Massage Jobs -Mission Statements/Informational Interviews

Mission Statements and Purpose/Philosophy Statements for Massage Therapy Jobs.

Creating a mission statement will give you some added perspective and direction. Mission statements are often used by businesses to

 create a guideline to doing business. You can create a personal mission

 statement that will summarize your vision. It should communicate the essence of who you are and what you want to do. I feel that it can be helpful when looking for a job to discover your mission. That way you it will make it easier to decide if you want to go to work for someone when the offer arrives.

To write a mission statement, it is necessary to find out about yourself and make meaning of what you are doing.

What is your reason for wanting to do massage?

What do you feel is your goal in doing massage?

What brought you to massage in the first place?

What does doing massage mean to you? What do you think that you bring to your clients (or will)?

Or just do a search on google.com in the above box for mission statements.

Write out the answers to the questions and then start combining all of the answers into one or two sentences.

Your philosophy statement is just that – what do you believe in?

Knowing what you believe in and making a statement about it will also add clarity to your vision.

  •   What is your philosophy about what massage does for people?

  • What physical effects does massage have?

  • What emotional effects does massage have?

  •   What spiritual effects does massage have?

  •   What does getting a massage mean to you?

  • What has becoming a massage therapist meant to you? 

  •   How has massage changed your life?


Again, you can combine the answers to these questions into one or two sentences to add clarity to your vision.

Finding a Place to Work as a Massage Therapist

So after you create a vision of what your intention is surrounding getting a massage therapy job and thought about your mission

 statement, you want to do you can begin researching places that might hire you or you can start thinking about how and where to create your own job!

Start with the graduates services department at your massage school!

 They are your number one resource. You need to become best friends

 with this person as they will most likely know of the most job opportunities.

If you don’t have a graduate services department there are many other things you can start with.

Locate businesses that you are interested in working for according to your vision. Look in the phone book or online.

Drive around the neighborhood that you would love to work in and look for opportunities – massage clinics, chiropractors, physical therapists.

Start collecting names, addresses and phone numbers of all possibilities. Even if you don’t think you want to work someplace, they may have connections for you with some other places. Start collecting information.

 

Informational Interviewing

Once you have collected some ideas on where you would like to work start narrowing the search down by doing some informational interviewing. This is the process of contacting places just to find out information about them. It doesn’t really matter if they are hiring or not. You just want to find out if you really want to work for them or not.

Some suggestions of what to ask and what to do:

  •   Call places and ask about their services, hours of operation and prices.

  • Make an appointment and get a massage or chiropractic treatment or whatever service.

  •   Find out what they do – What service do they provide and to whom? What is their philosophy on health and healing? Who are the people who work for them?

  •   Do they ever hire massage therapists or have they ever thought of hiring massage therapists?

Once you narrow your search down to places that you feel have integrity, a high level of service and the atmosphere that you envisioned, you can start making efforts to contact them for the purpose of getting a job. The first thing you need to find out is who does the hiring?

The next step can be the most intimidating because you are going to start asking for what you want – a job in massage therapy with the company of your dreams!!

You can contact them by phone, email, in person or my mail. You can start with a resume and cover letter or a phone call asking about employment. Don’t expect them to get back to you!! If you really want to work there, it may take some perseverance and commitment.

There are many places out there hiring massage therapists who are paying very low wages and charging very low prices for their massage services. It is important to consider all the pros and cons of working for such a place.

What image are they portraying about massage?

 How do they treat their therapists?

Do they understand the meaning of massage and what it really does for people?

Do they respect the work of massage therapists and support the massage profession?

One of the best ways to find out what is really going on inside these places is to talk to their therapists or go in and get a massage from a few different therapists. Are the therapists friendly or are they just there biding their time? Are they passionate about what they do and feel good about themselves while only getting paid the low rates that they do? On one hand it will give you an excellent opportunity to work on many clients and get experience. You can learn all the ropes of running a business with the intention of going out on your own.

Massage Job Contracts

Suggestions for Writing a Contractual Agreement with an employer or Independent Contractor

Having a contract with your employer or independent contractor is a necessary business procedure. You may think you don’t need one, but often times find out the hard way that  you do. Planning ahead can reduce the stress and build better business relationships.

