I’ve been a massage therapist for 20 years, and I’ve worked in just about every different setting a therapist can work in (except a cruise ship). A few years ago during my slow winter months I worked for a few months in a massage chain type of business. It was by far the most stressful massage job I have ever had. Every job has it’s good and bad parts, that is just life! This job however was stressful because it was almost impossible to do my best. If I do something, I WANT to to a great job, and make the most money that I can. I even really tried to help the place with my great suggestions! Anyway, here’s a typical day from my perspective, and why I was unable to do my best there.
8:40 am – I like to be early so I can get clocked, my table height adjusted, hot towels, and my room stocked for the day. Great plan, except the 20 year old receptionist with the key is late again!!
8:50 am – Good, clocked in, now to set up for the day. Booked solid, 5 clients!
8:58 am – I’m ready to go. Client breezes in, she’s new and has to fill out a health form. She does, and I take her back. Now she has to visit the bathroom, sure, no problem. It is now 9:05. I wait and we finally get to the room. I do a brief consultation, she wants extra work on her back. I leave her to get on the table and hurry to wash up. It is now 9:08. I need to get going!! I start the massage at 9:09. If I give her a full 50 minutes I will be late for my 10:00 client and my 11:00 client too. So either way I’m pretty much screwed. I give her the best 47 minute massage that I can, ending at 9:56. If she gets up fast maybe my next one will only start 5 minutes late. I grab a water cup, and wait. She leaves the massage room at 9:59. I walk her up front. She could really benefit from regular massage, and I quickly try to tell her this, but my mind is really on how fast I need to flip my room. It might possibly be the worst attempt at rebooking of my life. I’m already stressed and frazzled, a great state of mind for a massage therapist. My next client is waiting for me. It’s now 10:02. I should have started this client two minutes ago.
10:04 am – On my way to get client #2! I’m only a few minutes behind, it’ll be ok. He’s huge 6ft and at least 280, no problem, I’m good at deep tissue. I get him to the room and do my spiel as quickly as possible. He wants full body with pretty much extra work everywhere. Sure, no problem. I wash up and hurry back. It is now 10:08. I will give him the best 48 minute massage I possibly can because after my next client I have lunch, and I can get caught up then. He’s like a block of cement, I wonder if this guy drinks any water at all….. I’m using all my body weight, forearms, and elbows, and he keeps asking if I can go deeper. “Sure, I’ll do my best,” I say trying to, but I’m pretty sure he hates me and my massage. My stomach is growling! Why? I ate a big breakfast, oh yeah, that was three and a half hours ago. I hope cement guy can’t hear my stomach. I wonder if I could sneak snacks in here, quiet snacks….. or maybe a protien drink with a straw. I’m done at 10:56, he still has to get up and dressed, we get to the front desk at 11:00, the time I’m supposed to be STARTING my next client. I hate being late, it’s rude and disrespectful to my clients, something I would never be intentionally. I don’t make any recommendations, because, I don’t have time, and I don’t want to massage cement brick guy again anyway. A good therapist could probably take the time to explain the different types of massage and work with him, but this isn’t that kind of place. My next client is waiting….. Have I mentioned, I don’t like to make people wait?
11:05 My room is clean and I’m ready for client #3. She’s a sweet older lady, and with my lunch break next, I have time for a proper consultation. We start at 11:10 and I give a full 50 minute massage. She loves me! We end at 12:00, and I recommend a massage every 2-4 weeks. She reschedules on the membership plan! Score! I love being able to actually do my job. Maybe I should talk to management about more time in between massages. Oh yeah, I’ve already done that and it would mean one less massage per day for the business, so it was a no go. Seems like happy rebooking clients would make more money in the long run, but what do I know? I’ve only been a therapist for 15 years.
12:10 My “lunch break”. Should I feed my starving belly or clean my room first? I have 20 minutes. I’ll clean my room. Then I can relax for 17 minutes. Glad I brought lunch or it would be break room peanut butter crackers again, there’s no time to even run next door for a slice of pizza.
12:25 Just finished eating and my 12:30 client is here. Good, I’ll start early and hopefully my afternoon goes better. If I get behind now it really messes up the next shift of therapists……
And that was pretty much my typical day at the massage chain!! I only lasted three months. In my humble opinion the whole schedule and set up of these types of businesses, breeds poor quality service. We are worth so much more than that, and so are our clients! This is why I teach all of the classes that I teach. I want to empower massage therapists, to find or CREATE their own better jobs.