Clear Policies and How to Enforce Them - Video and Templates

Have clear policies and enforce them

Take the time to have clear policies written out. Have a cancellation policy and enforce it. When and how do you accept payment? What is your policy as far as a client being under the influence of drugs or alcohol? How about doctors’ notes? Have them all written out and available for your clients. Do not wait for a situation to arise when you need the policy. By then, it is too late. If you own a massage business, you will most likely encounter all of the following situations.

  • Cancellation Policy
  • Payment Policy
  • Drug/Alcohol Policy
  • Request for a doctor’s note
  • Firing a client

The easiest way to enforce your policies is to be extremely clear with what the rules are in your own mind BEFORE you have to enforce the policy. This is most often the issue with Cancellation Policies. Do you allow for a "free pass" for the first occurrence? What if the client is ill? Family emergencies? Make these decisions beforehand.

Examples

Write, or if you already have them written, review and edit the following policies. When writing and editing your policies, consider how you will enforce them. A policy you are not enforcing is worse than not having the policy at all. Simple examples are supplied below.

  • Cancellation Policy
  • Payment Policy
  • Drug/Alcohol Policy
  • Request for a doctor’s note
  • Firing a client

Cancellation Policy:

Traditional:

Cancellations within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment will result in being charged for 100% of the service. There are no exceptions.

Alternative:

Please kindly provide 24 hours notice if you need to cancel your appointment. There is no charge for cancelling an appointment within 24 hours. However, it is at the therapist’s discretion if she would like to terminate treatment after multiple cancellations. This is a busy practice that works with clients who are invested in their health. If your therapist feels like you are not invested in the treatment plan provided, you will be excused from the practice.

Payment Policy:

Payment is required at the time of service. Returned checks will result in a $40 service charge in addition to the amount of the original check.

Drug/alcohol Policy:

If a client arrives to their appointment under the influence of any drug that impairs their ability to give feedback to the therapist about pain and comfort, the session will be terminated. The client will be charged the full fee for the scheduled appointment. Each case is at the digression of the therapist.

Doctor’s note request:

Dear Dr. Smith,

I am requesting doctor’s clearance for Swedish massage for your patient, John Alabaster due to his recent TIA.

Thank you,

Joyce Gauthier, LMT

(Have the client sign as well.)

Firing a client due to late cancellations/no-shows:

Dear Jamie,

After not attending three scheduled massage appointments on 1/12/19, 2/13/19, and 3/14/19 I am terminating our client/therapist relationship. You are no longer invited to my practice.

Take care,

Joyce Gauthier, LMT

Firing a client due to inappropriate behavior:

Dear Jamie,

Due to the inappropriate behavior and pushing of boundaries in your last appointment at 2:00 p.m. on 1/14/19, you are no longer invited to attend my practice. After multiple attempts at telling you that grabbing my hand was making me uncomfortable and was unacceptable, you continued to do it. This serves as an immediate termination of you as a client at Gauthier Medical Massage. If you feel the need to discuss this matter further, you can contact my lawyer, Saul Goodman at 1-800-LWYRUP.

Joyce Gauthier, LMT

Template for a New Cancellation Policy to Send to Your Clients

New Cancellation Policy

Please kindly provide 24 hours notice if you need to cancel your appointment. There is no charge for cancelling an appointment within 24 hours. However, it is at the therapist’s discretion if she would like to terminate treatment after multiple cancellations. This is a busy practice that works with clients who are invested in their health. If your therapist feels like you are not invested in the treatment plan provided, you will be excused from the practice.

Why?

I have always had a difficult time enforcing my previous policy (charging if there is a cancellation within 24 hours). I looked inward, took a long walk, and pondered why that was so. This is where my new policy came to me. It is not about the money, it is about boundaries and respect. Cancellations are a part of running a massage business. People get sick, or have emergencies, or even FORGET! Who am I to judge whether your excuse is valid or not? It will be clear, however, when someone is not invested in their care- when I am putting more effort into maintaining the relationship than the client is. I am to the point in my practice and as an individual where if a relationship is lacking mutual respect, I will end it. I want clients who choose to spend the time with me to heal. I want clients who are hungry for wellness.

With all that being said, cancellations and tardiness are not a huge problem for me, but it happens and needs to have a policy. So, if you are ever in a position where you need to cancel, give me as much notice as possible. There will be no hard feelings. When you do not have to cancel, be fully present for your appointment. Get to the office early, have a drink of water, hit the bathroom, relax. Do not rush in at the last minute apologizing. Respect yourself and give your mind and body the time to be fully present the second you set foot in my purple room. It will not only strengthen our relationship, but your relationship with yourself.