 

  1. 1. Consult a legal professional to make sure all issues are covered and the financial agreements are favorable
  2. These are only suggestions. The agreement can be anything you really want, keeping in mind that it remains a win/win situation and both parties are willing to work together.
  3. . Even if you are going into business with a friend or someone who you highly respect, it is still necessary to spell things out so neither party is taken advantage of if things go wrong or the situation changes.
  4. Clarify the work situation. Are you an employee or sub-contractor. See guidelines and the IRS website for more information. Outline duties and responsibilities of each party. Will you answer phones or do filing or make phone calls when not busy?
  5. What is each party responsible for? Be exact so there is no room for confusion. Supplies, Billing, Marketing, advertising, collecting fees, linens, oil, massage table, utilities, bottled water and any other business related article or activity. Work hours, vacation times, sick days, back-up personnel, cancellation policies must be predetermined.
  6. What hours do they work or what hours do they have available for their use? How are appointments made? ( a central booking person or does each person have their own phone/phone line). How does one know when they have an appointment? Are they supposed to come in when they don’t have an appointment? What is the rate of pay and pay schedule? What other benefits are involved for an employee? sick pay, vacation pay, retirement, health care?
  7. What insurance is needed for liability coverage (practitioner and premise) and property loss or damage? Disability or workman’s compensation? Who is responsible for paying the fees for insurance?
  8. Watch for non-compete clauses that will determine where you can practice if you leave the office for any reason. You may not be allowed to take clients with you within a certain mileage range of the office for a certain amount of time.
  9. What marketing/advertising will you do to provide clients for the employee/subcontractor? What will the employee/sub-contractor be responsible for?
  10. If insurance billing is involved – who does that and on what timetable? Monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, mid-month, end of month?
  11. What financial motivations will be involved? Raises, bonuses for having so many clients? bonuses for have a client become a repeat customer?
  12. What happens when one party wants to get out of the agreement? You can sometimes make an agreement as to who will be responsible for getting a replacement
  13. How long will the contract be for? Will there be a trial period like 3-6 months where both parties can end the contract if they are not happy with the provisions or situation?
  14. Is there a renewal date? Is there an option for renewal?
  15. There are standard lease forms available at office supply stores that can be used if you are self employed and just leasing office space. You can make additions and set financial responsibilities and have them signed and notarized just like any other contract

 

Employees vs. Sub-contractors.

NOTE: Contact an Attorney to help you determine your Status as an employee or a subcontractor!  This is very critical! 
There is also a lot of confusion about whether or not you will be an

employee or a sub-contractor. I have seen many people hired as sub-contractors who should have been hired as employees. Learn the basics about whether or not you are an employee or sub-contractor. You can get some ideas from the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=115045,00.html or

Fill out this Form with the IRS to determine your status but check with an attorney first and ask if you should fill out the form!
IRS SS-8  www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss8.pdf

“The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if you (the person for whom the services are performed) have the right to control or direct only the result of the work, and not what will be done and how it will be done or method of accomplishing the result.”  From the IRS Website listed above

Many employers (office owners) may want you to be a sub-contractor so they don’t have to pay the extra fees involved in hiring an employee like the unemployment fees and social security taxes and health care benefits.

As a sub-contractor, you are self-employed. You just pay a flat fee or a percentage of your income to the business owner. The business owner takes the risk of signing a lease or buying the property and setting up the business. You may or may not have a furnished room. You will most likely have to do all of your own marketing and business building. You will be required to pay your own taxes, licensing and other expenses. Beware of new franchises or operations that will only pay you $12-$15 per hour as a sub-contractor. Figure out what your other expenses are and deduct that from your hourly pay. Read the fine print in the contract!

If you have any questions about whether or not you will be an employee or a sub-contractor, please consult an attorney.  Many massage therapists should be classified as an employee and are being taken advantage of.

Massage Job Interviews

Be prepared to go to an interview.


