"Planning is bringing the future into the present so
that you can do something about it now."
- Alan Lakein
A Back-up Person
If you have your own private practice or small massage therapy business, you know that many clients prefer to receive a massage at the comfort of their own home or location. It is because of this demand that many Massage Therapists offer Home visit or Mobile Massage Services.
Indeed, home visit is a great way to meet new clients, maintain old ones and of course to supplement your clinic. As a matter of fact many therapist does not have a clinic at all. But reality is, providing in-home or on-site massage therapy is potentially the most hazardous service and setting for any massage therapist to undertake. And the smart Massage Therapists know that no massage session is worth their safety.
There are many ways to ensure your personal safety before, during or after a Home visit. I think one of the best way is to have a back-up person. Below is a suggested safety plan using a back-up person by Sandra Gill in her article Outcall Service and Safety: Preparation is the Key to success originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine last June/July 2000:
1. Communicate with your backup person all the necessary emergency numbers. Prior to leaving for your appointment, make sure your backup person knows the name, address, phone, etc., of where you are going.
2. When you arrive at the outcall location (before you enter), call your backup so they know what time you arrived and tell them you will call them back as soon as you are setup.
3. Go inside, meet the client and complete a brief interview. (If the client is intoxicated, leave.) Hand them your brochure which states your policies and discuss this. Some therapists have a signature line to clearly set the boundaries. Again, if your intuition tells you something is weird, leave. One tactful way to exit is to suddenly become "ill;" call your backup person after you have left. If you feel comfortable, setup. When you are ready, call your backup while your client can hear you and say, "I'm starting with Mr./Ms. Xxxxx at xxxx address. I'll call you when finished at approximately xxxx." This will notify the client that you have someone looking after you who knows where you are. Once again, always keep your vehicle's keys on your person. This can't be stressed enough.
4. If you forget to call your backup person, they should start calling you back in about 10 to 15 minutes. If you don't answer, they should send for help immediately. When you are finished and have left, call your backup and let them know you are safe.
5. When you have finished the session, received payment, and (perhaps) rebooked, leave on time. Many clients will want to chat, fix you coffee, tea or a light meal. Clients sometimes forget you have provided a service (albeit, a wonderful service) and are not a guest. They have free time, so why not visit for awhile? This "visiting" costs you time and distorts the client/professional relationship. Be courteous and explain to the client you have to leave for your next session to arrive on time.
Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. And when your safety is at risk, especially during mobile services, it pays to have a back-up! Let it be a person who cares for you. And you can always give them a free massage every now and then! Not that you have to, but who can refuse that?
- Leo Feraer-Oporto