I think it’s time we addressed the giant metaphorical elephant in the salty metaphorical room — there are lots of exaggerated and untrue claims about the benefits of floating being spread around the industry.
Some are anecdotal, some are only half true, and some are just patently false. Floating has historically had a strong oral tradition tied to it — the practice has survived through word-of-mouth, one passionate floater teaching another everything they know. The unfortunate thing about this is that the information disseminated can’t be reliably tested or shared with others on a broader scale. You can’t use “my buddy Chris” as a source for a health benefit of float tanks in a newspaper article, much less for a research paper.
Now that we’re becoming a bit more mainstream, we thought it would be nice to add some clarity to what we should and shouldn’t be telling people about these difficult-to-understand, saliferous containers.
If you’ve ever taken a look at our construction materials or gotten advice on soundproofing, you’ve probably heard of the importance of including “air gaps” when building out your center. What that means and why it helps can be a bit of a technical question, and the practical implementation can seem daunting and unreasonable.
Part of what makes all of this so confusing is there isn’t a one-size-fits-all set of actions that differentiates a standard employee from an independent contractor. Your State regulators, the federal Department of Labor, and the IRS all have their own criteria for what constitutes an “independent contractor”. Here, we’ll just be using the IRS definitions as a sort of jumping off point to the issue. If the status of employees is ever challenged, the IRS determines the status on a case-by-case basis over several criteria by a panel of judges, very similar to American Idol.
Basically it comes down to who is in control of the work. How much control does the company have over the type of job being done vs. how much control does the person providing the service. This manifests in different ways, but to fit the definition of an independent contractor, a service provider really does have to be independent. Beyond just using this guide, you should always consult an HR lawyer if you feel like there’s any confusion or ambiguity.
Basically, the rules fall into three main categories…
We’ve seen lots of float centers that aren’t just float centers.
Many have massage, some offer counseling, some have yoga classes next door. Lots of people start out either by incorporating float tanks into a larger business, or with float tanks only being one of many modalities at their center. Being specialists in floating, Float On has not mastered anything else.
So, to help gain insight into this growing aspect of the industry, we contacted our old friend, Sandra Calm. She started up The Float Shoppe here in Portland with her husband and podcast sensation, Dylan Calm, back in 2011. When they first opened, they had just two float tanks, and slowly added acupuncture, massage, counseling, along with two more tanks. Talk about expansion!
She was more than happy to take some time for the industry to help us understand just what it’s like to run a center with multiple services by answering some questions.