Are you looking for a therapy room in London? Let me share some tips on how to find one that is right for you.
London is an exciting city when it comes to creating and running a health and therapy business. If you are a freelance therapist in London, there are many possibilities to find therapy rooms and offices to work from. There are also many opportunities to work with clients from all backgrounds. This is why I have always loved having this city as my base! I learned SO much by working in this vibrant and diverse city.
Let me share some tips and factors to reflect on when you are starting your search for a therapy space in London. At the bottom, I have also included some websites for your search.
Some things to consider before your search
Every therapy centre will have its own ways/policies of working with the therapists who use their therapy rooms. One thing that I find to be helpful to do is to be very clear about what your needs are as a therapist – and what your clients need too. It often does take time to find the perfect spot but when you do, it is worth the effort!
Are you working part-time or full-time?
My experience as a therapist in London and working with other therapists is that many of us work part-time when it comes to actually seeing our clients for in-person sessions. The reason for this is simply because most clients work throughout the day so clients are usually available during out-of-office hours (lunchtime, evenings and weekends). This does not mean that we are not working during the other times as there are so many other areas of our business to put our energy into (marketing, website, writing, online therapy etc). Now that most of us are used to working online, this can offer a different way of working.
Online therapy has changed everything. It has been an option for a long time now but since the pandemic, more people are now used to doing their meetings online – which includes therapy sessions. This has given therapists much more freedom to choose how they work and where their clients are. This also means that your clients can have therapy sessions with you much more easily throughout the day. It is a convenient option for both sides and cuts out the need to commute, pay for travel etc. Consider how this can work for you and your clients. If you already have a client base, ask them how they feel about this when you meet them in person or through your online connections to them (your email list, online survey etc). This can often mean that working full-time is much easier for everyone. This can truly transform the way you work and how often you need to book a physical therapy room.
Which work setting do you prefer? The clients and your niche will often be part of your decision. Having a niche can make it easier to share your services with the right potential clients and the work environment.
Location is everything when it comes to working in such a big city. London offers many different locations and options. Some examples – If you work only with office workers, then it makes sense to be in areas where your clients work and see you during their lunch breaks or directly after work. If your clients are students, then your location could be on campus or nearby where students can have easy access to see you. If you work with new parents, you may find therapy centres where they have mother/father groups.
If you work online (fully or partially), your location may not be important because as long as you have a quiet space and a good internet connection, you can work from anywhere. As I mentioned earlier, this has changed the way therapists and clients meet for sessions. If you do decide to work from home, setting up your home office is a good idea for organisation and having a professional setting.
Adhoc/hourly or block bookings
Prices often change depending on peak and off-peak times. One thing that I have found to be true for many places is that off-peak rates tend to be during office hours and sometimes at the weekends. From 5 or 6pm onwards during the weekdays, the price may be more expensive. This varies for each therapy space but as a general rule, this is common to find.
Block bookings and fixed time slots also depend on the therapy space. Most places prefer to have fixed set times each week for their therapists to work. It makes sense because this is clearer for the schedule of the therapy space and for their clients to know who/when a therapist is available. Generally, this means that many spaces encourage block bookings each week. If you already have existing clients and you want to gain more clients through the therapy space, it can be a good thing. However, if you are a new therapist and your client numbers change each week, it may mean that you have booked time slots with no clients.
If you are looking for a flexible option, check that the therapy space that you are interested in offers Adhoc/hourly flexible bookings – This means that you can book with them (usually through their online schedule system or at reception) when you have a client – There is less commitment to book and time slots can easily change each week. The advantage is that if you are a new therapist, you only book the room when you need it – The disadvantage is that if the therapy space operates fully or partially with ad-hoc therapists, then there is a lot of completion to book the time slots you may want. For example – In one therapy clinic I was using, it was a space for completely independent therapists to work from and on an ad-hoc basis – Booking peak times became very competitive, even to the point where therapists booked in advance and cancelled 24 hours before (part of their cancellation policy for therapists) which meant that the other therapists could not book until they cancelled. It can be tricky if there are a big group of therapists doing the same thing.
Marketing & Client Bookings
A good question to ask – Does your therapy centre offer marketing and booking options for their existing clients? Some places do and some don’t. If you work from a place where they don’t, it usually means that their therapists work independently – so each therapist will do their own marketing, bookings and contact with clients. If they do share marketing and bookings with the therapy centre’s clients, some places may charge a small fee to contribute towards this.
A good piece of advice that someone gave me many years ago… I would also like to share it and recommend this too: Regardless of whether a therapy centre does/doesn’t help by marketing your services to their clients, it is essential to always do our own marketing/bookings and build our own client base too. This is because if you do decide to change therapy spaces, it may mean that you could lose your clients if you solely rely on their clients.
Do you have your paperwork ready?
Yes, paperwork! Not my favourite part of running a business as a freelance therapist but still essential. If you are visiting any therapy centre, bring your paperwork with you – The basics: Your ID, your qualifications and your Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover your professional services. I often bring photocopies of these too. If you do not have your insurance papers up-to-date, therapy centres will most likely not accept you, no matter how experienced or qualified you are. They need to know that you are covered and responsible for your services to the public and as a freelance therapist.
Focus on your vision during your search
Am I being interviewed? Over the last 20 years, I have literally visited 100s of therapy spaces in London and different cities for seeing my clients and doing g workshops. My experiences in London tend to be formal visits, often feeling like I am in an interview setting. This could be because the spaces I have worked from are mainly in the primary business districts of London. However, this has often been true when I worked in areas that are part of active creative communities. Although visiting a therapy centre is not an interview, the person who greets you will still be interested to get to know you and who you are. They will want to see if you are suitable to be part of their team, even if you are all working as independent therapists. Making a good impression and treating it as a professional meeting is a good way to approach it.
Keep focused on your needs. As with many professional meetings where we want to make a good impression, I often find that it is easy to lose focus on why we are there in the first place. Even when this is a professional meeting, remember to stay focused on the different areas that matter to you and your clients. Sometimes, the person who meets you may also be focused on selling their therapy space to you.
✅ Have is a list of the practical things you may need for your sessions:
- Equipment available for therapists
- Reception services
- Lighting and temperature of the room
- Amount of preparation time you can use before/after your sessions
- Wheelchair accessibility
- Noise levels – soundproofing and general noise from inside and outside the therapy centre
- How many therapists work in the same space and what other therapies do they offer
- Cancellation policy and a copy of their contract
My advice is to write your questions and key points down so you have something to refer to in your first meeting. Also, along with the practical points, do trust your instinct and how it feels to you – Don’t rush to make decisions or sign anything until you have time to read and consider it properly. You can always ask them to send you the details and paperwork by email so you have time to read and think about it. At the end of the day, you are going to invest time, money and energy in this space… so it has to feel good for you!