Hidden Startup Costs When Opening a Personal Injury Firm
Like most of us, you probably did what most attorneys do when planning a law firm. You created a list of costs so that you could plan out your monthly expenses. While there are many guides available to budget, every one's needs and tastes are different. Here are some tips when filling out your monthly cost estimates.
1. Office Supplies and Software. Make sure the obvious are there, case management, web and email hosting, computer, printer, scanner. Some not so obvious costs include:
Quickbooks or accounting software - quickbooks charges per month to use their service. However you decide to keep track of your finances, make sure you budget for the budget software.
Toner/Ink/Paper - but I'm paperless, you say. Sure you are, until a client wants a copy of something, or you need to go to court, or you want to print some documents for the mediator to review at mediation. These can add up, so make sure there is space in your budget for these costs.
Phone/fax - Most fax services charge a flat rate until you go over a certain number. Since most insurance companies don't allow email, or make it difficult to email, you will be faxing more than you think.
2. Meals and Entertainment - if you plan on speaking to literally anyone else in your industry, budget for lunches. It's how lawyers talk to each other. And you should be inviting others to lunch, as much as you can, especially in the beginning.
3. Case Expenses - Medical Records, Crash Reports, Investigations, Filing Fees, Depo Fees, Mediation Fees, etc. Litigation is costly. A good budget is $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 per case you file, if you are filing smaller personal injury cases that are referred by other firms.
While not an exhaustive list, (future post!), these reminders should help in creating that first budget.