Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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scrub and wrap that uses $20 worth of products and laundry to a $100 Swedish massage that uses only $2 in products and laundry, you can see how a straight percentage could seriously eat into your profits on higher-overhead services. By the time you pay your employee's commission, taxes, benefits, and supply fees for that service, you may find nothing left over for your business overhead. In these cases, the cost of a service is heavily related to the costs of the products, not necessarily the effort put forth by the therapist or provider. The fee-for-service model can protect you if you find your supply costs jump unexpectedly and you need to raise prices to adjust. An employee does not deserve a pay bump for a service simply because you need to raise prices due to overhead changes. Hourly Rate Hourly pay is typically the best way to offer compensation to support staff, such as receptionists, who do not provide bodywork or related services. (While some businesses do pay service providers by the hour, it is often combined with a lower commission on treatments. This can be risky for business owners, especially during slow times.) H IRING THE RIGHT PERSON Once you have all of your systems and plans in place, it is time to find the perfect employee to join your team. Popular places to look for employees are and other online job-listing services (ABMP offers a Classifieds page at www.abmp. com/members/career_development_ classified_ads.php). Check with schools and business association websites. You might also get leads from Facebook if there is a page or group for massage therapists and other service providers in your state. You can consult with a human resources professional or an attorney for assistance in composing your job posting to make sure that it complies with employment laws. Once you have posted your job listing and started receiving resumes, the real fun begins. If you have never been in a position to interview others, Cherie Sohnen-Moe's book Business Mastery (Sohnen-Moe Associates, 2008) includes a great list of interview questions to get you started. When planning your interviews, be aware that there are certain types of questions you are not allowed to ask, such as those about family status, gender, nationality, race, religion, and others. If you aren't sure if your questions are OK, ask a professional. When I interview potential service providers, I typically schedule two interviews. During the first interview, if the question-and-answer portion goes well, I have candidates give me a general treatment so I can assess their overall style. The top candidates are invited to a second interview, which gives us a chance to get to know each other better. During the second interview, I have another staff member or trusted person receive a more specialized treatment to get another point of view and experience more advanced skills. When interviewing support staff, give them several different scenarios that could occur during their workday and see how they would respond. For example, you can ask how they would prioritize when trying to check out and reschedule one client, greet and check in a new client, and handle a ringing phone. During the interview, it is helpful to have a job description on hand so candidates know exactly what duties are expected. Also, offer ample time for candidates to ask questions and tour your practice—the interview is also a chance for them to get to know you and decide if you would be the type of employer they are looking for. The best scenarios occur when each party can be honest and clear about their expectations up front. It's also wise to take the time to call the references the candidate has provided. One of the best questions to ask is, "Would you hire this person again?" Once you have selected the right candidate, a human resources professional or employment attorney can help you make sure the candidate has completed all the paperwork required by law, and an accountant or payroll company can make sure you are deducting and paying the proper employment taxes for the situation. Bringing employees into your business may seem like a lot of work at the beginning, but if you research, prepare, and consult with experts before hiring, the process will be smoother. While managing employees does change the dynamic of your practice, it is a great way to build and add value to it. Note 1. Internal Revenue Service, "Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee?" accessed October, 2013, businesses/small/article/0,,id=99921,00.html. Cassie Sampson has been a licensed massage therapist since 2005. She opened East Village Spa in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2008, and her team has grown from three to 14 employees in five years. The spa has been voted Best Spa in Des Moines three times because of her incredible team. Cassie is an instructor in the Business and Marketing program at Body Wisdom School in Urbandale, Iowa. Contact her at See what benefits await you. 101

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