Q: How is Thriveworks different from other counseling practices?

A: At Thriveworks centers, we’re focused on providing the best possible customer service, and making sure clients receive exceptional clinical care. We don’t know anyone who even comes close. On the clinical side, we recruit the best clinicians we can find, and then help them to exceed their own expectations though excellent professional development. On the customer service side, over 97% of sessions begin on time or early, calls to our offices are answered in under a minute (even in the evenings, even on weekends), our offices are custom designed for client comfort, clients can reach their counselor or coach by phone or email (even if they don’t have a session scheduled), and the list goes on and on. You can learn more by reading about “The Thriveworks Difference” on our website.


Q: What are the steps to becoming a franchisee?

A: While the steps to becoming a franchisee can vary slightly case-by-case, here’s how the process of becoming a franchisee typically goes.

  1. A prospective franchisee reviews all the information on our website, at Thriveworks.com/counseling-franchise/ and takes the online tour (hey, you’re probably doing that right now J)
  2. The candidate completes our Request for Consideration (RFC), which can be found at the end of the tour.
  3. The candidate may join a group call or webinar.
  4. We’ll schedule a 1-on-1 call where we’ll get to know the prospective franchisee, his/her goals and expectations. At the same time, the prospective franchisee asks any questions he/she has about Thriveworks, and the franchise opportunity.
  5. At the conclusion of the call, we might schedule a time for the prospective franchisee to visit our headquarters (also known as a “discovery day”). During his/her visit, the prospective franchisee can explore an active Thriveworks counseling center, and also meet with our vast support teams including: scheduling, billing, human resources, recruiting, marketing, web/tech, accounting/finance, franchisee mentorship and growth, and others. The prospective franchisee can tour our entire facility and ask any questions he/she might have.
  6. Next, we might send the candidate our Federal Disclosure Document (FDD). This document is about 100 pages (every U.S. franchise is required to have and FDD). It addresses many details including costs associated with opening a Thriveworks center, and the legal terms of our Franchise Agreement. We will typically issue an FDD when a prospective franchisee is ready to print and read it in its entirety, and have it reviewed by their legal counsel. The franchisee must wait 14 days after receiving this document before signing.
  7. We will schedule another call, were the prospective franchisee can ask any questions they might have about the content of the FDD. It’s at this time that a prospective franchisee will typically know if he/she is ready to become an official Thriveworks franchisee.
  8. At this point, a prospective franchisee might ask to speak to other Thriveworks franchisees. We will setup introductions with any franchisees the prospective would like to talk with. These calls usually take about an hour each.
  9. The next step is for the candidate to sign and return the franchise paperwork along with the initial franchise fee.
  10. Finally, the prospective franchisee attends training at Thriveworks HQ, and upon completion of training they are officially a Thriveworks franchisee!


Q: How much training and mentorship do franchisees receive?

A: For Thriveworks franchisees, training and mentorship are bottomless!

Training starts with a 2.5 day orientation in person at Thriveworks headquarters. During this initial orientation, you’ll get Thriveworks 400+ page operations manual, and access to our franchise intranet that has literally thousands of pages of documents and includes everything from print-on-demand promotion materials, to employment contracts, to sample client intake paperwork.

After that, you’ll be connected with an experienced mentor. You’ll have scheduled weekly meetings, as well as be touching base throughout the week by phone, video, or text message. Your weekly meetings will occur indefinitely, or until you opt for less frequent meetings (usually after about 6 month’s franchisees will move to bi-weekly appointments).

You’ll also have access to Thriveworks team at large including our in-house recruiters, HR professionals, marketers, billers, schedulers, healthcare executives, our finance department…basically the whole team! And you can contact them, anytime, if you have a question or need advice.

Next: The first Friday of every month we offer video training presentation, followed by a live Q&A videoconference. All franchisees are invited to this monthly training and discussion (It’s actually a lot of fun!).

Speaking of the franchise community, our franchisee discussion board is extremely active, with franchisees sharing experiences and asking questions, and just staying in touch with one another on a daily basis.

Also, every year we’ve has an event at Thriveworks HQ called “Thrivestock.” This is a type of homecoming for franchisees, and a time to celebrate, learn, reconnect face-to-face with team member, and present and learn from one another.

Basically, as a Thriveworks franchisee you never have to feel on your own, because there are lots of people available for advice and mentorship.


Q: What does it cost to start and run a Thriveworks office?

A: A Thriveworks office can be much more efficient and have substantially lower operation costs compared to what might be considered a “traditional” office.

There are many reasons for this:

Here’s just one: While a traditional office might employ fulltime office staff including a receptionist, scheduler and a medical biller, Thriveworks centers don’t require any hourly or salaried staff. Instead, administrative services are provided for you by our team, Headquartered in Virginia.

This means a practice isn’t beleaguered with expensive salaries.

This also means lower management costs, and lower real estate costs as a Thriveworks center can focus exclusively on counseling and coaching care, not administration.

