The Throughlines Blog

A clinic owner’s dilemma – do I continue to DIY, hire someone, or outsource my reception tasks?

Business Growth, Client care, Communication, Efficiency, Productivity, Staff

Every health clinic reaches a crux in their front desk operations, usually within the first year of business:

Do I continue to DIY, hire someone, or outsource my reception role?

Deciding what to do can feel like a mammoth task. Let’s break down the pros and cons of these options, and gain some clarity around what’s best for you.

DIY (or DEY – Do Everything Yourself)

In a clinic, the ‘DIY’ option is the reflex action of most early-stage clinic owners. You have enthusiasm, drive and great talent, and you think you can do it all! Though for most owners, this soon becomes a burdensome habit. DIY leads at least, to fatigue, stress and lack of motivation, and at most, business closure.

DIY reception is best considered a ‘last resort’ for an allied health clinic. It may feel like a saving, but there are real risks tied to this option – reputation damage, owner burnout and record mismanagement.

Only DIY/DEY if:

  • The idea of keeping on top of reception tasks on the computer and phone 24/7, thrills you! (If that’s the case, consider working for us!)
  • You don’t have many clients (eep!)
  • You are keeping your business small – more as a hobby or intermittent service

Hiring a receptionist

Hiring someone into a part-time or full-time role can be a big deal. If all goes well, then it can be positively life-changing! It is a wonderful boon when the stars align and you find the right employee. Someone who consistently champions your business, represents you faithfully, has the ‘perfect’ skill set, and considers their position in your business as a long-term career. That is the most satisfying ‘pro’ possible.

Finding a new receptionist hire does come with some issues.

There are 2 main ‘cons’ to hiring someone:

  1. the time and money it takes to search, hire and onboard; and
  2. whether you are a good manager.

Time and money…

The hiring process is particularly daunting if you aren’t well-versed in interviewing. It’s stressful if you have no help with managing the hefty administration of the hiring process – which is ironic when you’re searching for a receptionist!

The hire process includes 15 steps:

1. Identifying the hiring need
2. Devising a Recruitment Plan
3. Writing a job description
4. Advertising the position
5. Actively recruiting the position
6. Reviewing applicants
7. Initial screening
8. Interviews
9. Applicant assessment
10. Background checks
11. Decision
12. Reference checks
13. Offer
14. Hiring
15. Onboarding

The average time to hire one staff member is surprisingly long.

Data from Australian recruitment and business experts* reveals a range of 21 and 68 days between creating the job listing (3), to commencing onboarding (14).

*AFR, Workable, Talentlyfe, Blackman Mansfield and Indeed

Financially, hiring someone is a significant expense for a small business. There are obvious costs (salary and benefits, advertising) and indirect costs, such as the time spent on:

Job ads: creating, sharing, monitoring your job vacancy on job boards. Responding to applicants.

Resume reading: Filtering resumes or analysing a candidate’s history, digs into consult room time.

Interviewing, and post-interview decision making: Hundreds of applicants apply. There is a lot of reading to do. Many meetings to hold. Deciding between the last few candidates is especially difficult!

Engaging a recruitment company: Where you save on (some) time, you spend with money.

Hire paperwork: Working up the contracts, payment terms and portals, superannuation, benefits, leave entitlements, and flexible working arrangements for your new team member.

Onboarding: documenting procedures, divulging particular client needs, outlining responsibilities, and the ongoing critique of their output.

One of the great “Clinic Owner’s Ironies” is that when you’re incredibly busy, it’s the best time to hire…and the worst time to find, and train, said hire.
Frustration can abound.

Hiring someone is good for you if:

  • You can set aside at least 60 hours of time during business hours to find the right person
  • You have enough funds and energy to perform steps 1-15 above.
  • You are willing to onboard the new hire personally and properly
  • You really need someone physically there next to you to work. You can’t work alone.

Natural leadership skills

Hiring is also a commitment to being a manager. Some people are natural managers and leaders; others aren’t as confident. Either way, the truth is, having an employee in the clinic with you, creates a dynamic working relationship that must be navigated and nurtured smoothly.

Hiring somebody is worth the effort if:

  • You are comfortable (and like!) managing people
  • You can easily handle conflict, disappointment or confrontation.
  • You are quickly adaptable and flexible as other’s needs change
  • You can consistently motivate others


Taking the best parts of a new hire, without the outlays, Outsourcing is a clever option for a clinic owner who’s ready to focus on business growth.

By outsourcing the day-to-day tasks, a clinic owner has more time to focus on generating income.

Signing up a Throughlines professional is a quicker process than hiring…and MUCH quicker than DIY!

All the ‘traditional’ hiring steps condense into four short stages:

1. Meet us
2. Learn about our services
3. Engage us
4. On-boarding

Onboarding with us is thorough, and often more rapid than onboarding an employee. This is because we already have in place the technology, processes and experience for this exact role. We assess your systems and can swiftly improve your clinic’s efficiencies and professionalism from Day 1. We hit the ground running, with no hiccups or ‘sorry, I’m just learning’.

A common reservation from practice owners is that a virtual service won’t have the same effect as a person sitting at a desk, on site.
Rest assured, our approach to your clients is attentive, responsive and friendly. We provide outstanding service that makes where we are irrelevant! Your clients will feel as if we are there, part of your team, looking after their needs.

Outsourcing is perfect for you if:

  • You would like the receptionist role filled fast, well, the first time.
  • You prefer not to be a people manager
  • You value autonomy and initiative in your team
  • The idea of employing someone confuses you further
  • You know there are tasks you don’t want to handle anymore
  • You’d like to be impressed by the value your contractor can bring to your clinic: Expertise in cutting-edge CRM technology, communication psychology, marketing and excellent client service.

We hope this blog helps you solve your DIY/Hire/Outsource dilemma. If you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of Outsourcing your reception role, get in touch with us today.

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