What Is a Niche Practice?

dice with and arrow sticking out of one

Tips to continue growing your practice’s value

By Lisa Mackell, MPT

Welcome to Niche Nook

A new column dedicated to niche practices that will appear monthly in 2023! This column will alternate each month between tips for a niche business and a niche success story.

In this first column, we will dive into defining a niche practice.

According to Oxford Language, a niche is a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service. Whether you started your business as a niche practice, such as pediatrics and aquatics, or added a niche service to your already existing practice, such as Pilates, you have made the decision to set your practice apart from others, offering specialized services to your patients and clients.

In a June 2022 article by MEG Business,1 they note that practice owners typically provide niche services for three possible reasons:

  1. Capture an untapped market or create a powerful differentiator from local competition
  2. Leverage an expertise and passion for your niche
  3. To appeal to a specific market.

We are in a time when practices may be experiencing lower than normal business, still bouncing back from the pandemic. Adding a niche service or appealing to a niche market can significantly increase your revenue. However, how do you determine what your niche should be?

First, explore your passions. What types of patients/conditions/services seem to appeal to you? Is there a need in your area for these services? Is it experience or specialized training that is required to provide these niche services? Are there practitioners available in your area to hire with the skills to provide these services?

Once you determine the niche service you want to provide, be sure to explore reimbursement options. If you already are, or plan to be, a cash-based business, it is as simple as determining the cost for your services. However, if you are primarily reimbursed by third party payers, be sure to investigate reimbursement for these new niche services. You may have the option to add non-reimbursed services to your menu as cash additions, but are you in an area with a population that will pay for them?

Niche practices also have unique marketing needs. Promoting your niche service or practice simply takes focused and direct attention to what sets you apart from your competition. Patients with specific needs want to know that you can walk your talk and have the staff and skills to provide what you say your practice offers. Develop deliverables and in-services about your niche services with true patient stories and evidence-based research to share with your referral sources.

Lastly, exceed the expectations of your customers by not only delivering what you say you can deliver, but do so with extraordinary customer service, kindness, and exceptional value. We all know in private practice that our best referral source is word of mouth and ensuring that our clients are extremely satisfied with our niche service helps ensure our success.

Find your passion, do the work, be brave, and go niche!!! Good luck!


1MEG Business. “How to Go Niche With Your Physical Therapy Private Practice.” Published June 14,2022. https://www.megbusiness.com/how-to-go-niche-with-your- physical-therapy-private-practice/

Lisa Mackell, MPT, is the founder/retired president of the Theraplay Family of Companies, providers of children’s physical, occupational, speech, and educational services with 32 centers across four states. Lisa is an Impact Editorial Board Member, and past APT Private Practice CSM Program Workgroup Chair and APTA PA Pediatric SIG Chair. Lisa has given workshops at APTA Private Practice, CSM, and APTA PA conferences. Lisa also serves on two non-profit boards and is an adjunct professor at two institutions.

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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