The daily running of the clinic is still my focus. I’m there all week and I know most of our clients on a first-name basis. We strive to provide great massage therapy treatments and customer service as a complete package for each of them and, as a result, they feel very comfortable here.
I open and set up the clinic in the morning, run the day-to-day operations, deal with our clients, put together our staffing schedule based on when I need our RMTs to come in and reconcile a lot of paperwork.
When I gave birth to our youngest child six years ago, my mom was at the point of retiring back home in Croatia. She came to live with us and help with the kids. Without her presence, there’s no way I could have worked as much as I did to build this business.
My mother-in-law lives with us, drives the kids to school and cooks lunches for them. I’m contemplating quitting my day job now, as the workload of juggling multiple roles has become much more challenging, particularly since our second and third clinics are opening before the end of this year.
It was always in our plans to go multi-unit with the franchise system, but we thought that would only happen after about four years, rather than just two. Within the first six months of running our first clinic, though, we realized we were doing well and we decided to expand while we were still trending strongly. As mentioned, ours is now the number one Massage Addict franchise in the country.
Our success has a lot to do with the service we provide and how we make people feel welcome. Like Masa described, we know a lot of our clients by their first names and we want them to feel at home here.
Marketing was a big challenge in the beginning, when no one in Edmonton knew about Massage Addict. That’s no longer an issue now. Everyone knows our name, including both clients and RMTs. And while there’s usually a lot of turnover in the RMT world, out of the 21 currently on our staff, 20 have been with us for more than six months. That’s a strong level of stability in this field.
Our RMTs know we take care of everything (except treating clients) and they’ll take home a good paycheque every two weeks. If they were to go it alone, they would have to cover their overhead costs by themselves. With all of that in mind, we now see instructors at the RMT schools recommending their students investigate Massage Addict as a career opportunity.
I never anticipated life as a franchisee would be as hard as it was. Initially, there is so much to learn, do and be responsible for. I did know it would get easier with time, though, and it has.
We now have a head therapist who can run our first clinic without me. If I’m not on-site, I’m just a phone call away for our employees when they have questions. This makes things more manageable for the moment, but once our second clinic opens, I’ll be putting in my full-time hours there to get it going.
Eventually, we’ll get staff to run our clinics and then Renan and I will be able to share our time between them. We’ll still manage the RMT schedules, payroll, supplies, paperwork and billing, as well as responding to any glitches or customer complaints. We want the process to stay consistent.
As Renan mentioned, there can be a lot of turnover in this industry. Retaining RMTs is sometimes harder than hiring them. We try to do little things for our staff like highlighting the employee of the month in our newsletter and buying lunch for the team on Friday.
Treating people fairly and with respect is how Renan and I operate, which has helped create a great clinic culture, with very low RMT turnover. We provide more than 1,000 massages a month, so the RMTs have a full working schedule here.
We grew tremendously in less than two years, getting to the top of 60-some Massage Addict clinics, but my goal now is to also be the number one place to work in Alberta.