How To Start a Nutrition Private Practice: Part 2

Setting up a private practice is hard work! There are so many options, it’s overwhelming. Without guidance, sorting through all the noise to find the information that actually applies to you is nearly impossible.

This is our second post outlining the high-level steps you'll need to get started on the right path. In upcoming weeks, we’ll expand on some details, and lay out the next steps. If you need a refresher on the jargon, check out our guide to nutrition billing terms.

Since we're continuing from last week's post-  Nutrition Private Practice: Part 1, let's begin where we left off.

4. Get an NPI. 

To take care of HIPAA requirements, you'll have to get an NPI. You can sign up for a personal or organizational NPI from the NPPES site.

At Healthy Bytes, we can take care of this step for you with our contracting service.

5. Start the insurance process. (As soon as you can)

Insurance companies are notoriously slow. Be prepared for this multi-step process to take up to 6 months. Once you have your W-9 form, as well as license and liability insurance in place, you are ready to start! 

Insurance is a two phase process:

  1. Credentialing
  2. Contracting

If you're using the Healthy Bytes contracting service, we'll take care of this for you.

Prefer the DIY approach? Follow our blog in the next few weeks as we delve deeper in to the insurance process.

6. Establish your private practice policies and gather on-boarding paperwork.

A clear set of practice policies will help you avoid awkward conversations later on when issues inevitably crop up.

Here are a few things to consider (it's by no means a conclusive list):

  • What do you do if your client cancels 20 min before their appointment?
  • What do you do if they do this 3 times in a row?
  • What if the client gives you the wrong insurance info, and the insurance company doesn't pay? Who's responsible for the bill?

In addition to your private practice polices, you'll need a HIPAA waiver and insurance information. As you grow your practice, you'll also want to keep track of basic client demographic information and may need to include other forms for client on-boarding. Do you want all clients to fill out a 24 hour recall or FFQ? Would you like a medical history form completed?

We recommend putting all of this together in a simple (ideally electronic) packet that you can ask new clients to complete and sign.

7. Establish your web presence.

Create a website. We love Squarespace for this, but it still takes some technical skill to use (despite the ads). List your business on Google. Start researching SEO. We will be doing a series on this in the future. Stay tuned!

8. Find your network. 

Starting a business is a great endeavor, but it isn't all fun and games! A reliable network of experienced folks can get you through the tough times, and help you avoid common pitfalls. Join a network early! 

At Healthy Bytes, we're compiling a list of useful networks for dietitians, and would love to hear about your favorite one at

We're also gauging interest in creating a community here! If this is something you're interested in, please join our group below. We'll send out a list of recommended networks, and keep you posted on the Healthy Bytes community as well.