Chiropractor's wife!

Chiropractor's wife!
Have Curves In All The Right Places?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Adventures In Business Ownership

3 Strikes Cafe opened near my mother in laws house. They were a cute diner that sold hotdogs and such. We met the owner and expressed adoration as we too were opening a business. She said, "It's scary." Rightly so, a neighbor had complained that "we don't need another fast food place in Payson." The place didn't even last 2 months. Now a Papa Murphy's take and bake pizza is there.
We changed our name and concept from who we bought from to distingish ourselves from his practice. Our vision was to make chiropractic care affordable and accesible for all people. Not just a luxery for healthy people or back pain victims! We were cash only and non participating with Medicare. We hired 2 part time receptionists right away. They were adorable and I trained them 2 weeks before resuming the Doctor's wife office manager full time mother role. After 6 weeks I realized how expensive those two girls were and how if we kept them we'd be bankrupt in 90 days. We let them go and I decided to put the kiddos in daycare and join my husband full time at the office.
It worked! We were always at the very least breaking even which we considered an accomplishment. We wrote ourselves a $10K loan from our credit card to stay in business. The kids loved daycare for the most part and were near our office in a home situation. I missed my kiddos. Every morning I referred to it as the trail of tears because my son would cry all the way there after several months. I felt like I was slowly becoming half assed at the office and as a mom. Serving either role poorly and far below my potential. 6 months in to that arrangment I took the kiddos out of daycare and insisted on a well deserved break.
The kiddos and I flew to Texas and stayed 2 weeks. I was so frusterated that we were still living in my mother in laws basement. I was frusterated that we would have significant money flow in only to watch it all be consumed by bills. I remember crazy experiences. One time a woman called and left a message on Saturday and chewed us out for not being opened. I called her back and warmly invited her in and she said she didn't need us then and because we werent opened Saturdays we would go out of business. She was angry!
For the record, we were THE only chiropractor for miles opened on Fridays and actually, we were opened Saturdays by appointment!!
I remember a teenager coming in right away when we first took over and seeing us several times...13 to be exact but the mom never giving us the auto information. What little she did give us I was told that the case was closed. I threatened to sue the parents and told them we don't give free care! They settled with us but loathed our existance as if WE WERE THE BAD GUYS!
One time a cute young lady came in and had an initial exam and had her mother come in for the results. The mother literally changed the entire energy in our warm, friendly little office from positive to merky negative. She was sooooo upset and I was kind and endured dirty scoffs and looks from her and I couldn't understand it. When we had a moment alone with the young lady patient I couldn't help but ask what her moms problem was. She said that her mom hated chiropractors because one in Springville, Utah (a couple towns north of ours) slept with her sister. Oh, well, that explains it.....hardly.
I remember being chewed out for not being opened early enough by a dear man. So we literally changed our hours for one patient. He was a wonderful man who I adored. One day I called to confirm his regular appointment and was told he had died the Sunday prior and was already burried! Needless to say it was shocking! To stop and consider that gentleman would never walk through our doors again was odd!! Months later that similar scenerio would happen when taking time to invite my favorite vets in. A weepy wife took time to call me back and say thanks but no thanks as her husband died months prior from mastatic cancer. I can't get used to losing patients. It was so surreal.
After a year in business we wanted to give up. We had been asked to stock every multi level marketing product from herbalife to young living on our shelves for people, and we were constantly being taken advantage of! We also weren't comfortable taking peoples money! We had a crappy landlord who mistreated me and was a complete dick. We wanted out! My husband got licensed in Colorado and we headed for interviews.
A wonderful trip only wasted our time and refocused our situation and we decided we would stay in Salem, Utah but that we would move to a new location, new build out and just start fresh in a place where we had space to implement systems and really be noticed.
Our new office was a dream. We used all our tax return and I financed several extra thousand to make it all possible. We moved in May 2010 and did fairly well thru July. August was our first rediculously slow month. Then Septemeber. By October we needed a real pick up but it never came. Novemeber began real discussions about our dwindling business account and the need for working capital. All the while my husband was always applying for jobs. He was always told he needed to be in his career at least 5 years to teach at technical colleges, he had paid for and applied with the ARL to teach in Utah in several subjects and just needed to land a certified position to complete the process, and he couldn't get anything. ANYTHING!
I was already working at the local hospital which afforded us to finally have our own place from March 2010 on. That means we endured 19 months of all our belongings being in a garage being infested with mice and droppings. I think about the sacrafices and the bull we endured and cringe. It didn't help that the guy we bought from had a $20 lean on our business and we got to borrow money to pay that off and he moved back and wanted to practice within our non-compete parameters!? He also wanted his remaining $8K we owed on the purchase price asap. What a joke!!
Working nights meant my husband was alone, a one trick pony most of that year. I helped a fair amount especially with billing and reception where I could. We were a good team but our kiddos needed their parents and our lives were just up side down.
Here he had put in so much time and dedication only to be used and abused by the area he refers to as home. I remember being at a fair once and being asked, "what is the difference between massage therapy and chiropractic?" I was on a mission to educate people about what I witnessed my husband go through to be a chiropractor.
It SUCKS. Most people are so misinformed that you would expect that the price of the education and process in which to become one would be much less and require less. Society seems to think of them as dummies who can't make medical school and who pop backs to make pain go away when what they really are come with the title "physician" on his professional license that requires mal practice insurance and the likes of real "doctor" education.
I am so sad for them. Those of us who adore them and love them and appreciate them and reap the benefits are few. It is ashame that they have to feel like car salesmen and be treated like massage therapists, "just crack my back". For every person who came in demanding that my husband "just crack" their backs they are essentially asking him to break his code of ethics, cut corners, and not care about them. They are asking him to dispose of all that knowledge and work.
I am so done with owning a business and so his he. It isn't worth it. The IRS and County taxes, and sales tax and the BS is unbearable. Depressing!

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