Winning Strategies for Massage Therapists

Evaluate your schedule vs your pricing

How is your schedule? 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 a casual client and loyal attendance. if its full, you may be underselling yourself. Raise your price gradually over 6-12 month periods until you start to see some customer drop off. 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

you only have so many hours you can work based on physical limitations, and you have a limited number of days in a year. The major way you can increase your production is by selling products that play to your talents. what is your expertise? are you 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 fanatic? 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 (ideally, these would be self-branded items) you can still turn a healthy profit by

Premium Services

Too many people focus on a huge menu. simplify your menu to massage by time increments and recontextualize your other offerings as premium services which can be stacked on top of the base massage. this way, you can easily incorporate advanced techniques, such as Ashiatsu massage and aromatherapy, or add additional time to the base massage length without trying to sell the client on "a different service". By viewing them as upgrades, your client feels they are getting something extra, which leads to customer loyalty. Periodically offer upgrades determined by their discovered preferences for free to your clients to familiarize them with the premium services concept, open up inroads to product sales, and reward them for their loyalty.

Streamline your scheduling

set up a regular daily schedule for yourself that allows for flexibility, leaving time in the morning and evenings for premium scheduling. If your most common appointment time period is 1 hour, consider arranging your schedule in two hour blocks. This way you have built in buffer for upselling clients on more table time, enough time for set up and clean up of other sold premium services, and most importantly, time for you to rest before the next client! 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

Beyond your set, advertised schedule, you will have time set aside before and after for your premium scheduling. Save this premium scheduling for your best clients, those who are regular, regularly enjoy premium services, and are known to have schedules that could not otherwise accommodate your normal office hours.

Accept insurance reimbursed clients

It might be difficult in the beginning, but once its set up, you're opening yourself to an entire market with little to no effort - the marketing channel through their insurance company gives you free leads.

Have packages that reward clients for loyalty and regular attendance

loyalty packages like free premium services, sold packages of massage at a discount, packages of massage and products sold together are best because the margin on the products is lower than many monetary discounts would be, yet confer a greater benefit to the client than a simple discount would.

Avoid excessive couponing

you're doing work for discounted rate, and you're capturing an audience that is disincentivized to pay full price for your offering, let alone pay extra for your premium services. Only use coupons for your slowest months and make sure they expire in accordance with the upswing in your seasonal business. Gift certificates, on the other hand, are a great way to go about discounted services because they usually involve a happy customer bringing you new, quality business who saves money in the process. There are also a small percentage of them that will never claim the voucher and you keep that money for no work.

Focus your practice

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. Providing a mediocre service at any part of a clients journey through your business will have an adverse effect on their overall perception of the process, no matter how well intentioned you are in an attempt to be a "one-stop shop". 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 your continuing education

As a massage therapist, you are in one of the few positions where you are both the human capital and the producer of the product you sell. 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, seminars, attending conventions, becoming a member of a local massage therapy association chapter, expanding knowledge into periphery fields, talking with other industry leaders and trying new things. figure out who is doing 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

Investing in technological automation may have a start up cost in terms of money and time, but it will save you exponentially over the life of your business. There are many parts of your business that are repetitious and are consuming valuable time. auto scheduling, auto emails, reminders, promotions, mailing list, blog/newsletter, SOAP notes, data management

Shifting attitudes

dialogue with your clients in person and through blog/social media that shifts perceptions about massage and their identity as clients. Audience sees themselves as health conscious, focused on maintaining their bodies and interested in the professional advice of an experienced and compassionate caregiver.

posted on August 25, 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 resources, business 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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