had several to email me about what can they do, how does this work or other requests. I have been assisting LONG before I got my first client. I had one lady I helped and she BLEW up quick. It all happens in time. What will not happen is sitting back just "dreaming" about what you are going to do and not doing it. Faith without works is DEAD!! Not only did I believe that I could do it, I worked at doing it. Michelle Rimmer from the PMBA can tell you how many nights I was up trying to either market, or learn the ropes for the PIA client I had just landed. Either she was helping me, or I was helping her. These forums are especially great as well, but some people use them as a crutch. They are like anything else, a tool to help you build and grow, but it is up to you to tighten the screws. When I see people grow, I get just as excited for them. What does bother me, is those that grow, but never look back!! They join the forums, get help and BOUNCE. Never once thinking about the help they received and offering to help someone else. The industry can support us all.
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Michele on April 09, 2010, 07:08:08 AM
You're right Charlene.  These forums are a great tool, and even though I consider myself 'experienced' I still learn new things every day.  We had such a hard time finding help when we started that we decided to dedicate ourselves to helping others.  There's a medical provider on every street corner and all up and down the blocks in between.  The industry CAN support us all!  Of course it's survival of the fittest, I don't like the billing services that are in it solely for the money (because obviously any one doing this for a living is in it to some point for the money) and do a really crappy job because they don't really care.  But they wouldn't bother to take the time to be members of forums now would they!   ;)

Michele
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: blhoffman on April 09, 2010, 08:39:16 AM
In the last ten years I have worked for health insurance and dental insurance companies for customer/ provider services and claims processing. I have been to a medical billing and coding class. I have received my insurance sales license for the entire east coast in health, long-term care and annuities. I have worked in billing and during this time not once did I think about starting my own billing company.

I love to learn new things which is why I stay in this field. I love having a problem and researching for the answer. I love winning appeals. I love having the inside scoop on some processes that go into claims.

It wasn't until my current job, medical billing and collecting for a HHC agency that I entertained the idea of staring a billing company of my own. Since then the idea has stuck until I found myself spending months researching, crunching numbers and deciding how to do it and what I need to do to make it work. Its scary because its not a familiar paycheck every two weeks but its exciting too.
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: DMK on April 09, 2010, 12:41:04 PM
Looks like this thread has changed paths a little, but I love it.  You guys are so great!  Reinforcing known rules, redirecting procedures that could be better, and the support that we all have bumps in the road!

I would like to encourage all billers, whenever they get the chance, to educate friends and families about the ins and outs of health care billing and insurance benefits and payments.  There's a notion in the general public that health care costs are "escalating out of control".  The general public knows nothing about allowed amounts and write offs, copays and deductibles.  They don't realize that providers are hit with higher and higher costs to do business and yet they're being cut every year by the insurance companies. 

We, as responsible billers have to make sure the doctors bill correctly (ethically, morally), the insurance companies pay correctly (per their contract with the doctor and the patient), and that the patient pays their portion appropriately.  We're kind of watch dogs, aren't we?

Ok, I'm stepping off the soap box now.  But we can educate people in our own areas and like ripples on the water, it'll get around!

Have a great weekend everyone!  Thanks for being there!
Title: Re: Office Space vs. Home Office
Post by: Pay_My_Claims on April 09, 2010, 01:39:54 PM
You are welcome DMK!