In the red

It’s my last real day in the shop today. Officially that’s tomorrow, but it’s Monday and only a half day in any case as we settle at 4pm and it’s all theirs.

How do I feel? Like so many times, I don’t feel a lot. Feelings are kept in abeyance while I’m still busy working at it, and there is a part of me that holds back, sceptical until all the forms are signed and sealed. I’m sure I’ll feel a bit then, and I’m tipping quite an amalgam of feelings.

If I feel anything at all it is a very remote sense of anticipation. To a degree this last week has felt a bit of a drag knowing that soon I won’t need to get myself out of bed every morning to get here, won’t need to fret and worry over the myriad issues that pop up all the time. If that’s to be, then why not now? I’ve trudged in regardless.

As it happens there has been a lot to deal with, and things have not progressed as I would have hoped. It’s a struggle still, and as I sit here early on Sunday morning I’m facing a puzzle I don’t as yet have the solving of.

One of the issues I faced in walking out of the shop is therapists wages. Generally I pay last weeks wages from this weeks take. Now that I’m walking out the door it’s not that simple anymore – I still have to pay last weeks wages, but this weeks also. Effectively my wages bill is doubled up.

I knew that was coming up, so in the last month I’ve been trying to pay in advance bits and pieces of salary, so by the time the therapists came to this last week they were each perhaps $50 – $100 in credit.

I managed that, more or less, though not as tidily as I had hoped. Ideally then I needed a big last week after a moderate second last week (equates to moderate wages bill).

That hasn’t quite eventuated. In rough terms about 43% of every massage goes to the therapist, with the balance going to the shop. I have to pay rent, bills, reception costs from that portion. The bigger the take the bigger the wages bill, but so to the more money to the shop.

Coming into this week I had a total wages bill – therapists and reception – of about $1,600 owing. So I have to make that much, but in so doing I’m incurring further wage expense. There’s a sliding scale then. There comes a point where I’ve made enough to cover all wages (bearing in mind I’m still paying other expenses), but up to that point I’m in the red.

Thanks to some unfortunate circumstances I’m in the red as of this morning, and won’t get out of it. In some ways I’ve had the worst possible set of situations arise in my last week.

We were on track until Thursday. Thursday morning a recent hire, a popular, but unreliable girl, called up to say she wouldn’t be coming in later, nor ever again. I was furious. That left me with one therapist Thursday night. I had 7 walk-outs as a consequence – about $450. She was not in again yesterday, which probably cost me about another $300.

On a Sunday I normally have 3, and sometimes 4 therapists working. Today I have one. One of my regulars has a calisthenics comp. Another had a bad fall and the doctor has said she can’t work. It’s practically impossible to get replacement staff on the weekend, so I’m stuck with just the one therapist on the busiest day of the week. She may be very busy, but realistically the best I can hope for is $500-$600, when on a good day I might expect anywhere up to $1,400.

Presuming a $500 day I’m going to be about $700 short on salaries. I’ve explained that to the girls and they understand. I said I’ll pay them next week, but without a shop I just don’t know how.

On top of that it looks like I might have to add in some money to the settlement tomorrow. It’s a nightmare really. What happens if we don’t settle because I can come up with the cash? I don’t know, but it’s on the cards. This is the puzzle I face and, just quietly, I’m over it.

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