Category Archives: Marketing a Massage Practice

A Successful Practioner’s Secret to Success

Being an excellent massage therapist does not guarantee a successful massage therapy business. Additional skills are required including handling the business aspects of your practice, and acquiring and managing clients. The most important additional skill is acquiring and managing potential NEW clients. Here, people skills are the “make it or break it” key to building a successful practice. If you do not have them you will have to develop this skill set fast or you need to work for an established bodywork provider until you do. Here is one technique that a very successful therapist uses to impress potential clients: this sole practitioner has a warm personality and is genuinely empathetic. She responds to her potential clients’ complaints of aches and pains by showing concern and demonstrating her knowledge with helpful suggestions for the potential clients’ discomfort. The key technique here is she suggests one or two slow and simple exercises and/or stretches that may be helpful. This lets the potential client know that their comfort and well-being are primary. Then she follows up with “Please call me next week and let me know how you are feeling,” or better “May I call you in a few days to see how you are feeling?” Only after she has made the second contact does she let them know that her massage skills could also be of help. You get the idea. Show empathy and knowledge before trying to get a booking. CAUTION: Always keep your suggested exercises and/or stretches slow and simple. Leave any complicated exercises for other professionals.

Acquiring a good knowledge of slow and simple exercises and/or stretches to help aches, pains, and minor injuries will take work on your part. There are numerous books on the subject; find a good one to read and study. This body of knowledge applied properly and combined with an honest dose of empathy can make the difference between a so-so practice and a very successful one.

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Continuing Your Massage Therapy Education Online

As Massage Therapy becomes more widely viewed as an Allied Health Profession, it is important for every serious massage therapist to keep up with advances and innovations in the massage therapy and bodywork profession. This means lifelong learning through continuing education courses, both online and in the classroom. In order to find a good job as a qualified massage therapist, prospective employers will look at both your experience and your education. Additionally, some states are now requiring that massage therapists and bodyworkers be nationally certified, which means more education. For the sake of this post, we will deal with just the online possibilities for acquiring Continuing Education Units (CEUs). You may also find additional sources for CEUs, such as massage therapy classes at your local bodywork schools.

One of the best places to find recommendations for online continuing education for massage therapists and bodyworkers is the professional massage therapy and bodywork organization from which you obtained your liability insurance as a certified massage therapist, registered massage therapist, massage practitioner, etc. Following are a few CEU provider recommendations from both AMTA and ABMP.

AMTA
www.amtamassage.org
From the home page of AMTA, click on the EDUCATION tab at the top of the page. This will take you to a variety of online continuing education options–very worth your review. There are courses regarding massage business, massage modalities, self-care for the massage therapist, and ethics. The site has webinars as well.

ABMP
www.abmp.com
The home page has continuing education information near the bottom of the page.
Extensive collection of online massage and bodywork courses are available.

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Your Massage Therapy Room – The Ideal Basics

When setting up your massage therapy room, you will want to create an experience of relaxation, peace, harmony and warmth. Attention to both functional detail and aesthetic detail (to be considered in later posts) is important. Assuming you have picked an area where you wish to locate, you should consider the following basics of any massage room: size of your room and ancillary space, room soundproofing, control of room lighting, control of room temperature and air quality, and availability of bathroom facilities. We are going to do a post on each of the above considerations for creating a good space for massage therapy.

AUTOMATIC CLIENT INFORMATION BACKUP
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New Feature – Quick Appointment List

SEE YOUR APPOINTMENTS FOR ANY DATE IMMEDIATELY
When a massage client calls requesting an appointment on a date or dates which you already have appointments booked, placing your cursor on the calendar date automatically gives you a list of all the booked appointments for that date. Quickly see where there are openings and book the appointment. You never have to tell your client that you will have to call them back.

Massage Music Used By Successful Bodyworkers

You can find quality music for your bodywork room (free sampling available) on www.massagewarehouse.com, www.Amazon.com, www.iTunes.com, www.cdbaby.com, http://atpeacemedia.com/music. You can also listen for free to sample various artists at www.pandora.com. If you do a Google search of “Relaxing Bodywork Music”, you will come up with “over 8 million results” so you will never lack for quality music for your bodywork environment. You may also want to let your clients know that they are welcome to bring their own relaxing music.

