Massage King is proud to present this very special interview with the creator of this new and innavotive massage software.
What led you to create the software?
In 1995 I opened Island Day Spa in Dallas. I had worked with St. Paul medical center for two years, so I gained a lot of experience working with doctors, physical therapists and occupational therapists. I also had to learn to work extensively with patient files, insurance billing and treatment notes. I looked around for software to keep track of sessions, appointments, and billing and I really wasn't satisfied with what I found. There really wasn't anything for massage therapists and the other software I found that would work well, was priced from $5,000 to $10,000. [More details here.] I worked in my center giving massages and we also rented out space to other therapists by the session. After their sessions, they would come to the front desk to check out their clients and they were saying, 'What is that on your computer? I want that.' I gave it out to 8 or 10 therapists in the Dallas area, and our phone started ringing and people started saying, 'Can you tell me about that Massage Software?' Now we have close to 5000 installations, 25 in Canada, and some in Australia, England and South Africa, and one in Guam. So this was really borne out of our own need. It just so happened that my partner was a developer for Oracle, the best database company in the world. So, we began developing this software for public release. After working on it from 1997 - 1999 we launched our first version, 2.0. We spent two years talking to massage therapists , finding out what their needs were, and making sure it would work without crashing. By December of 2000, we were on 2.2 - and that's what we've been running with for two years, and we're just about to launch the Pro version. As we got feedback, we started compiling our list of what needed to go into the professional version, and how it would work. Keep in mind that this is the only software out there developed by massage therapists for massage therapists. That's why it flows the way it does and feels the way it does. That's why it has the anatomical charts with the paint feature like it does, because massage therapists are right-brained, because massage therapists tend to prefer tactile rather than the typical text based information. What we've found is that typically, if they can turn their computer on and know what the start button is, they can install it within 5 minutes and be up and running with 10 minutes, without even opening the manual.
What was your motivation for coming out with a PRO version?
The current version takes care of the basics like client information, mailing labels, form letters, insurance billing, and doing treatment notes. That's pretty much what it does, and it is solid in that. It doesn't crash. We had a guy who tested Air Traffic Control software. That can't crash or else the planes do. He said he could not crash it. He told me it was very rare for him to test software for weeks and not be able to crash it. So now the whole reason for the PRO version is that we started getting calls from therapists who were using our software and quicken, or our software and Peachtree. So they had two pieces of software running. They told us that it would be really nice if we just had one piece of software for word processing, billing, taxes, etc. They wanted more functionality in the treatment section, and other stuff. We took two and a half years and $300,000 building this professional version. We built the pro version to run a small hospital. It's much more complex and detailed than most other software, underneath the hood so-to-speak, than many of the 5 and 10 thousand dollar medical packages out there. What the end user will see is just as simple and user-friendly as the previous version, but what they won't see is the complexity behind-the-scenes. It will give them all the functionality they could ever want, all for around $399. I have absolutely no problem putting it up against a $ 10,000 medical package. And, if I do say so myself, we will most likely come out on top.
So do you still practice massage therapy?
I still see about 5 to 10 clients on Friday and Saturday and am still licensed in the State of Texas. I am also a CE provider in Texas, and soon in Florida and Arkansas.
Why Florida and Arkansas?
Arkansas is only 3 hours away. Florida has more massage therapists than any state in the country. Texas is second. Because we have worked so closely with the Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA) and quite a few schools down in Florida, I have been asked to come down there and do some workshops on computers in the massage therapy practice. We're trying to help massage therapists move into the 21st century. That's what we're trying to do with this software. Make the average massage therapist look the way the best clinic in town looks.
How can you make software that is more complicated but still is just as simple to operate?
More features but within those features, we have kept it just as easy to use. Once we create a module, we spend just as much time as we did developing it figuring out how to have as few clicks as possible by automating it and by combining features. We really try to look at it from a novice computer users point of view. As an example, our on-screen scheduler is integrated with the income tracking so that when you build an appointment, you are building an invoice. This way, when they come in and complete the appointment, you click 'finalize and pay'. Their invoice comes up, with the appropriate entries already on the page. You can add any retail purchases and then click 'quick pay' and it's a posted and paid invoice. You don't have to understand accounting or bookkeeping. The program takes care of it for you. That's a good example of how we have added functionality without adding complexity. It keeps track of inventory. We've included things like low inventory warnings. These things help you order an item when you are about to run out. We've automated so many things.
MassageKing keeps careful track of its inventory, so I know what a nightmare that can be. If a massage therapist doesn't know about inventory, is it really worth trying to keep it all straight in a co
One thing we want to propose to therapists is that if you're not doing some sort of retailing, you're missing 30% of your income. If you're not taking credit cards, you're missing 30% of your income. One of the books that we are selling and will include in our software is 'Success beyond Work.' The author is Colleen (Steigerwald) Holloway, LMT. She sold her practice for six figures because, for one thing, she had built up a retail end of it, and that was around 32% of the income. It's a good national average for those clinics and centers that do retail. As for the software, the point is that it's very simple to use. Put in the item and how much you want. Put in a 'low inventory level.' When you put up an invoice for that item and reach that low amount, it will warn you and ask you if you want to reorder. Then the computer will pop up the product and supplier information then print it out. It's really simple.
Do you have a dog?
No. I have a cat that I inherited from my daughter.
You said your software is by massage therapists, for massage therapists. How does that benefit the average massage therapist trying to find software?
The thing that I think sets us apart from other development companies out there is that first, our development and support staff is in house. We don't use outside contractors. Secondly, we truly have a passion for the massage therapy industry. We just happened to come up with something that was needed in the industry, but we are also closely tied to the industry. We sponsor the Texas Association of Massage Therapists. We give software for raffles and meetings to many regional chapters of associations in many states. We try to give back to our industry. The other thing about our company is that we don't expect people to buy three licenses for them to have software for every computer they use. If a center buys one piece of software, they can use it on all their computers, as long those computers are owned by whoever bought the software.
How much is support?
In the current version, support is free for as long as you own it. For the pro version, free support for either 30 days or some number of incidents. We will publish details on that before we do the full release. There will be a maintenance contract available that will include free upgrades within the contract time.
Thank you for your time!
Thank you for yours!