In my classes, I get asked this question a lot. The answer to this question depends on whether you are in just starting out or have been in practice for a while. I decided to cover both scenarios using my own experiences in two parts. I remember my first massage practice. It seemed like it chugged along at a snails pace. Once it started to gain momentum, the time flew by and before I knew it, I was working full-time. After 7 years, I closed my beloved business to devout my attention to full-time teaching. Five years later, I decided to do open another practice, starting from scratch. This time definitely older and hopefully wiser in an economy that wasn’t going to leave much room for error. If you are just starting out, I recommend working for someone else. This will add experience and discipline to your skill sets. When you are ready, rent a low cost room from a business that will provide some of your clients; like a hairdresser or fitness center. Buy all equipment used. Resist the temptation to go all out decorating or use expensive advertizing. Once you are established, incorporate the following. Current clientele are worth their weight in gold. Once you have a client, retaining them is your main objective. How can you increase revenue from present massage clientele directly and indirectly? Here are a few ways.
- Keep clients happy by always providing them excellent service they will talk about. Putting a chocolate on the bed before they come in. Use hot towels to clean their feet. Serve them water before leaving. And book there next appointment. If you have not heard from a client for a while, give them a jingle to see how they are doing and let them know you care. Keep them coming back.
- To show your appreciation, add a complimentary extra 20 to 30 minutes to their 1-hour massage for special occasions like birthdays or holidays. This will encourage them to book an 80 to 90 minute service for the future. This increases revenue and decreases cost of washing sheets.
- Offer clients incentives to bring in friends. Like: Book a friend and both services are discounted. These work best if paid in advance. Remember client’s begat clients.
- One month in advance offer specials and gift certificates for holidays. It would be helpful to have a mailing email list to send these notices out. Post a flyer on your door in a plastic frame or post in the bathroom.
- Have business cards handy to give anyone you meet. There are businesses that you frequent that allow you to leave your business cards on their counters. Practice telling people you meet who you are, what you do, and why they should use your services. Keep it to less than 10 seconds.
- Join business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Score, etc. Give talks and demonstrations about the benefits of massage. Write articles for small local newspapers.
- Give people such as personal fitness trainers, hairdressers, desk people, anyone who influences others, a massage at a very discounted rate, just not completely free, so no one takes advantage. Give them your cards and ask them to talk about you.
- Using Groupon – This will be covered in Part 2.