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Bodywork Buddy Blog

Bodywork Buddy: business management software for the solo therapist that keeps you organized and makes tax time a breeze.

Showing posts with label massage practice management. Show all posts
Showing posts with label massage practice management. Show all posts

Monday, June 26, 2017

A New Way to Think About Setting Policies {Guest Post by Michelle Doetsch, LMT, BS}



A New Way to Think About Setting Policies




There are probably a thousand articles out there telling us how important it is to have policies, and they’re absolutely correct; it IS important to have policies. Those same articles will tell us how to formulate our policies and give us several examples of the type of policy the author favors. That’s good info to have, especially if you’re new to the whole creating policies thing and need some concrete examples to get your own policy juices flowing. Or maybe you just need some policies to copy verbatim so you can be done with the unhappy job of writing your own.

Two of the most common ways we’re counseled to create policies are: 1) Create policies that treat your clients the way you would want to be treated if you were a client, and 2) Create strong policies with clear penalties for violating those policies, then make sure to enforce those policies every. single. time. Failing to enforce them shows weakness and clients will take advantage of you if you let them.

Seriously sound advice. The only problem is that neither way felt right to me. The first one felt more right, but I had a hard time with it. If you feel the same way or are just looking to tweak your current policies, here’s another way to think about them. Write them with a view to treating your clients the way you expect them to behave.

This is the guidance I use to set most of my policies, but it’s not for everyone. I know that. I also know, that I’m not the only one who favors this style of policy writing. Earlier today I was investigating a local delivery service that brings organic produce direct from the farm to your door, and found that they have a cancellation policy very similar to mine. That got me thinking that perhaps some of my fellow massage therapists might resonate with this way of setting policies also.

Where The Idea Came From


I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my almost 50 years of life, and I’ve had good bosses and bad bosses. The way they treated their employees was reflected in the ways the employees behaved… Not the other way around.

The bad bosses always assumed the worst, refused to listen to employee concerns, ignored problems, or blamed them on the employees. They required doctor’s notes to prove you were sick if you called in. They wouldn’t allow you to take lunches or breaks away from your desk for fear you might be a minute late getting back. They wouldn’t give out paychecks until 5pm on Friday to make sure you didn’t skip out early. They scheduled every staff meeting at 8am to “make sure everyone’s on time to work, for a change.” These bosses treated every employee as a misbehaving school kid, and the employees responded by acting like misbehaving school kids. These jobs, not surprisingly, were plagued with poor morale and high staff turnover.

The good bosses, on the other hand, took employees at their word, were accessible, and made employees feel comfortable bringing problems to them. If you called in sick, they gave you your paid sick day without grilling you. If you were late because of something beyond your control they understood. They scheduled staff meetings at times when everyone was available and best prepared to make a real contribution to the proceedings. These bosses treated their employees like professional adults, and the employees responded by acting like professional adults. These employers enjoyed a staff with high morale and low turnover. *
*Note: There was no correlation in type of employer vs type of employment. Some of the jobs which required advanced college degrees had the worst bosses, and some of my retail jobs were the absolute best about treating employees with respect and dignity.

A Few Policies

While most of my policies are pretty standard, they still aim to treat my clients how I expect them  (and myself for that matter) to act. For instance, my tardiness policy reads, “Sessions begin and end on time. If the client is late the session will still end at the originally agreed upon time and there will be no pro-rating of cost. If the therapist is late the session will continue for the originally agreed upon length of time or be pro-rated, whichever the client chooses.” 

However, my cancellation policy is very different from the standard ones. It reads: “24 hr notice is respectfully requested when canceling or rescheduling an appointment.” That’s it. 

I’ve had more than a few people tell me that it’s a terrible policy and that clients are going to take advantage of me left and right. They’ve told me that it’s not “business-like” enough. Frankly, they’ve told me in about every way possible how it’s a horrible, no-good, very bad policy but they haven’t convinced me of that.

You see, my policy works for me and that’s all that matters. There are two things I let slide: illness and family emergency. Both often strike without warning and often within the timeframe of a more traditional cancellation policy. Almost everyone alive has had the experience of going to bed feeling great and waking up sicker than a dog. It’s happened to me both as a client and a as practitioner, and I’ve cancelled appointments in both situations. Besides, I ask them to NOT come into my office when they’re contagious, and I deeply appreciate them honoring that request. I would feel like a hypocrite asking them to stay home when they’re sick and then charging them a missed appointment fee if they stay home when they’re sick. I also can’t bring myself to give x number of sick days to a client, after which I terminate them. That works for some people, but not for me.

For as much “leeway” as I give my clients, I have very few late cancellations. By the way, I don’t consider it “leeway,” I consider it treating them like adults who know when they’re too sick to be leaving the house. Yes, having an appointment open up the same day affects my bottom line, but not as much as a sick client passing their contagion on to me would cost me when I have to cancel an entire day (or several days) worth of clients. It’s definitely a strategy/policy that takes a long-view approach. 