Definitely spend some time listening to the various artists before settling on your collection.
Here is a sampling of the music being used currently by bodyworkers in their practices today.

  1. Pati, 10 years experience, Reiki Hands of Light by Deuter, available on CD from www.Amazon.com.
  2. Nancy, 15 years experience, Sleep Deeply by Dan Gibson’s Solitudes, available on CD from www.Amazon.com.
  3. Mary, 20 years experience, Sleep Soundly by Steven Halpern, available on CD from www.Amazon.com.
  4. John, 5 years experience, The Best of Aeoliah, by Aeoliah, available on CD from www.Amazon.com or from http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/aeoliah22/aeoliah/ as a CD or as a download.
  5. Jessica, 2 years experience, Ahanu Healing Massage Music by Autumn Hill, available for download from www.iTunes.com.
  6. Britney, 1 year experience, Above the Clouds from Lifescapes by Kavin Hoo, available on CD from www.Amazon.com.
  7. Joe, 1 year experience, Baby Massage by Karunesh, available on CD at iTunes from www.Amazon.com.
  8. Kandace, 3 years experience, Kokyo by Kevin Village Stone, available from www.whisperinglight.com.
  9. Henry, 16 years experience, recommends the following artists: Steven Halpern, Carlos Nakai, Richard Clayderman, Enya. All of these artists have multiple albums (CD) available on www.Amazon.com.
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Bodywork Practices – Common Licenses and Taxes

List of Licenses and Taxes for new Massage Therapists

The following list contains some of the common types of licenses and taxes you may need to operate your bodywork practice legally. There may be more. Check with local authorities and a local accountant to be sure all your bases are covered.

City or County Business License
Available at City Hall or the County Court House. Usually based on gross income. When starting out, your estimated bodywork income should be low and therefore your Business License fee should be small.

City, County or State Massage License
Available at City Hall, County Court House or a State Agency. A state license is best since it allows you to work anywhere in the state. Fees in some large cities can be very expensive. Some localities have separate licenses for having a massage location in addition to actually doing bodywork.

Internal Revenue Service
You are probably familiar with filing your yearly income return. Unless you have been in business before, you are probably not familiar with Schedule C. Schedule C is the form on which you report your bodywork business’s gross income, expenses and net income (which is taxed). Gross income is easy, it is your total massage income for the year. For expenses, you should keep a WRITTEN record of all expenses you believe belong to your practice. Unless you have had previous experience with business bookkeeping and tax accounting you should use a tax preparer like an Enrolled Agent or a state licensed tax preparer. Your preparer may tell you that some of your expenses are not allowed or you have missed a commonly used expense. After this first experience you may be able to do your next Schedule C on your own.

State Income Taxes
If you live in a state that has a state income tax you will have to file a state return. Again, if you have been employed in the past you are familiar with filing a state return. The good news is that most states use your Federal Schedule C for calculating your taxable business income. Tax programs or internet services will automatically use your Federal Schedule C for the state return.

City, County or Special Districts Income Taxes
You may discover that a local income tax is levied by a local government entity. You should be familiar with this requirement if you have filed a tax return with either your employment or resident address inside the geographic limits of one of these entities. Common local income tax districts are city governments and school districts.

Employment Taxes
You enter a very complex accounting world when you decide to have an employee. You may be better off investigating whether an additional massage therapist could be classified as contract labor. A contract labor relationship requires very little paperwork. Check with a local accountant before you go this easy route and classify an additional massage therapist as contract labor. The accountant will give you guidelines for doing the contract labor relationship properly. If you have to go the employee route, use an online payroll processing service. You absolutely do not want to enter this complex and very time consuming employment accounting process when running a massage business.

Sales Taxes
If you decide to sell items like lotions or candles as a secondary profit center you will have to pay sales taxes. Paying sales taxes usually requires completing a report on a regular basis (usually quarterly). A tip, sometimes you can find a product wholesaler that will collect the sales tax from you as part of you purchasing their products and then send it on to the state for you. Thus eliminating sales tax paperwork.

Good luck.

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