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Friday, July 19, 2013

6 Ways to Maintain Your Zen When Bringing in Other Therapists

Today's topic is a guest post from fellow therapist Kimberly Rogers.  Enjoy!

You have your office.

You've got some clients.

You're busy (or just starting out).

Since you can't work 24 hours a day (and you do need to take a weekend off once in awhile so you don't go crazy), it may be time to grow your business by adding a few more therapists.

But where to start? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Start with a Vision of where you want your business to go. Be very clear on the type of clients you want and the therapists you want to work with. Don't just take ANYBODY. Stay focused. As soon as those potential therapists submit a resume, email you, call or walk through the door for an interview, start building a relationship with them. It will help you decide whether or not they are a good fit.
  2. Decide how you are going to find your therapists. Email, internet, massage schools, postings in the paper, word-of-mouth? You may have to do all of these. Are you okay with taking massage school grads or do you want seasoned “vets.” Or both?
  3. Be very Clear about what you expect out of your therapists and spell it out in their contracts. For example, are they expected to provide their own linens/lotions/oils etc.? Do they need to pitch in and clean the office daily or pick up their rooms between clients? Do you share rooms?
  4. If you offer a laundry service or have a washer/dryer available, you need to decide if it is included or an added expense. And put it in writing in the contract! No unexpected expenses.
  5. Decide how your therapists will be paid. Will it be percentage-based (like a 50/50) or a rental agreement or an employer/employee situation or something in-between? Again, put it in writing in the contract. And Be Consistent! If pay-outs are every two weeks, don't drop the ball and “forget” to pay them.  Be sure to research the laws regarding employees vs. contractors and make sure you're adhering to those laws with whichever route you choose to go with your therapists.
  6. Have your systems in place before your potential therapist walks through your door. Look over your business plan (remember that assignment in massage school?) and make adjustments. Did you even consider adding therapists to your business?  Have a Policies and Procedures manual spelling everything out from proper attire to phone etiquette to using the credit card machine to linking their Facebook/Twitter/professional website to yours. Share that info at the interview! You want to weed out the bad from the good.
I can't stress enough to put everything in writing in the contract, no matter how mundane it sounds. Don't rely solely on that contract template you pulled off the internet or bought at the local office supply store. They only cover general items and may not touch on what you do! Use them as a starting point. Write in amendments, compromises, etc. Both of you initial each new item, sign and date at the bottom of each additional page/section (besides the big signature at the end). Give one copy to your new therapist and keep the original in their personal file along with their resume, copies of CEU classes and trainings and their state registration/certificate/license.

And I recommend signing a new contract  every year. So many things can change in twelve months!
I've had to endure some tough situations as a therapist. For instance, one of the locations I worked at, I paid a daily room rental. While I did sign a contract to work there, I had a verbal agreement with the original owner that if I didn't have clients on the day I was to work, I didn't pay rent. That went well until the business was sold the following year. The new owner expected me to pay a daily rent whether I had clients or not and refused to sign a new contract with me spelling this out. I gave a two-week notice (as per my original contract). After I left, I discovered a mass exodus had started. Here I thought I was the only one having a contract dispute with the new owner! All the therapists left. And she couldn't keep any new hires. A few months later, she sent me emails demanding I pay rent for my “empty” days up to my departure. I told her that since no contract existed between us, I owed her nothing.

Rough, I know. Unfortunately, she didn't learn the lesson here and the business closed its doors for good.

And that is just one example from the decade that I've been working in this industry. I bet you have a couple of stories to share, too.

Good luck and good fortune growing your business!

--Kimberly A. Rogers
Wisconsin Licensed Massage Therapist 3001-146
Certified Reflexologist
Usui Reiki Master/Teacher & Karuna Practioner
CranioSacral Therapy Practitioner
I currently work out of Waupaca, WI as an independent contractor. Because of all the modalities I'm trained in, I decided to name my business Soothing Sessions Bodywork. I graduated from Reflexology school in 2002 and from Fox Valley School of Massage in 2003. I am a Professional member of Associated Massage & Bodywork Professionals (ABMP). Touch therapy and natural healing have been a part of my life since I was very young. I can remember my grandparents using “folk remedies” often to stay healthy. A car accident six months after getting married started me on a quest for better health and pain relief. I am married to a wonderful Army national guardsman, we will be celebrating our 19th anniversary this year. 

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