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Why is finding QUALITY massage therapists so hard these days???

I am in the process of expanding my studio into additional locations and have a fantastic business model for any therapist looking to become an independent contractor with the ability to build a clientele in rapid speed. I provide EVERYTHING (equipment, linens, supplies, receptionist, CLIENTS, etc.) yet somehow finding the right therapists to fill the spaces I have (or will have) has proven to be a HUGE challenge! Besides Craigslist, what suggestions do you all have for reaching out the the massage therapist community to find the people? PLEASE HELP!

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For the past almost 8 years, I have had very little turnover, and I have attracted the best people, because I, like you, provide everything AND I pay my staff a good wage. The lowest paid/newest person here makes $30 an hour with the potential to make up to $60. They are all in charge of their own schedule, they work as little or as much as they please, and everyone is happy. My busiest therapists make around $50K a year.

 

I hire people (ICs) based on their attitude. I can teach a monkey how to give a good massage. When a potential MT comes through my door it takes me all of one minute to ascertain whether or not they're customer service-oriented or not. When people feel appreciated and paid well, they produce and they help a business grow. If they don't feel appreciated and paid well, then they're just biding their time looking for the next best thing to come along.

Laura it is posts like this that make me wish this forum had like thumbs up symbols like facebook does. Two thumbs up, this was beautiful. Sounds like the right nurturing environment for healing to happen. :-)

Laura Allen said:

For the past almost 8 years, I have had very little turnover, and I have attracted the best people, because I, like you, provide everything AND I pay my staff a good wage. The lowest paid/newest person here makes $30 an hour with the potential to make up to $60. They are all in charge of their own schedule, they work as little or as much as they please, and everyone is happy. My busiest therapists make around $50K a year.

 

I hire people (ICs) based on their attitude. I can teach a monkey how to give a good massage. When a potential MT comes through my door it takes me all of one minute to ascertain whether or not they're customer service-oriented or not. When people feel appreciated and paid well, they produce and they help a business grow. If they don't feel appreciated and paid well, then they're just biding their time looking for the next best thing to come along.

~

 

Laura, this is spot on!

 

I've only been a therapist for a short time, 7 years, yet worked as a GM in the retail business for over 20 years.  What's worked for me is exactly what you mention, below, ESPECIALLY in regards to customer service. 

 

Thank you!

 

Kris



Laura Allen said:

For the past almost 8 years, I have had very little turnover, and I have attracted the best people, because I, like you, provide everything AND I pay my staff a good wage. The lowest paid/newest person here makes $30 an hour with the potential to make up to $60. They are all in charge of their own schedule, they work as little or as much as they please, and everyone is happy. My busiest therapists make around $50K a year.

 

I hire people (ICs) based on their attitude. I can teach a monkey how to give a good massage. When a potential MT comes through my door it takes me all of one minute to ascertain whether or not they're customer service-oriented or not. When people feel appreciated and paid well, they produce and they help a business grow. If they don't feel appreciated and paid well, then they're just biding their time looking for the next best thing to come along.

Angela,

I'm not sure where in the country you are, but it's obviously very different from where I was, and am currently. So let me add the rest of this to set you straight, because pay is a lot more than just a percentage.