With so many options it is often difficult to find a place to work that fits with your personality and the way you want to do massage. When

 you do get an interview opportunity, go into it prepared to ask them questions to see if you want to work there (if you haven’t already). It will show them that you are really interested in what you do and where you will work. You may also be able to create your own job or bring new ideas to the employer if you can get an idea of what is needed there.

Interviewing the employer

  • What image do they portray to the community in their marketing/advertising?

  • What is their reputation in the massage community? 

  • Will they supply all the clients?

  • How will they get you the clients? What marketing/advertising will they be doing?

  • Where will they get referrals from? What people are they networking with?

  • Is there an incentive for you to bring your own clients in like a higher hourly wage or bonus?

  • What incentives will there be for you to build a practice? One company I read about tracked the number of repeat clients per month and gave incentives for therapists who improved their numbers each month.

  •  Will they make you sign a non-compete clause that states that you can not take clients with you if you leave the office or start your own practice within X-amount of miles from the office? Some places may ask you to do this. It is difficult to enforce, as clients will go where they want anyway. You may also be able to leave and tell clients where you are going but not be able to solicit their following you to your new location. Check with an attorney on this before signing a non-compete clause.

  • What benefits will you have? vacations, retirement accounts, sick days, etc.

  • What support will they provide to assist you in working with clients and understanding the therapeutic process? Weekly meetings to keep you informed of what is going on in the company would be beneficial. Supervision? Peer Groups?

  •   Will they do the insurance billing and bookkeeping or teach you to do it?

  • Will they supply the table, linens, lotions, music, stereo and other accessories or will you?

  •   One thing you need to make sure of is what your official status is – employee or sub-contractor. I have seen many places say that you are an employee but in reality they should be sub-contractors.


Be prepared for what questions might they ask you.

  • The typical what type of massage do you do? Where and when did you go to school? What classes have you taken?

  •   What does doing massage mean to you?

  • How has being a massage therapist changed your life?

  •   Put what you do into one or two sentences.

  •   What do you want to get out of this job?

  •   Why do you want to work here?

  • What are you going to do for this company? Why should they hire you?

  •   What will you do to build clientele? An employer will be more motivated to hire you knowing you know what you are doing and are motivated to be a part of the company.

  •   Create your own vision for the office. Where do you see it going?

  •   What marketing, advertising or networking ideas do you have?

  •   What are you going to do that is different from everyone else?

  •   You may also be asked to do a massage on the owner or someone who works there. 

Presenting yourself to an employer or business owner.

Part of the job interview is how you present yourself to the employer. Most massage employers are looking for someone who can professionally represent their company.

So here are some tips for presenting yourself to a potential employer or business owner:

  • Know what your ideal office space and practice looks like!

  • Create your vision before you start looking for a job or space. Knowing what you want can save time. Settling for less usually has consequences. 

  • Answer in the manner that the ad requests. 

  • If you are cold calling (not knowing if they have a position or space available) ask when a convenient time to call is and set up a phone meeting. Keep calling to show you mean it and are serious, but don’t over do it and be obnoxious.

  • Write a resume that tells who you are, not just what you have done. Resumes of the old chronological, here’s what I have done type are outdated. Write to tell who you are, what massage means to you, how has it changed your life, what your goals are, what is your philosophy when working with clients. Show how you love what you do and who you are!!

  • If you are cold calling, try calling just asking for information (informational interviewing). Start a conversation to find out more about the office you are looking at. Don’t mention that you are looking for work or an office space. Ask questions about the person’s practice and what they do there. Go get a massage there ! See if you want to participate in or be associated with that office! People respond when they can tell you are interested in them. One of the basic needs of people is to be of value. If you can show you are sincerely interested and not out to get something from them other than information, both parties will benefit from the connection.

  •   Get to know them.

  •   Then there are the standard rules: be on time for the interview, dress appropriately. (Even though massage tends to be an informal business, looking good is important and shows your respect).
    bullet After the interview, send some kind of acknowledgment – a thank you card, an email, a phone call something!! Even if they said something like “We’ll contact you”. 

