If you’re smart, you have to first be asking whether or not this is just another sales pitch, right? Well it’s not. This article is all about helping the next generation of RMTs avoid the pitfalls of starting a career. The following advice is intended to simply help RMTs make good informed decisions when interviewing for a new clinic. Being in the industry for so long, we have seen many “deals” struck with RMTs that hinge just on “low rent”. Many of these deals bind the RMT into a situation where they wish they asked a few more questions before signing a contract. Low rent doesn’t mean much if it doubles in six months, or if there are no patients coming through the door! Here’s some straight-forward advice that if you speak with a seasoned RMT, I’m sure they would agree:
- Don’t take the first job offer you get! Realize as an RMT, that there are over 100 clinics in the Lower Mainland looking for your expertise. You should weigh your choices.
- Before you start looking for a clinic, ask yourself what does your “dream career” looks like. Make a list and describe this. For example, do you want diverse cases and to be challenged or just want to be doing relaxation massages? Do you want the business-side to be taken care of, or do you want to also be collecting payments, issuing receipts, bookkeeping, and most importantly be responsible for marketing? What’s the “culture” of the clinic? Do you work alone or on a team? … spend some time doing this and you will develop YOUR interview questions when you meet the clinic owner.
- It’s not about the Rent! This is such a mind-block for so many RMTs out there. Anyone in business will tell you, it’s not about how much your expenses are, its all about how much you make at the end of the day. Please remember this. So many RMTs simply evaluate clinics solely on “rent”. But would it matter to you if you paid 30% rent if you were only 50% booked? Or would you rather pay a clinic 40% and be 100% booked? Yes, a no-brainer.
- Next question: what does the rent you pay get you? This is such an important question. For example, a rent at 30% may just get you a room, a table, and linens. Maybe reception is limited, and you have to do your own laundry, money collections and invoicing, and your own billings and bookkeeping. However, maybe a clinic that pays a higher rent, such as 40%, includes virtually everything for you such as laundry services, better equipment, bookkeeping, a full-time office administrator, night-before reminder calls to patients, … My point is, EVALUATE why rent may be higher, and ask “what does this give me?”. All of those things do cost money anyways. If you had to do your own laundry for example, what is that cost (not to mention the cost of your time at $120/hr)?
- Ok, one last thing on “rent”… Be sure to ask how rent changes over time. I’ve met so many dissatisfied RMTs tell me that they started at a clinic for such a low rent, only to find that their rent increased every 6 months or so. One person recently told me her rent doubled in just 6 months! This is a common strategy out there (I deplore!) that some clinic owners attract new RMTs with a crazy low rent, then let the RMT develop a practice, and once they are busy, hike the rent. I hate this because it totally takes advantage of the RMT who now relies on this income and has often spent such efforts trying to build their practice.
- Marketing: ask the clinic owner how they get their new patients. Many clinics out there do “word-of-mouth” marketing, and have virtually little to no budget. For some small clinics, this system may work ok, but you may also find the clinic has developed a system to “equally share new patients” which may be a warning sign to you. If the clinic is “equally charing new patients” than this indicates that new patients may be a bit of an issue for this clinic. You can expect to take a while to develop a practice in a a clinic like this, because new patients are a high commodity here. However, often a clinic that has a marketing budget and good systems developed to acquire new leads will not have this problem, and essentially has developed a demand for their services. Where there is an abundance of new patients, you can expect to develop a practice very quickly.
- Finally, my last tip here is this: before you commit to a clinic, step back and look at the “big picture”. Will this clinic fulfill your “dream career”? What opportunities will this clinic offer you as your career progresses? You should think about your career as a “beginning”, not the “end”. Studies have shown that satisfaction in a career is linked to continual growth and personal development.
This information has been provided by Matt Furlot, RMT and Clinic Founder at Legacies Health Centre, in BC Canada. Matt has been in the industry for 20 years, and has taught at several Massage Therapy Colleges, UBC Masters Physiotherapy Program, International Health Professional Symposiums, and runs a company called Health Med Mastery that supports the business education of healthcare professionals.