Getting ready to open my solo practice, part 2: business license and reflection

February 20, 2011: I’ve been waiting to submit this application forever.  In Santa Clara, you’re not allowed to apply for a business license until you’re actually open for business.  You have 30 days within starting the business to pay your dues.  Otherwise, the penalties are 100% of  the license fees, which actually isn’t so bad.  Including fire inspection, my business license will cost me $77.  It sounds like it will take 4 to 8 weeks to get a business license issued.

Each city has a different set of rules, so you’ll have to check with your city regarding business license protocol.  For example, in San Jose (I’m in Santa Clara), I heard that your business license must be in place on opening day, which is the complete opposite of Santa Clara.  You can find this information on most cities’ websites, and you’ll also probably be able to print out an application online as well.

I wasn’t able to apply for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) because I didn’t have a business license.  Well, that’s a moot point now because I’ve decided not to take Medi-Cal.  At this point, I’m thinking that the more lower paying plans I take, the higher the likelihood I may be cornered into becoming a high volume practice, which goes against why I’m going into solo practice in the first place.

Howie’s note: search your state, county and city websites for permits. The city of Goodyear requires a $75/ year business permit fee. The state of Arizona requires you to have a TPT (transactional privilege tax) license if you’re selling any products from your office. In Arizona you don’t need a business license to apply for Medicaid.

February 18, 2011: My idea of taking a break from working on my practice: studying for written boards next month.

February 26, 2011: I’m scheduled to give a talk on starting a solo practice to the Stanford ophthalmology residents on Tuesday.  (thanks to the former alum who found me through my blog).  I’m in the middle of preparing my powerpoint presentation.  As I browse through my all my old posts,  I can’t help but realize how much I’ve accomplished over this past year!  I’ve definitely learned A LOT.  It’s so funny how all these little baby steps culminated into the big picture.  Had I known what I know now, I might have been too intimidated to take on this challenge.  I guess a decent amount of ignorance ended up being healthy.

February 27, 2011: I’m never going to leave my office tonight.  I’m opening in 2 days, and there’s still so much housekeeping to do.  At least I can say that I’m an autoclave guru now.  The autoclave was surprisingly easy to use.  What was unexpectedly difficult to operate was my popcorn machine.  I had to burn through 2 packs before I figured out how to make uncharred popcorn.  I’m so glad the smoke detector didn’t go off, which probably would have brought in the fire department.  How embarrassing would that have been.  My whole office now even smells like a movie theater, which is awesome.  I also watched a little of Megamind today in the dilation area with a box of popcorn in my hand.  It really does feel like a mini movie theater!

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