I’m not saying that you need to adopt my style of cancellation policy. Good heavens, no. What I am saying is that there’s more than one way to set the same policy. Use the one that works for you, no matter what anyone else says about it. You’re the one who has to enforce it, and you’re the one who has to live with the consequences of enforcing it. Therefore, it should fit who you are as a business person, not who anyone else says you should be.



Michelle Doetsch


I am a Licensed Massage Therapist in Michigan and I’m Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB). I have been a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner since 2002. My specialty is treating clients with headaches, high stress, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, and fibromyalgia, as well as other types of chronic pain. My training in energy work is extensive; over 200 in-class hours in a variety of energy work techniques including Reiki, Spiritual Healing (long standing and respected form of energy work in England), and Kundalini Energy Healing. I am a certified member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Grand Valley State University.


New Yew Healing

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Beautiful Essential Oil Recipe and How to Track Oil Sales in Your Massage Business


https://www.instagram.com/bodyworkbuddy/
I've been a massage therapist for a loooong time. I've had lots of massage friends/colleagues get heavily involved in essential oils over the years, and while I've always enjoyed oils, I just never really got into them. Or at least, not at the level my friends did. (You know, basically carrying around a case of them everywhere they went.) I always thought "yeah, that'd be cool, but I just don't have the <time, money, energy, knowledge> to get into it right now."

Well, I don't know if I just needed more time in the field to familiarize myself with all other modalities and aspects I was interested in to the point of fatigue, or if the timing was just right, or what... but I've recently really gotten into oils. I'm not quite that girl with the case, yet, but I think I might be on my way. ;)

I signed up with DoTerra oils and have been getting new oils monthly. (This isn't a post about oil brands or why you should use one over the other or blah blah blah....I'm not interested in arguing that point and really just want to enjoy oils and it just so happened that DoTerra presented itself at the right time in my life when I was ready to finally take the plunge into the world of oils.)

It's been fun and I'm digging learning new things that I can apply in my practice as well as my personal life. (I'm in love with diffusing and roller bottles! Who knew?)




I'm in love with diffusing and roller bottles! Who knew?







I'm not to the point of offering any for resale to my clients yet, but it got me thinking about the MT's who do sell oils or other products in their practice. Wondering how to track your sales and record income from that?

It's actually pretty easy to do within Bodywork Buddy.


  • First, create a service group of oils or whatever product you're selling.
  • Second, add products (called services in BWB) into that service group, and have them set to "private". This will keep them from showing on your online scheduler as an option to schedule, but will still allow you to add them to a session record when a client purchases one.
  • When a client buys an oil, simply create a new session record for the sale with the product as the service. Or, add a 2nd service line item in the session record for their massage appointment.










You can run a services report at any time to see how much of what product you have sold over the year. *Note: there is no way to track inventory within BWB. So if you have a huge amount of products in stock, this might not be the solution for you. But if you're a solo massage therapist like myself, this works great.

Thanks to Susan for this great pin!
https://www.mydoterra.com/susanmnilon
I've been creating my own roller bottles and thought I would share a little recipe with you I found on Pinterest. It's pretty yum.

  • 30 drops of grounding blend (also known as Balance)
  • 30 drops of calming blend (also known as Serenity)
  • 15 drops of Vetiver
Fill remainder of the 10ml roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil, shake well and roll on to feet, back of neck, behind ears, or your wrists.

I've also found a cool podcast about aromatherapy where I can learn more while doing housework or working in the yard. ;) Gotta love that. Thanks to Hillary Arrieta of Gaia Bodywork for sharing this with me!
Aromatic Wisdom Podcast

So once I get more knowledgable on oils, I'm going to start offering them to clients and tracking it within BWB. In the meantime, I'm off to play some more with my new hobby.

I made a roller bottle recipe for heartburn for a family member and it's working wonders. So I'm a goner now. I will be that girl with all the oils, annoying everyone she knows with "have you tried essential oils?" and I CAN'T WAIT.
 😂


I will be that girl with all the oils, annoying everyone she knows with "have you tried essential oils?"






What are some of your favorite oil blends or what are some of your success stories with oils? Let me know in a comment here so I can try it out!





Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice since 1999. www.BodyworkBuddy.com




Thursday, November 19, 2015

How To Tell if Your Client Received Their Email Reminder


Like most online schedulers, Bodywork Buddy sends automated email reminders to your clients for their upcoming appointments.

Unlike most online schedulers, Bodywork Buddy includes an email log so you can see when emails were sent and even when they were opened by each client.

To see if your client received their email reminder, go to dashboard > account > email services > scroll to bottom "sent email history". Here you will see the most recent emails sent from the system in your account.

If an email is labeled "sent", it hasn't been opened yet and the date/time stamp indicates the time it was sent. Once an email is opened, the status changes to "opened" and the date/time stamp indicates the time the client opened it. It also lists the type of email sent (appointment confirmation, appointment reminder, testimonial request, etc).


You can find the email logs for each client from within the client file as well.

This is handy if you've ever wondered if your client received their email reminder, or to find out when the email address you have for a client is not valid or undeliverable.

Email reminders cut down on no-shows and help enforce your policies. (Not to mention that they make you look like a rock star with their professionalism.) Bodywork Buddy emails include an area to add your own text as well as lists your cancellation policies.