Franchisees can expect their initial investment for converting a counseling practice to a Thriveworks practice to range between $25,700-$40,800. Starting a new counseling practice from scratch typically ranges from $47,100-$89,282. These estimated costs include the franchise fee and operational expenses and marketing for the first 3 months. It assumes that your practice is going to be helping clients, so clinician compensation is also included in those estimates.

In general, the cost of opening a Thriveworks practice is considered on the very affordable end for starting a franchise business.


Q: Do you use EHR/EMR (Electronic Health Records / Electronic Medical Records) system?
A: We do use an EMR/EHR. We utilize an excellent HIPAA-compliant EHR/EMR system that integrates clinical notes, medical billing, patient credit card payments, and scheduling (including online scheduling where clients can book or change an appointment time). It’s both robust and simple to use and learn.


Q: How much is the royalty? How does Thriveworks Franchising make money?

A: If you’re new to franchising, you may be wondering how a franchisor like Thriveworks Franchising, pays its bills. In any franchise system, franchisees pay a royalty, based on their revenue, to the franchisor. Our royalty is a modest 7%.


Q: I have a counseling/coaching practice now. Do I qualify as a conversion, or would I be considered a new location?

A: A great question! You’ve probably noticed that the initial franchise fee is $20,000 for a new location, and $10,000 to convert an existing practice. One would likely qualify as a conversion if they were running a counseling or coaching practice that was producing at least $350,000 a year in revenue and had also produced that amount in the previous year. Revenues of less than $350,000 would be considered a new practice.


Q: Does Thriveworks help me recruit providers?

A: Yes, we do help. Over many years, we’ve developed a rigorous and effective process for recruiting excellent team members that aren’t just a good clinical fit, but that are also a good cultural fit.

Franchisees benefit from both the recruiting techniques we’ve developed (which are vastly different from anything else we’ve seen in practice in the field), and also benefit from coaching and consulting they receive on the topic of recruiting and onboarding new counselors and coaches.


Q: Does Thriveworks help me get on insurance panels?

A: That’s a great question, because accepting clients’ insurance plans is an important way to make counseling affordable for clients. Thriveworks actually created a leading credentialing provider, Credentialing.com, and for close to a decade Credentialing.com has helped healthcare providers of many kinds, across the US, get in network with insurance plans. Because of this, Thriveworks franchisees receive a generous discount on their credentialing when they use Credentialing.com.


Q: Do Thriveworks centers practice a specific counseling method?

A: No, we do not. We have an overarching positive philosophy of care, and we’re dedicated to making certain that clients who choose Thriveworks receive both excellent customer service and excellent clinical care. That said, Thriveworks providers use the counseling methodologies in which they were professionally trained and licensed. For example, one clinician might use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), while another might work from more of a family systems approach or a psychodynamic approach. Many of the providers working in Thriveworks offices are eclectic in their counseling methodologies, using a variety of conventional, evidence-based, mental health counseling modalities.


Q: Why do I want to open a Thriveworks center?

A: A Thriveworks Center is a turn-key counseling and coaching practice, and the reasons to own one can be put into 2 buckets.

Bucket 1: Training and Mentorship, which is described in some depth under the question “How much training and mentorship do franchisees receive?”

Bucket 2: Robust Operations Systems and Technologies. Here are a just few things…

Scheduling: Most practices struggle to answer their phones. Even with a full-time receptionist, the hours of an active counseling office are usually 8am-9pm; one receptionist won’t be present during all hours. That’s not to mention vacations, sick time, PTO, and the fact that calls tend to come in waves, not drips. Calls get missed. Management gets overwhelmed. Turnover happens. Clients and counselors get frustrated. It’s a mess. Thriveworks has solved this with a state-of-the-art, professionally managed, HIPAA-compliant contact center. This isn’t an outsourced, overseas, contact center. It’s ours, build from scratch in Virginia, USA.

Medical Billing: Ever hear of the 80/20 rule? It applies to medical billing. 20% of insurance claims take 80% of the work. The problem is medical billing companies know this. If they get you 90% of the claims you file, they make 90% of their fee, but you go out of business (a 90% collection rate is death). At Thriveworks, we offer a great in-house billing option. 

Credentialing: Need help getting on insurance panels? We have you covered.

Website: The Thriveworks website is a powerful promotion tool. Search Knoxville counseling, Sandy Springs counseling, Grand Rapids counseling, Richmond counseling, Cambridge counseling, Charlottesville counseling, or anyplace we’ve been open for 6 months or more (there’s dozens of locations to choose from). You might find that we’re not just on the first page of Google, we’re number one, and in the maps, and with 5-stars next to our phone number!

Client Portal: Clients can book and reschedule their sessions online!

Environment: Thriveworks centers are professionally designed for client comfort and enjoyment. Even the art on the walls is custom made for our centers.

