Part 3: Adding Massage Employees

There were few headaches when I worked all alone: no one was answering my phone, I set all my own appointments, took all my own checks to the bank, did all my own bookkeeping, washed and folded all my own sheets.  It was the profitable, simple life and that was all about to change.  I spent time massaging…what I loved to do.  Now, my time was about to be splintered into 1,000 directions.

The first ideas I had about help went terribly wrong.  I had an abundance of clients.  I was wishing to create a win-win-win for me, my clients and the therapists I was hiring, renting to, referring to, etc.  There was always something wrong:  either my clients were unhappy and would come complaining to me, the therapists were wanting too much payment or both.  Some rented a room from me, some I just asked for a “referral fee” for each client.

It was hard for me to imagine massage therapists could not find their own clients.  Surely they were just lazy or just didn’t want to do this profession.  It’s easy, I thought.  Not only did I need help with my growing client load–which was built solely on personal referrals–but I was running out of time to do the laundry, answer the phones and do the bookkeeping.

All I needed was someone to take the phone calls while I was in treatment.  But this was 8+ hours every day.  I couldn’t afford to pay someone, I thought, to just answer the phones 8+ hours every day.  Finally, I hired someone to pick-up, wash/dry, fold and deliver my sheets.  WOW!  That was a relief!  And such a great man, Leo Maynes!  He helped me for a decade!

Sheets–Check!

How do I interview for massage therapists?  This seemed simple: get a massage from them.  So I did.  And they were all good.  So I hired them all.

The most “punch-me-in-the-face” reality check…just because someone gives a good massage does not mean other good things about them.

People who give good massages can steal and lie and complain and start terrible rumors with my clients, etc, etc, etc…

I was in such dis-belief! I would defend these therapists I had hired, perfectly CONVINCED that they wouldn’t take a client’s watch, or stop 10 minutes early but say they did an entire hour.  Nor did I believe that any of these therapists would take client information in order to start their own massage or colonic business.  I was very wrong.

I assumed everyone was nice and trustworthy.

One of the main problems was the people who were calling for appointments were referred to me, not to the other people I was suggesting they go to.  I would talk and talk, trying to make the client feel at ease and eventually, had enough clients trust me and see other therapists if I was busy.  This seemed ok.

But, no one was happy and I was still growing.  Growing out of my little space, until finally I needed to find a bigger space.

My next building was much bigger!  It was perfect!  I had 7 treatment rooms, a colonic room, a space for an office, great parking, a space for an acupuncturist, a great neighborhood, and the best part was the “classroom” I built with mirrored walls and wooden floors.  It was beautiful!

I had started a summer camp the summer before for kids I was teaching at a Montessori School.  The year before I ran the camp out of my car.  It was so much fun!  We went to the mountains, on picnics, swimming, to the park, to dollar movies, golfing, to archery, and horseback riding.  It was a blast!

This new classroom made it so much better.  Plus, I was teaching massage classes, and this room was perfect for any massage class.

I put $10,000 into this building…within a few months of moving in….not listening to my family or friends to wait.  I was renting, with the option to buy.  Yes, I was stubborn.  You guessed it…this does not turn out very well.

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