Massage Therapy Practice Tips

How full is your schedule?

Scheduling is one of the best ways to know how your business is doing.

If it is empty, it may be time to re-evaluate your offering. Are you:

  • offering enough for the price you're asking for?
  • How does your studio look and make people feel?
  • What "extras" do your clients get to enjoy?

Even if its greeting them with their favorite incense or cup of tea, thoughtful gestures that don't cost you much can make the difference between an occasional client and loyal attendance.

If your schedule is very full, you may be underselling yourself:

  • Raise your price gradually over 6-12 month periods until you start to see some customer drop off.
  • Make sure you’re not offering discounted promotions - your schedule is full anyway

You should be aiming to fill 90% of your desired schedule, allowing for eventualities like inclement weather and illness. Know your quality and your customers will too!

Capitalize on Products

There are only so many hours in a day: Have you considered adding product sales to your practice?

Sell products that play to your talents. What is your expertise?

  • Are you an aromatherapy master?

Create your own blends for specific situations, employ them in your work and sell them for at-home continuance of healing.

  • Are you a sports medicine expert?

Compile recovery kits of proven items that will help your injured clients recover faster, while giving that personal touch.

While you should avoid kitschy and mass produced items, you can still turn a healthy profit while saving your clients time and providing a personal connection.

Premium Services

Is your menu easy to understand?

  • Simplify your menu of massage to a couple lengths - commonly 1 hour and 1.5 hours
  • Provide other services as add ons to the base massage.
    • Ashiatsu massage
    • Aromatherapy
    • Even an extra 10 minutes

By viewing them as upgrades, your client feels they are getting something extra, which leads to customer loyalty.

Streamline Scheduling

Make sure you set up a regular daily schedule that allows for flexibility, leaving time in the evenings for premium scheduling.

Arrange your schedule to take advantage of preferred times of day:

  • Evenings for office workers
  • Mornings for active clients after they work out
  • If you sell mostly 1 hour massages, try leaving a little extra room and offering an upgrade for an extra 15 minutes
  • Weekends are especially valuable for busy clients

Consider 2 hour windows for appointments.

This way you can capture extended business that wants to upgrade on the day-of, begin every appointment on time and always approach each appointment refreshed and ready to work.

Premium Scheduling

Do you know which clients make you the most money?

Find clients that:

  • Return often and consistently
  • Purchase upgraded service or longer than average massages
  • Refer other clients
  • Can’t attend normal hours but are willing to pay for special scheduling

Set aside some time to accommodate them, even if it’s outside your regular hours.

These can also be valuable hints to when your schedule doesn’t fit the needs of your clients - if you find yourself scheduling clients outside the usual hours frequently, it might be time to change the usual hours.

Accept Insurance Reimbursed Clients

Do you accept health insurance?

The paperwork can be difficult, it’s true, but it brings many benefits:

  • Free client referrals from the insurer’s network
  • Clients pay less out of pocket, making them more likely to return
  • Billing can be standardized, saving on negotiation and sales work

Reward Loyalty and Regular Attendance

Does it seem like you’re discounting every massage?

It may be tempting to default to a simple price reduction when trying to reward your best customers, but try some of these instead:

  • Adding free premium services on top of normal massages
  • Selling packages of massages including products
  • Partnering with other businesses to provide special discounts to your frequent customers

Avoid Excessive Couponing

Coupons can bring in business, but do you really need them?

Customers who come to your business based on a coupon bring problems with them:

  • You’re getting paid less for the same service
  • They rarely have an incentive to stick around unless you keep offering discounts
  • They’re driven by monetary value instead of the value of your services

Make sure that you’re using coupons to fill in time you would have otherwise been idle, not displacing customers who would pay full rate.

Focus Your Practice

Can you define your practice in 20 words?

Decide on what your expertise is going to be and focus on it. Massage therapy is a vast field that ranges from advanced medical practices to deeply spiritual energy work.

Different clients will be seeking the satisfaction of various goals, from relaxation to physical therapy maintenance, and you need to narrow your practice down to the services that you absolutely excel at.

Partner with other local practitioners who have complimentary services to fill out any gaps in a treatment plan.

This will free you to focus on what you truly excel at, driving your reputation for superlative experiences in the community.

Invest in Continuing Education

As a massage therapist, you are your most valuable asset.

Investing in your education is a crucial step toward increasing your value to your clients. Expand on your own knowledge by:

  • taking classes,
  • reading industry journals,
  • Attending seminars or conventions
  • becoming a member of a local massage therapy association chapter
  • exploring peripheral fields
  • talking with other industry leaders
  • Figure out who is working the related fields in your area and how you can better serve your community by combining forces.

The more you know, the better you can serve your clients.

Technological Advancements

Can your clients book themselves an appointment with ease?

Technology can be expensive, but it can also save you headaches.

Consider technology to manage your:

  • Scheduling and wait list
  • Appointment reminders
  • Billing and payment processing
  • Customer contacts and promotions
  • Note and treatment plans

This frees you up to work on your clients, not your business.

Shifting Attitudes

Are your clients engaged with you?

Build a rapport with your clients:

  • Educate them with online articles and newsletters
  • Create a conversation around your community or your interests
  • Help them make critical choices about how they care for themselves and others
  • Stay in contact through changes in life and congratulate them on growth

Position yourself as a source of valuable information, answer questions and provide suggestions where appropriate.

posted on August 29, 2016 - permalink


About the author

Mary Rodarte

Director of Engineering for Alder Point Group. Consulting on a variety of innovative, research-driven solutions for human, process and safety concerns in the workplace. Originally from a medical sciences background, Mary has followed her passion for procedural excellence across a variety of technological, creative and public relations roles at every level of business. Entrepreneurs and highly motivated management staff will enjoy working with Mary for her keen eye for detail and no-nonsense approach to efficiency.


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