Dear Beloved Massage Clients,
Please don’t blow me off.
I was looking forward to seeing you today. I excitedly took your request to see me and wrote it down in my calendar. I scheduled everyone else around you, and allotted for extra time in case you would be running a few minutes late, and so that we could talk a little bit before your session. I scheduled a cushion for afterward so that you could take your time leaving and not get wadded up in the driveway by the next client.
As the day got closer, I sent you a reminder text about looking forward to seeing you. Then, this morning I looked to see who was all coming so that I would know how to plan my work day around our time together and know when I could zip out to the store or for a quick run.
Two down and two more to go, I change sheets, bleach the drool spot on the floor beneath the face cradle, throw in loads of laundry, vacuum the rug so it’s fluffy, and sanitize the door knobs, bathroom and face cradle. I quickly pee, get a drink of water, chew down a handful of almonds and head back up to find your favorite music.
I look at the clock, and it seems you are a few minutes late. I don’t want to bother you while driving, so I wait a bit. Everyone occasionally runs late. It’s now been 15 minutes, so I double-check my calendar and our texts to ensure that I wrote down the correct time. It looks like I have. Perhaps there has been an accident, or bad traffic. I figure this is a good time to check a few emails, but I can’t really get into any long project in case you pull up. I bring my computer to the front of the house so that I can look at the computer while watching out of the window at the driveway for you. Another 15 minutes goes by. I’ve got another client after my session with you, so I’m trying to determine how much time I have left before that happens. That will determine what I can do during this time. I have to be ready 15 minutes prior to the next client, in case they come early, so I’ve got 45 minutes left. I put on my shoes so that I can take the dog for a short walk. I can’t get too sweaty, because then I will stink for my next client. I can’t call the insurance company, because I will probably be on hold for so long that when I finally get a live person, my next client will arrive.
On my way out the door with the dog, I text you: Hey, looks like you’ve missed our appointment. Hope you’re ok.
You text back: Oh! So sorry! Can I come now?
Me: No, I’m sorry, I’ve got another client after you who needs to stay on schedule.
You: Oh, ok, well when’s your next availability?
I’m torn. This is the second time this has happened. Can I afford you as a client? Probably not. I have a list of clients on a wait list. There was not time to call them while I waited to see if you were coming. I missed out on the income from that session. It’s like being at work, and your boss says, “For this next hour, I don’t want you to work. You have to stay here, but you’re off the clock.”
I love clients who just pay me for the session, knowing that my time should be honored. It doesn’t even have to be the full amount. Some people bring me an apology gift – a bottle of bourbon, a homemade soup; a peace offering.
I am uncomfortable with clients who ask, “Do you want me to pay you for the session?” A more accurate question would be, “Do you want to get paid today?” or “Do you want me to be a responsible person? That’s not my decision. My decision is whether I allow you to return as a client.
If you are late, please don’t expect the therapist to still work for the full session. Now you are also asking the next client to donate their time to you. Also, your therapist has been dedicating their time to you since before the session began even if it isn’t with their hands on you. You being late does not mean you get a discount for the missed time. You missed the time, the therapist did not. If your day is regulated by time, and your therapist is the one consistently late or canceling at the last minute, have a conversation about it. If it continues, get a new massage therapist.
Matching your needs with a massage therapist can be tricky, but when you find one who addresses your needs, do your best to nurture that relationship. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to create a great massage therapy session.
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