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Price changes from July 1

I don't make price changes lightly or often.
Salaried workers usually get a small percentage increase each year.
I believe in price stability, the complete opposite of service stations who change their prices daily!
A couple of years ago, I guaranteed my prices until July 1, 2024.
However, I have not only been dealing with inflation.
Following a vexatious complaint to council during the Rockingham By Election, (in which I was a candidate), it was discovered I was not compliant with some of the dated regulations for home based businesses and I have made a number of significant changes:

  1. I can't open on Sundays or Public Holidays any more

  2. My hours on other days have been restricted. I occasionally had an early bird, someone in pain wanting treatment before work rather than being in pain all day and seeing me after work. I occasionally had a client working a long shift wanting an appointment at 8pm. And I have to close at 5pm on Saturdays

  3. I am restricted to 6 clients per day. Originally this was just 5 clients a day, (and I had to close at 5pm daily), and was the case for four months until I appealed. On a day when several people book 30 minute or 45 minute appointments, or if I get a late cancellation or No Show, it means my income is severely restricted.

  4. I am obliged to leave a 15 minute gap between appointments, which the online booking system handles automatically. I used to see two clients then take a half hour break. You can get something done in half an hour! I have added a 2 hour appointment for couples/families/friend wanting back to back appointments on the online booking system.

I am now fully compliant, but it means the number of appointments I can offer have been reduced by about 10 each week. This comes at a time, in the midst of a cost of living crisis, whereby clients are increasingly booking shorter appointments than the standard hour appointments. Recently over a two day period, for example, out of 7 appointments, only 2 were for an hour!
The result of all this is that my mission statement is made much harder to achieve, I am unable to offer the same level of service, I can't see as many clients in a week and I can't offer times which are most convenient for clients.
It had been my mantra to have prices that allowed me to earn in 7 days what other practitioners earned in 5 days.
I did so to keep prices affordable to be of service to a wider section of the community, to increase the number of people who try Remedial Massage, and to increase the awareness of Remedial Massage and to help make Remedial Massage people's first choice for relief of aches and pains.

My income has gone down substantially as a result of these changes, without taking even taking inflation into account

Some people have permanent jobs and job security, superannuation, sick leave, holiday pay, long service leave and other benefits. Sole traders do not get a regular steady income, super, sick leave, holiday pay or long service leave, lose 2% transaction fees to the banks and are unpaid tax collectors of the GST and lose 10% of revenue above $75,000 per annum. (An absurdly low GST threshold which has not changed since 2007). The council's regulations are outdated. The State laws allowing Sunday trading and liberalisation of trading hours came into effect in 2012. We live in the Uber Eats society where hard working people want (and deserve!) a convenient service. One outcome of my case is that the regulations are now under review, which should benefit all operators of home based occupations and businesses.

It has left me in a huge quandary. I am having to reflect on my mission statement, which had held me and 7,000 clients in good stead for donkeys years. One is to change my philosophy and be like everyone else and aim for regular clients. But I enjoy being like a tow truck driver! A tow truck driver doesn't know how busy they will be; it depends on how many cars break down and how many accidents there are. But the point is that people need their cars towed the same day, they don't want to wait a day or two to be seen! I like offering a service where people in pain can see me the same day.
Should I put my prices up to reflect the reduction of appointments I can offer?
Should I do away with the half hour appointment, due to the requirement of a 15 minute gap afterwards as not being economically viable?
Should I do away with the Regular's discounts?

At this time, I really don't know what changes to make on July 1, but all I can say is that I clearly have to do something!
My apologies in advance to all clients for having to make changes, but I hope you understand it is entirely due to the restrictive nature of the regulations for home based practices and not a change in my philosophy!

And another apology for a long read without announcing exactly what the price changes will be, only the reasons for making them!


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