Discounts: Our size has economy of scale! Franchisees enjoy serious discounts: from furniture at wholesale, to lower credit card processing rates, to discounts on an industry leading EMR/EHR, and more.

Creative Technologies: Wouldn’t it be great if after a client’s first session he/she got a text where he/she could provide immediate feedback, and even rate his/her experience? It sounds like a fantasy. We have that. And a whole lot more.

These are just some of the reasons Thriveworks is such a fast-growing franchise concept!

Truly the most difficult thing about describing a Thriveworks franchise is that there is so many good and exciting things to discuss and describe, from our rigorous quality standards, to premium client offerings, to the way we try to create compelling careers for excellent providers. To keep learning more, continue to tour the franchise section of the Thriveworks website.


Q: How long does it take to open a Thriveworks location?

A: Usually about 90 days, but that can vary. The time it takes to open a new Thriveworks center, in large part, depends on the franchisee. There’s a lot to be done—from setting up business accounts and payroll, to hiring and onboarding clinicians. One of the steps in opening a practice that takes the most time is finding an office space that meets Thriveworks’ high quality standards, and waiting for the space to be prepared, or “built out,” in a way that best suits the needs of your new practice.


Q: What do you look for in a franchisee?

A: When meeting with a prospective franchisee, we want to learn what his/her goals are for both business and clinical practice. We want to make sure the Thriveworks model is a good fit for him/her, and that he/she is a good fit to own/operate a Thriveworks center. For example, if someone is wanting to open a solo-practice, a Thriveworks franchise isn’t a good fit as Thriveworks centers typically have 5-10 providers.

Business management and clinical experience (ideally holding a license in the mental health field) are both desirable, but not always necessary. We believe the most important characteristics of a new franchisee are coach-ability, curiosity, and a positive attitude.

Becoming a franchisee means joining the Thriveworks tribe! We’re going to be working together, and journeying together, for years to come, so we’re looking for persons we want to join with us on that journey.


Q: Do you help me choose a location and office?

A: Yes indeed! Choosing a location for your practice is an important decision, and we can help you in the selection of a protected territory. In addition, we’ll provide you consulting around the selection of an office space that will best help your practice retain providers, deliver quality services, and meet Thriveworks high quality standards. We’ll also be there to help you as you negotiate lease terms. In addition, we partner with a national real estate firms that can also assist you in your office search.


Q: I’m not ready to move forward right now, but I’m worried someone will open an office in the territory I want. Is there a way to reserve a territory?

A: Sorry, there is not a way to hold a territory. The need for high quality counseling is pressing, so we’re focused on helping motivated franchisees develop and grow new territories, not reserve them.


Q: How long does it take to become profitable?

A: As a franchise, there are some questions that we’re not legally allowed to answer, and that’s one of them. I can tell you this, we believe Thriveworks centers are uniquely positioned to offer excellent care to clients, and to operate successfully as a business

While a traditional practice might employ reception staff, billers, and have clinicians on salary, Thriveworks centers operate differently. Scheduling and billing are both pay-as-you-go. Also, most franchisees pay clinicians, not a salary but, a fee for services performed. What this means is that you may find that running a Thriveworks is lower cost, compared to other business models.


Q: How am I going to convince counselors to work at my center?

A: Thriveworks is successful because, not only does our practice model provide a desirable option for clients to receive counseling or coaching, but also because we’ve created a system where providers are supported, respected, competitively compensated, and have advancement opportunities. The Thriveworks approach to recruiting providers is to hire the best clinicians we can find, and provide them with the careers, and work experience, they dreamed of having when they were in graduate school. During training, we’ll show you how to use the Thriveworks model to provide highly competitive employment opportunities for providers in your area.


Q: Can an unlicensed person own a Thriveworks center?

A: Well you’re going to love this answer. Healthcare laws are complex, and they vary by state. You’re going to want to consult with a healthcare attorney in your area to determine how you might be able to organize a counseling practice.


Q: Is it unrealistic to think that someday I could own multiple locations?

A: Not at all! Many of our operators have expanded to multiple locations (it’s a happy day when someone who was nervous about opening his/her first location is confidently opening their second, or fifth!). We’ll want to work with you to make sure your first location is healthy and stable before you open your second—or 3rd, 4th, or 5th…


Q: Do Thriveworks centers have persons available for medication management?

A: Yes. Some, but not all, of our locations have a Psychiatrist or Nurse Practitioner (or several) to provide for medication management to clients in need.


Q: Can I speak with existing franchisees?

A: Of course! An important part of your due diligence process will be speaking with existing franchisees. Our franchisees have been extremely generous with their time, often spending about an hour with each new candidate. However, we receive a large number of inquiries from new prospective franchisees, so, to respect the time of our existing franchisees, the step of speaking with current operators is typically reserved for prospects who have completed our Request for Consideration (RFC), reviewed the Franchise Agreement, and are in the later stages of the vetting process. However, when the time comes, you can speak to any (or every) current Thriveworks franchisee.