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Posted by: Shelley Waite, 5 Jun 2012 9:04AM
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Getting 'portable' couches up and down stairs

Hi, I am just about to embark on my adventure of becoming a mobile therapist. I am 5'3", petite and a bit of a weakling :-) I have purchased the lightest couch I can find - 11-12Kg - to me, that's HEAVY! How am I going to get this thing up flights of stairs?? I can't be the only tiny therapist out there - does anyone have any tips please? I'm going to purchase a trolley for getting it around but do these help with stairs?? Many thanks for any responses.


Nicki Lee
5 Jun 2012 10:21AM

This is why I rarely do mobile work! It is hard, and one suggestion would be that you have a minimum charge for going out (equivalent to hour or even more - 1-1/2 or 2, so maybe they will have a family member or friend also have a treatment) although I realise this may be difficult. It will however at least make your visits fewer and more productive. I find trolleys essential for moving the couch, or a case on wheels. For up and down a few outside stairs and sturdy trolley will help. Inside on carpeted stairs you should be able to slide it up and down. Very best of luck - mobile is hard work and the client should pay a premium for the luxury, so be sure you don't underprice yourself. You could also offer Indian Head Massage, so for a least some clients you would not need to take in the couch. Nicki
Victoria Page
5 Jun 2012 10:35AM

I empathise with you Shelley being 5'2" myself. My couch case is wheeled but makes a horrible noise so I tend lift it onto the back 2 wheels or just carrying it by leaning over to the side - not good! I got a trolley but haven't really used it as I haven't discovered the knack for balancing it right. Actually your post has inspired me to work out the best way to use it because it's important the therapist takes care of themselves before taking care of clients. Stairs can be tricky especially if they're narrow and go round corners - that's when I just grin and bare it. Of course it's always really nice if there's a strong man to do the manoevering for you when you get to the clients house. I think Nicki's absolutely right, we should charge a premium for the extra effort or make sure we're not under-charging. Good luck and persevere if you don't get on with your trolley straight away, it's better than not using anything at all. Victoria :)
Amanda Clegg
5 Jun 2012 12:19PM

I do as little mobile as possible, and only where I can use a downstairs room, for that very reason. I'm 5'11" but am over 50. The only exception was my very first client who was disabled and in a 2nd floor flat with no lift. HOwever, she became a great friend and I treated her fornightly for 10 years until she died. (oooh, that sounds wrong ......... she was 92, so died of age and not massage!) Yes definitely make a minimum booking time - that's not just the couch lifting issue, but minimising travelling time as well - and ensure you charge to cover both issues. I do minimum of an hour, and only where they can't get to me, and within a max 15-20 minute travel radius.
Caz Sayles
5 Jun 2012 12:24PM

Hi, I initially embarked on the mobile route when I first qualified but I soon realised it wasn't for me. The strain of lifting and setting up the couch 4 times a day, on top of trying to create the right environment, being disturbed by phones etc... Made me give it up pretty quickly!! There are no truly easily mobile couches, and you have to consider your own back health. Personally I know only do mobile visits one day a week and only to clients who don't require a couch massage.I do foot, arm, head and neck all seated. Most clients actually prefer to come to you as the environment is conducive to relaxation.
Amanda Clegg
5 Jun 2012 12:34PM

yes - with Caz on the relaxation and distractions aspect. Mostly the people I go out to nowadays are housebound - disabled/elderly/carers, and I usually do both people, so am there for 2 hrs (plus), so it's worthwhile, especially as these tend to be regulars, either monthly or fortnightly.
Rebecca Anne Cliff
6 Jun 2012 10:53AM

Julie Egginton
8 Jun 2012 4:49PM

I'm a mobile therapist who's about 5'2". I have a wheeled case to help me get the couch from the car to the client's premises (not everyone has a drive right next to their front door and I discovered a carry case without wheels was not fun :) ). I also have a requirement that the room in which the treatment takes place is a minimum size and on the ground floor. The last thing we need as therapists is to injure ourselves due to carrying a heavy couch up flights of stairs or incorrect posture due to restricted space.
Shelley Waite
9 Jun 2012 1:04PM

Wow, thanks for all your input! The problem I have is much like Rebecca's - renting a room is just too expensive at the moment. I do have a treatment room available at my house but the only access is up a very narrow spiral staircase, so definitely not suitable for many clients. I don't want to discriminate against the people that can't use it but mobile therapy certainly would not be my number one choice! I really like the idea of charging a minimum fee and hadn't thought of this - I don't want to travel 20 minutes to do a £20 treatment, especially if the client wants to make it a regular occurence. Also, the idea of home visit room restrictions is well thought-out (another thing I hadn't considered), I will certainly impose that. I guess these measures would also encourage the people that could manage the staircase to come to me instead. Rebecca... WOW! That cart looks awesome! But they don't ship to the UK :-( I will see how I get on with the above suggestions first and then if all else fails, cry, beg and plead with them to send me one (or use it as an excuse to pop over to the USA - what a shame that would be!) Thanks again for everyone's comments. :-)
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