From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “How to Thrive During a Recession: Change Your Focus to Find Opportunities,” by Debra Koerner, in the May 2009 issue. Article summary: Even in this economy, there are many ways massage therapists can thrive in their chosen profession.

by Bob Poirier and Lynda Solien-Wolfe

Offering home-care solutions to help increase your bottom line and complement your sessions is a wise avenue for massage therapists to consider these days. Diversifying and making sure income is coming in from different revenue streams is also smart.

When looking to increase your bottom line, you have three options: Bring in more clients, increase your prices or offer additional services or products.

There are only so many hours in the day you can physically do hands-on sessions. Adding the right retail products with no additional overhead and low inventory investment can be a welcome addition to your top and bottom lines.

Here are 10 tips to help to you get started retailing products in your massage practice.

1. Choose products you trust and believe in. Do product research before you offer products for resell.

2. Educate yourself on the products you sell.

3. Choose products that are not easily accessible to your clients and have a professional recommendation. Don’t compete with retail and drug stores.

4. Choose products you use in your practice or are a direct extension of your work.

5. Charge a fair but profitable price. Usually 100-percent markup, which is to double your cost.

6. Purchase products from a distributor or manufacturer that will work with you on important customer service issues and marketing support. Check their return policy, price guarantee and how quick the product will get to you.
7. Make the products visible and attractive. Display them, so clients can see, feel and smell the product.

8. Hand out samples. Everyone loves samples!

9. Keep track of your sales and inventory. Your accountant knows your local, state and federal tax laws.

10. Drive your own “BUS” to increase your profits:

B: Believe in the products you sell
U: Use the products you sell
S: Sample the products you sell

Bob Poirier is vice president of commercial operations for Performance Health Products, the manufacturers of Biofreeze and Prossage Heat. His responsibilities include clinical and student education, product research, speaker affiliations, corporate sponsorships, tradeshows and operations of the Biofreeze Product. Poirier will be presenting at both the Florida State Massage Therapy Association and American Massage Therapy Association conventions on retailing products in 2009.

Lynda Solien-Wolfe is president of the Solwolfe Resource Group, Inc. She has had a private massage therapy practice in Merritt Island, Florida, since 1994. She is also the massage and spa consultant for Performance Health Products.