For many years, Motz’s physiotherapy practice was located at the side of Erasmus Sport, but last year it moved to Erasmus Plaza, to the row of shops including the In de Smitse pub, the Erasmus Sustainability Hub and – temporarily – Hairdesign by Lydia, on the ground floor of the Hatta Building. Partly due to the new and larger practice, business began to boom. Motz now has two spacious and light treatment rooms at his disposal, as well as his own small gym full of equipment clients can use for rehabilitation exercises.

There have been a few growing pains, though, because officially, the Hatta Building has still not been cleared for use. “The intercom and the coffeemaker don’t work yet, and the awning has just been installed but is not yet fully operational either. And I’ve been messing with the climate control system for a year now.” Yellow post-its have been stuck to ceiling fans. “I use them to check whether there is actually any ventilation in here. I got an external agency to perform [air quality] measurements a while ago, and carbon dioxide levels are way too high in here.” Even so, Motz feels the new practice constitutes ‘at least 100 percent progress’.

Kevin van Ravenzwaaij Image credit: Joshua Kruter

'Not enterprising enough'

However, the main reason for all the business rolling in is not the new practice, but rather Dimitri’s new colleague, Kevin van Ravenzwaaij, who embarked on his first real job as a physiotherapist in September. “Since then our turnover has doubled,” says Motz, sounding like a proud father, while Kevin sits on the massage table. In many respects, the two men are polar opposites. Motz, who is in his late forties and has grey hair, sparkling eyes and a great deal of self-deprecating humour, describes himself as a ‘grey and cynical old man’ who is ‘not enterprising enough’. Kevin, 28, is tall and blonde and radiates enthusiasm. “Dimitri is all about hard work, about the manual labour aspect,” says Kevin. “He is a real entrepreneur,” Motz says in response. “We complement each other very nicely.”

“Kevin now works here forty hours a week, while I’m only here for twenty hours a week. The light is always on, and the phone is being answered. If your response time is good and people are happy, business will pick up quickly. He also visits the clubs training at Erasmus Sport to promote our practice: Antibarbari, the indoor football team, the rugby team, the badminton players. Turns out some of them didn’t even know we existed!”

Gone completely bonkers

When Motz started working as a physiotherapist in 1998, he was as old as his younger colleague Kevin is now. He took over the position from a female friend of his. His first treatment room was in Erasmus Sport’s corridor. It now houses a showcase containing squash rackets. “At the time I provided two to four treatments per week. I was there, but I mainly spent my time waiting for the phone to ring. The rest of the time I just sat there chatting to people. I had a lot of difficulty finding enough clients, but that was partly due to my personality. I’m just not enterprising enough. If Kevin had been around at the time, things would have been different.”

Motz does really enjoy running a physiotherapy practice on a campus full of students. “Yeah, it’s fabulous. It’s such a young and dynamic environment. It’s very different from being in a residential neighbourhood. Back in the day my position was kind of unique: very few physiotherapists worked at universities. I’ve had some great experiences here, particularly with Erasmus Sport’s staff. For instance, during Christmas dinners we would cook mussels and dance on the tables. This no longer happens; those days are over. Those people have all left, or gone completely bonkers, or passed away.”

'Let’s keep De Smitse, though'

Doubled turnover, more staff. Shouldn’t Motz have expanded the practice before? “Yeah, I really feel like an idiot now. Knowing that we doubled the turnover I had in my best year, it’s obvious that the business was there. It was there twenty years ago as well. Only I wasn’t the right person to get it, even though I believed for a very long time that I had to do it all myself, that I couldn’t hire anyone else.” Motz expects the practice to be further expanded down the line. Maybe it will start using more classrooms at the Hatta Building. “The sky is the limit. As far as I’m concerned, we’ll take over the entire Hatta Building,” he says ambitiously. Then he smiles. “Except for De Smitse. Let’s keep that. It will be our company cafeteria.”