It’s in my nature to help anyone who asks. As a caring service provider growing a business, it’s difficult for me to say no to clients, especially if they want to book an appointment. I’ve struggled with keeping set business hours. Anytime I’m unable to honor a client’s request I risk losing their business, which may lead to less income and can create negative public relations.
When I opened Get Deep Massage (now Deep Heeling), I had lots of time open for clients but knew that was temporary (I believed I would be successful, which is essential for success). Over time, I knew I’d fill my schedule and have less to offer. I made a conscious decision at the onset of my practice to have specific hours available based on when I wanted to work and when I felt comfortable seeing clients I didn’t know. I also designated two days off per week and limited the number of clients I see each day so I would avoid overuse injuries (click here to learn about my experience with those).
Upholding this boundary has been challenging! There have been weeks that I was slow and got a call on my day off for an appointment later that day. I’ve had weeks that were so booked I couldn’t squeeze anyone else in unless I scheduled them outside of regular business hours. Turning people down who benefit from my services (and increase my revenue) is hard, but I’ve stuck with it for these reasons:
- Clients receive better massages when I want to be there and I’m not overworked.
- I attract clients who are available when I do my best work with a predictable schedule.
- Without adequate self-care, I have a greater chance of getting sick. If I’m sick, I can’t give massages.
None of these reasons made it any easier to turn down bookings. After grappling with this dilemma for over a year, I came up with a solution. I now charge extra for appointments booked outside of my regular hours ($10 more per half-hour). I’ve found this has reduced the number of these requests, and if a client really needs to see me when I’m usually off I make a little extra money for extending that courtesy. I keep a cancellation list for clients who prefer to come in during business hours who I can’t fit in when they contact me, which has worked fantastically for me and them!
Massage therapy is a physically and energetically demanding job. It’s my responsibility to take care of myself so I can give my clients the service they deserve, and having a consistent schedule keeps me engaged and deters burnout. It’s an important part of maintaining a practice that I love!
Do you have a set schedule or is it more flexible? What advantages or disadvantages do you experience as a result? Please share your insights in the comments. Thank you!
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For “Three Reasons You Need to Set Office Hours” from Erin E. Flynn, click here.