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Before you “hire” employees…

With Rebecca de Azevedo LMT (Utah)

There are several myths about adding employees. I’ve outlined several problems I wish all clinic owners would consider BEFORE they lease a larger space or hire anyone. Here you go.

Hiring people is NOT an organic, natural next-step for busy solo practices.

Adding employees requires your full time attention on other people.

It is a quantum leap. e.g. if you want to “replace” your income, you will need about 6-8 therapists, and this is a full time job.

Managing a clinic requires a completely different skill set than the one you possess as a massage therapist serving clients in solo practice.

Hiring is not a one-time event, it’s an ongoing process.

Employees will not/do not care about your business like you do; don’t expect them to.

Massage therapists who may already know they want to have their own practices eventually are not good hires. You need to weed them out in the interview process.

Do not hire people because you want to “help them out”. This is codependency, not a viable business model. They should be adding massive value to your business. That’s why you hire them.

Only hire people when you have worked out the numbers mathematically, to show that you understand the cost of employees, and that you understand employees will COST you money for a long time, before they make you money.

Hiring employees will not help you work less and make more or make money while you aren’t working. You will work MORE and make LESS money when you hire people.

You will be working every hour that they are working.

It’s perfectly fine to turn away business – that means you need to raise your rates. It doesn’t mean you should hire people to take those appointments.

Before you onboard another therapist, you should have everything in place to recruit, hire, onboard, train, ongoingly manage, measure, and fire and terminate employees. This is an entire HR department you need to build, tweak, and run/manage.

You will not likely be their friends. You are their manager. You are the owner and you assume all the risk of the business; they can walk away at any time. Even if your mother is a massage therapist and you hire her, you might need to fire her if she’s not a good fit or not doing her job!

It’s *not* the hallmark of a successful practice to get to the point where you feel like hiring people will help you grow. Success differs for each person; get clear on what YOU want.

Hiring and managing massage therapists is BRUTAL. It is not “fun”. It is a lot of work.

Now, BEFORE you decide to hire someone…

Have an honest conversation with yourself about what your end goal is. What is your motivation? Is hiring people truly the best way to get there? Have you worked it out mathematically so that you know it makes financial sense? Most solo practitioners can make 6 figures on their own without employees.

Assess your time: You cannot be seeing 20+ clients a week AND manage other massage therapists. Management is a full time position.

Assess your operating capital. Can you afford to not see clients for 3+ months while you transition into being a manager and not a therapist?

Assess your business model. The main thing here is, I would hope to high heaven, that you truly truly understand the difference between independent contractors vs employees vs tenants. I’ve written on that elsewhere. (Misclassification is rampant in our industry in the United States.)

I hope that you all make the right hiring decisions and build a team of wonderful therapists that support you in all the right ways. 🙂

As always, I believe in you!



Rock Your Massage Practice Academy with Rebecca de Azevedo, LMT, Business Mentor and Coach for Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers.

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