Want to try it out yourself and eliminate no-shows and last minute cancellations? Sign up now for the free trial of Bodywork Buddy and we'll import your existing client list for you for free, so you can get started right away without needing to do a bunch of data entry!



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How To Block Off Time In Your Calendar


In Bodywork Buddy, your open business hours are highlighted in green in the calendar day and week view.



Click into the day you want to block off time. A popup window will appear with options of General Event, Confirmed Appointment, or Completed Appointment (Session).


Click the General Event button. Fill in info with any details needed, including length of time if you're not choosing an all day event. (You'll also have the option to drag the event longer or to a different timeframe in the day once it's created.)
Be sure to have "busy" selected.
Click the green "save appointment" button.


The event will now show in the calendar in light gray with the title you gave it. (Shown here with title of "closed".)


You can click on the event and drag it to different days or times in the calendar, or you can grab the lines at the bottom of the event to drag it to last shorter or longer in the day.

You can still schedule appointments in this timeframe if you want by clicking into the green area to the sides of the gray general event. (But clients will not see these times available online if you've chosen "busy" for the event.)


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How To Sync Your Google or iCal Calendar


Did you know you can sync your Google and/or iCal calendars to your Bodywork Buddy calendar? Enabling your sync and feed settings will allow your BWB massage appointments to show in your Google and iCal calendars and vice versa. Many massage therapists love this feature that allows them to see all of their calendars from any location.

From within your Bodywork Buddy account, go to Dashboard > Calendar > Google Calendars > click green "enable Google calendar sync" button.

Oh look! That's me on live chat, available to help if you need it :)







Google will ask you to select which account you want to sync to.








After clicking on the appropriate account, you will have to click "accept" to grant Bodywork Buddy access to your Google calendar. 





Check the box next to the calendar(s) you want to sync with. Click the green "enable selected google calendar(s)" button.








Next, go to Dashboard > Calendar > Feed Settings > click green "enable feed" button.







After the feed is enabled, there will be a box in the lower left of this screen with a button to add to your Google calendar and/or Microsoft Outlook, and a link to add to any software that supports the iCal format.






Simply click on the buttons to add to google or microsoft outlook. If adding to iCal, highlight and copy the link > open your iCal > click File > New Calendar Subscription.







Paste the link into the text field and click "subscribe".




And that's it! Follow these steps and your calendars will be synced, allowing you to see events/appointments on both calendars from both places.

Have questions? Need help? Contact us, we'd love to help!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Did For My Massage Business


One of the best ideas I ever implemented for my massage business was a referral program.

I offered a "refer 3 friends, get a free massage" program. I put a sign up in my massage room, as well as placed around my studio. Signs like "want a free massage? Ask me how!"

I was amazed at the response. I got a lot of new clients from this program. But actually ended up giving away only a handful of massages. Very few times did 3 new people come from 1 client.
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I definitely recommend having an organized way of tracking your referrals. It can be as simple as index cards in a recipe box. Have a card for each client who has referred to you, and list the clients they have referred. After 3 (or however many you decide to make it) - offer them their free massage and mark it on their card when they received that massage.

*Shameless Plug: if you use Bodywork Buddy, there's a referral tracking feature built in. When a new client comes in, you can record who referred them. Then look up a client file at any time to see how many people they have referred.

Do you have a referral program? How has it helped your massage business?



Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.  www.BodyworkBuddy.com

Monday, July 2, 2012

Implementing Protocols: A Follow Up to The Late Client


Remember our discussion a couple of weeks ago about The Late Client?

Living Earth Crafts wrote a blog post about implementing protocols to handle such situations and help train your staff.

LEC says:
 "To my mind, one of the best ways to prepare your staff is to offer them scenarios (for late clients, certainly, but also for angry clients, emergencies, and so much more) and to allow them to practice how they’ll respond. This gives them the opportunity to practice in a non-threatening environment, but it also gives you – the spa owner or manager – the ability to set official protocols in place. "
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
(I encourage you to read the entire post at Living Earth Crafts.)

What a great idea!  Preparation could really be key in dealing with these situations when the arise.

Have you practiced dealing with possible client scenarios with your staff or even by yourself?  How did you go about implementing protocols?







Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.  www.BodyworkBuddy.com

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sheet Folding Trick



Great video from Massage Nerd and Massage Warehouse on how to fold a sheet set perfect for mobile therapists to take on the go!  Thanks to LizMarie for demonstrating for us.

I seem to be fitted-sheet-folding impaired... so I found this video extremely helpful and wanted to share.
Have you tried this, or do you have your own secrets for folding fitted sheets?  Or are you like me, and tend to avoid fitted sheets like the plague so you don't have to fold them? ;-)




Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years, and has been an associate instructor for Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy since 2007.  www.BodyworkBuddy.com




Saturday, May 1, 2010


At a glance reports, charts, and graphs are available with the click of a mouse - giving you an instant update of the health of your practice.  Easily track income to expense ratio as well as gift certificate sales, client referrals, even percentage of most popular services rendered.  Bodywork Buddy massage software is feature-rich and user-friendly.  Made for the massage therapist, not the computer tech!