First of all, maybe you should re-read the part where I said this was 8 years ago in CA.... and that I didn't own the clinic, I ran it.  Rates then were averaging $50/hr. they've changed a bit. Even then, I felt that the rates we charged were too low, but it wasn't my call, and the owner refused to raise them. We were paying higher than everyone else in town, including the DCs. I more than doubled our bookings in the first 6 months by putting ourselves front & center with the sports medicine doctors and orthopedists. We were hiring because we were busy, not because we had turnover. I fired one therapist for failing to keep his license current. He was in nursing school, and refused to do Continuing Education, because he thought his college coursework should count. This was before CA had voluntary certification, when you had to license separately in every county and municipality you worked in.  For our clinic, a written condition of employment was that you have and maintain both your Sacramento County and City of Sacramento licenses. The fines to the clinic were $1000 for each unlicensed therapist, per licensing entity, with a fine of the same amount to the therapist. Three fines, and you get shut down, and the owner is barred from practicing in that municipality. The municipalities refused to accept his nursing coursework as continuing ed, he refused to do any more. Definitely not the attitude we wanted. We gave him an opportunity to correct it, he refused, and I got rid of him. Neither myself or the owner was willing to risk the clinic on an unlicensed therapist.  We let the therapists choose their schedule, but we liked to them to pick something fairly steady, and most did. All therapists got a free massage each month, from the therapist of their choice, at a time of their choice, and yes, we paid the providing therapist. You were welcome to trade in or out of the office with any therapist you wanted, as long as they agreed. Once you had been with us for a year, we covered your continuing education (of your choice) up to $300/year, and your professional membership & insurance as well. We billed insurance, and worker's comp, handled all the paperwork, and if the insurance company downgraded the rate, we didn't make the therapist eat it. On a Personal Injury case, we paid the therapist up front, and didn't ask them to wait until we got paid. Not even my current DC does that. Cash tips were paid at the end of the day, tips on a charge card came in your check. Oh, and we had an extensive lending library of instructional books & DVDs, freely available to any therapist.

So, you get to show up to a clean, well kept, well stocked office, with everything you need ready to go, appointments booked, files already pulled. You have a powerlift table, and if you prefer a different cream or lotion than what we use, we'll add it to our next order. You have instructional & educational material on nearly anything related to massage freely available to you. You take turns answering the phone if you're not with a client. You don't file paperwork or hassle with an insurance company to get paid.  You get massage free, and continuing ed of your choice.  You get to pick your schedule, and for the most part, you get as much free time was you want. You don't deal with overhead, websites, or negotiating rent with the landlord. Name me a single other employer who does all that and still pays a base of 50% or more.

Sorry, but with what we offered in facilities, equipment & training, working with us was a damn good deal, and I had every right to demand the best. We were a well known clinic, and trusted by doctors all over town.  I'm not interested in training a monkey, so for me, someone who just gives a "good massage" isn't enough. I want people who love what they do, even if it's "just relaxation" and actively want to grow in their profession.  When I left, (to move east) she dropped her standards, it all fell apart, and she was out of business in 6 months. I still have friends in Sac, I visit every now & then, and teach a bit. It's been 8 years, and when I was there 6 months ago, my main orthopedist was still begging me to come "home", and complaining that there is no one else he trusts his patients to.

 

I've been at this for 27 years now, I've taught on & off since 92. I've been flown to another country to do post surgery re-hab for a client I kept out of an unnecessary hip replacement.  Everything I've mentioned about the downside of outcalls, I've experienced, and I promise you, I was very clear about space requirements, standards, etc. You're welcome to love outcall, and prefer it over everything else. For me, it isn't worth the hassles. I like having the tools & educational things I keep in the office readily available. My clients don't come to me to relax, they come because they're broken, in pain, and haven't had results with other approaches. I actively teach people why their body is doing X Y or Z, and what they need to do to improve and maintain it's function. Less than 5% of my work is relaxation, but I help people get their lives back, and that works for me. If relaxation therapy for the wealthy is your game, have a good time, but let's not snipe at those of us who choose another path.

 

Kay Warren

 

Kay, I like your style! Yes, your comments are wordy, but damn, you rock it! Good for you!

The therapists who have been with me the longest keep 70% of what they make. The newer ones get 60%, which is a function of my own expenses having gone up over the past 8 years. If I have to ask them to cover the desk or answer the phone, they get paid to do that. I confess that I don't have powerlift tables for them, but they're paid their tips every day. I bill a lot of insurance, and they don't have to wait to get paid. They're paid every week for the work they performed and I am the one waiting on the insurance company to pay. Like Kay, I also have a big library and help them with CEs.