  •   Even if you don’t get the space or job, send a follow up after that. You never know what will happen. Something may not work out with the new person, things may change or there may be more opportunities in the future. Don’t give up!

  • Suggest creating an employee contract so that you will know exactly what is expected of you and what is expected of the employer. Don’t leave anything to guessing. It is always better to get things in writing. If you are sub-contracting, a contract will be a necessary part of the agreement and will also thoroughly outline the details. Know what your contract says and what every line means!

  • Don’t ever give up until you get exactly what you want!!  Don’t settle for less!

Massage Envy – The Blessing and Curse

I try to stay out of discussions about Massage Envy mainly because I get myself in trouble because they are such a controversy in the massage profession.  I have been writing about them since the beginning.  (Massage Envy – Love them or leave them)

At first I was really scared of them, thinking that they would ruin my business since I am priced much higher than the fees they charge.  I thought at first that they wouldn’t last long – but of course they have.   Each Massage Envy is run independently and the owner can make the places much friendlier to massage therapists and some do just that.

On the positive side:

  • They provide jobs when there are not many jobs in massage to be found.
  • They pay for MT to take CE classes (from what I understand)
  • They donate money lots of money!) to things like the AMTA and the Massage Therapy Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation.
    ($678,173 to support the Arthritis Foundation in 2012, according to ABMP ,  $100,000 to fund clinical research for the past two years according to this press release)
  • They advertise in Oprah Magazine and on TV and in other places and get massage out there to the public.
  • They provide millions of low cost massages to people getting massage out there more to the public.

On the other side:

  • They are becoming known as the Walmart of the massage profession, taking advantage of massage therapists and paying them low wages and having them work long hours without breaks in many cases.   Working like that, a massage therapists career is at risk because of injuries or burnout working like that for many hours.
  • The negative comments found online of course out number the positive ones.  (People usually complain more than they praise)
  • People may be starting to get sick of  their sales people.
  • They don’t do intake’s on clients or I have heard that the front desk people do intakes which just won’t help the massage therapist in educating clients.
  • You can’t make a living there working at Massage Envy.  It usually needs to be a second income for a family or have other means of support.  If you are trying to make a living working there, it will be a struggle on $15-$20 an hour.
  • They always say that the MT makes up the income in tips and that is what makes the difference for their wages, but I as a sole proprietor charging $85 an hour still gets tips on top of that too.

Yesterday when I was looking through the AMTA-WA lawyers website (which is a free service offered with membership) I found an interesting question in their FAQ’s for MT.  It asked something like – can my husband who is not a licensed massage therapist own a massage business?   The answer was NO.   So how then are Massage Envy’s opening in WA State?  I asked the attorney (John Pieck) for clarification and indeed it is a big issue here.  The Board of Health has agreed to not prosecute for now.  Some Massage Envy owners are actually going to massage school!   I wonder if that will help them really understand how hard it is for MT to work at a ME!!!!

So what really is the answer to this problem in the massage profession?

The answer is saying no to jobs that are just not paying you enough to live.

The answer is creating more small chains of massage businesses (maybe using the same membership model since it seems to work)  that hire massage therapists as employees and pay them a decent wage so that they can live and succeed at being a massage therapist and stay healthy.  It can be done!  Can you imagine?

  • Being paid a minimum of $25 an hour and being paid whether you had a client or not
  • Being able to make more like $35 or more an hour
  • Being paid bonuses or getting raises based on your experience and also how you do perform at work.  If you are good at building repeat business, you will be paid for your skills.
  • Having heath insurance, vacation pay, money for CE classes
  • Being a part of the business and having the chance to learn skills for running a business

It may start with you first building your own successful massage business and working up to being busy enough to hire others to help you.  The Steady Stream of Clients program  is just the answer.  Shelene Taylor can help you in just a few short weeks, make big changes in the way you work with clients and get them to come back.

After you have your schedule filled and If you are interested in learning how to hire massage therapists and learn how to keep their schedule filled which really  means that you can help more people through massage,  Shelene Taylor of  www.iambiz.com .  Tell her I sent you!  (Julie Onofrio!)  She offers a 6 month coaching program to help you with every step of the way.