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So, a group of us are interested in starting a co-op for therapist, and I would love to pick the brain for someone who has started one.  I have a ton of questions, (ok not a ton but you know...).  

How is a co-op started?

Do you have a template of a co-op plan?

Would you be willing to share a copy of by-law?

How is the lease of the building handled?

How is membership handled?

How are membership meeting handled?

What are some of the downsides to co-ops?

How do co-ops compare to S-Corps or LLC's?

And so on...

Thanks for your time and help!!!

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I have seen a co-op form, operate for a short time and fail. It turned out that after the therapists got together, no one wanted to lead or make a decision.

In your case, I would define all the vague terminology you are using and put everything in writing. You should look at the agricultural model of how a co-operative works or a CSA for inspiration. There is a co-op taxi service in Madison, WI.

You may want to form a co-operative and have a few therapists interested, but you will still need to have a person or people in charge of the day-to-day operations. Will that be you? Will you hire a manager/receptionist? Will you accept insurance and have to hire someone to do claims? Will you hire therapists? What do you do with therapists who can't buy in to the membership or want to remain employees/independent contractors? Etc. etc. I haven't even touched on marketing/advertising or even doing the laundry. Define this and put it all in writing. Keep the language simple and have the info ready for potential members.

Right now you have a good idea. Now it is time to bring that idea out of the clouds and anchor it in concrete, tangible, easy-to-understand terms. As you word it now, it sounds like a partnership or a corporation. Time to refine that. Good luck.


I have worked as a sole proprietor and as an independent contractor successfully for almost 10 years. In that time, I have been approached several times to form a partnership or corporation, but have shied away because the terms were never defined. The language used was similar to what you have listed above. I wasn't born a lawyer. If you can't KISS it better for me, you won't be able to sell me on your co-op model as it stands now..

Just my opinion.

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