 

None of my therapists are crazy about outcalls. Even if it's across the street, by the time you load up everything and break it down at the end, you could do two in the office in the same amount of time. They willingly go to the homes of a few elderly/handicapped people that just can't get out, and we have some agreements with B&Bs in the area for couple's massage for honeymoon/vacation packages. It's not a huge amount of our business and none of them want it to be.

 

I say don't snipe at anyone who is using the power of touch in a positive way, whether that's for medical, injury recovery, or plain old relaxation. There are a lot of people who need medical massage, and there are just as many who want a stress-free hour of feel-good massage. We should all just appreciate our colleagues and don't deride how others make their living.

Michelle,

Thanks! Much as I love what I do, like any other professional, I have those days when it feels like nobody cares.

Kay

Michelle Batac said:

Kay, I like your style! Yes, your comments are wordy, but damn, you rock it! Good for you!


Kay, if you pay 50% of your rates as a SALARY ($25) and if your therapists are able to receive tips, then that is great. And if you also offer that things you said, then is great too. For you doing outcall has too many hassles, I understand and that is respectable, for me hasn't been that way, I like it a lot working in outcall service. My clients pay for the gasoline and parking if needed, and the only variable expenses I have are laundry, massage professional oil/cream. The rest of the money is for my pocket, don't have overhead. I only have to pay for my CE's and renewal of license every 2 years and that's it. I schedule the appointments whenever I want and clients availability, I don't have to deal with any "boss" telling me what to do or not to do. 

 

Laura: For me is very good that a lot of therapists don't like doing outcalls, because that is more business for me. ;)

And do the math: let's say, for 1hr massage I get $100 but I spend half hour going there and half hour going back. That is 1 hour doing the massage and 1 hour traveling. 2 hours in total, that would be $50 an hour I make for giving only ONE massage without stressing more my body. Let's say that after expenses I make $90/hr that is ALL for my pocket, not for any overhead. And you are completely wrong when you say that it takes 2 hours to "load up everything and break it down to the end". I take only 2 minutes to set up the table with the linens and the music ready. In 2 hours I can offer 1hr massage and I make $90/hr plus tip. Clients usually tip me $20, sometimes more. And that by doing only ONE hour massage. So in total would be $110, divided by 2 hours (1 hr traveling, 1 hour giving massage), that is $55 per hour I'm making, but just doing one hr massage, the other hour I'm relaxed in my car driving. Your therapists have to give 2 hours of massage to make this, I only have to give one hour to make the same thing. 

 

And by the way, I don't only offer massage for relaxation, I actually treat more clients with pain, tightness, numbness, tingling and help them with their posture and misalignment on their bodies, I do them a free measurement analysis and explain to them the cause of their pain. So don't think that only people that go to see a doctor/chiropractor or go to a facility like any of you, are the ones that only get treated for these symptoms because that's not true.  

 

People like to receive massage at their places because they want to relax and rest after the treatment. Driving requires to be very alert, so the person that just receive a massage can't relax completely and benefit 100% of the treatment if need to drive back home. Of course, there are a lot of people that don't have enough space at their homes, or children crying and they can't relax there, so going to a spa is better for them.
Also, people that go to spas, go because they want to get other treatments like nails, hair, etc.

But for sure they would prefer getting a massage at home if they have that chance. 

 

Please note: the most of the spas out there, they don't pay good commission or salary to the therapists, they exploit them. So if Kay and Laura offer good pay to their therapists how they say, that's great and is bad that not all of the spas and doctors do the same. That's why I prefer working doing outcall because is rare the business that offer a good pay and treatment to therapists like them. 

 

I've had to show a few tricks to some of my staff members. It's worth the trouble when you find someone with a great attitude.
Absolutely, and I happily do it. Heck, I have therapists here who will come in to see me with a problem client in tow, and I'll teach directly to the client's issue, relevant tests, alternate techniques.

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