Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Business Talk: Career change

Anthony Lombardi   

Features Opinion annex careers

5 business options to consider outside chiropractic

Rising business costs, government mandated minimum wage increases, hikes in chiropractic licence fees, spikes in our association premiums, cut-backs by insurance companies and changes in the auto injury guidelines – these are only some of the barriers chiropractors have to deal with when running their practice. These obstacles are enough to drive the most successful practices out of business.

These hurdles are no different than the plights of any business owners and are only part of the reason why some chiropractors are looking to make a career change. The truth is, no matter how well things are going, these “nickel and dime” expenses are enough to motivate even the most successful DCs to leave the profession.

It is healthy for us to at least imagine what we would do should we decide to change careers and exit chiropractic. I have no plans to leave the profession – but I have seriously researched other business opportunities. If you are thinking about leaving the profession, then doing your homework is essential to making a smooth successful transition.


Here are five business alternatives to consider.

That’s right. I am not referring to a Motel 6 or some other franchise. I mean one of those “mom and pop” motels that have 20 to 30 rooms. In the U.S., the average room rate is about US$60 during high season and most of these motels are located on main stretches of road, which motorists have to travel along to reach fairs, swap-meets, and car shows. Further, gamers need a place to stay during the various openings of hunting and fishing season. With the widespread use of the internet, there will be no shortage of customers, and during the winter season, you can rent the rooms by the week for $75 to $85 or $250 per month to cover your expenses.

Movie theatre
Owning a small private cinema away from large metropolitan cities can be very profitable. These theatres have two to four viewing rooms which seat a maximum of 60 people. The key to success is to carry movies that were released two or three months ago. This way you pay minimal licensing fees to the studio who made the film – yet it’s still recent enough that people would consider seeing it. Furthermore, theatres provide additional avenues to generate income as the markup on popcorn, snacks and fountain drinks are over 1,000 per cent. Many people, my wife and I included, enjoy going to the movies even though technologies and devices exist to enable viewing newly released movies on TV. Going to the movies is a night out and people who live in medium size cities appreciate and utilize this service.

Everyone needs to wash their clothes and new research suggests that people of all socio-economic backgrounds are using laundromats. The attraction is that laundromats can be open 24/7 and they deal exclusively with cash. The machines are leased so that when they breakdown the repairs are warranted and some laundromats run themselves with change and product dispensing machines without the need for any regular on-duty staff. If you keep the place clean and machines maintained, you will attract repeat customers.

Dry cleaners
Steven V. Dubin from reports that in North America the largest percentage of millionaires are owners of dry cleaning businesses. This was confirmed by three financial consultants I spoke to in the Greater Toronto Area. A record number of people earning above the national average are using dry cleaners because they simply do not have the time or the skill to wash and neatly press their clothes. Dry cleaners can buy or lease the equipment needed and pay a small staff minimum wage to run it. And, as long as your customers remain gainfully employed you will be servicing their clothes.

Hair salon
This is the business I would run if I left chiropractic. I would become a hairstylist and run my own salon because the chiropractic business and the hair business are very similar.

Like a chiropractor, the hairstylist needs to gain the trust of their client and that consumer relationship becomes stronger with every successful service. If you provide good work you will have these clients for many years and they will refer many new customers your way. In addition, as a salon owner, I could rent other chairs to other stylists and generate revenue from their work. Then I could add complimentary services like esthetics, waxing, and even RMT.

As chiropractors we become businessmen and businesswomen. Treating patients is less than half of what we do if we own and manage a chiropractic business. However, it is this experience that can prove vital if we look to transfer our skills to a business outside the health-care arena.

Dr. Anthony Lombardi is consultant to athletes in the NFL, CFL and NHL, and founder of the Hamilton Back Clinic in Hamilton, Ont. He teaches his fundamental EXSTORE Assessment System and conducts practice-building workshops to health professionals. Visit for information.

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