A drawing of people adjusting giant charts and graphs is used to illustrate the concept of business success.

The word “business” is often divided into an entity definition and an activity definition. The traditional concept of business is centered on earning profits derived from providing goods and services to our client-customer-guest.  Massage therapy is a service.  We massage therapists are selling an experience to our customer.

It is an experience service that we are most successful in because we utilize the most powerful vehicle of the human experience, which is structured touch; i.e., massage therapy.

The massage experience for the client is one that evokes the fundamental connection to being human.  The human experience requires the interaction of touch for both our physical physiology of wellness and for our energetic and mental wellness. 

Human physiology is our body’s response to environmental stimuli in all its forms, ranging from the quality of air we breathe, the sights and sounds of the environment we interact in and the nutrients of food we consume and the water we drink.  These general factors with all its subsets of life have strong fundamental influence on our human experience.

The massage therapy appointment enhances this human experience interaction for our clients.

Measuring Success in a Massage Business

Business success is measured by profit earnings. Business success is also measured by such other feelings as satisfaction, joy, purpose, intention, love and commitment.  

In massage therapy, a service business, the amount you earn is determined by traditional factors of operating investment such as washing laundry, massage lubricants, special tools, tables, utilities, automobile maintenance, fuel, electric charging station, plus incorporating what you would love to earn in profits. 

In business there are several forms of business-ownership models.  Many massage therapists whom I interact with are in the category of sole proprietorship.  Sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by a single massage therapist; thus, all the profits of the massage business belong to the owner.

Other forms of business ownership are partnership, corporation, limited liability company and cooperative. I also observe many massage therapists using business platforms of partnerships and cooperatives to create mutual success benefits and distribute the areas of business responsibility for the good of all.

Massage therapists may also choose employee status with a corporate massage therapy business, a hospital, a sports team, a chiropractic office or another.

Compensation in Your Massage Business

Determining your professional fee for service will include what you have and continue to invest in education and knowledge. Include your basic training and all continuing education and advanced trainings and certifications. 

Include your experience in numbers of massages given and/or number of years of massage therapist experience.  The most critical element of your care as a massage therapist is knowing when not to do something and when to refer to additional specialized professionals.  The sign of a true professional massage therapist is the knowledge and experience to recognize immediately when NOT to administer massage therapy beyond the obvious such as open, bleeding wounds. 

Now that’s obvious.

When you decide on a fee to present to your customers, incorporate a fee that resonates with you and your belief in you.  Include the value of the professional experience that you provide your clients. 

I recommend listing all your operating investment and create a dollar number that represents your investment in providing a massage therapy experience for your client.  This dollar number will include your rent, supplies, laundry detergent, utilities, continuing education, license fees, business license fees, driving fuel, etc. 

Once you have that dollar number, I suggest using a formula of adding 50% to 100% into that operating number. An example is that if your operating investment is $70 per customer, your professional fee would be $105 to $140 per session.  Sell results, sell an experience to your clients.  Refrain from selling time. Your best clients are those who desire results and an amazing experience of connecting with their human self.

A great way to frame your professional fee schedule is to have it printed on a card they can touch and hold and carry away with them. 

I find it effective in a digital world to create something tangible for a service. It also serves as a great prop when presenting investment options to your client such as prepaid options that offer an even better professional rate by prepaying for several visits.  This prepaid offer ensures access to your service.

Frame your offer for professional massage services not as selling the client on you but on selling the client on wellness for themselves.  Shift your mindset to service energy and the client will make the investment in themselves.

Attract Your Avatar Client to Your Massage Business

Use your thoughts to produce the ideal customer for your massage therapy business.  All that you desire to create a successful massage therapy business must begin as a thought.  You cannot do amazing massage therapy until you have thought about amazing massage therapy.

Intuitive massage is an organized expression of the knowledge, the science and experiences in your life and education.  Intuition is listening to the science that we know and the events of life that we do not yet understand but are willing to accept as truth. A massage therapy session result is connected to the way a massage therapist think. Calibrate your thought into “I will help this client.”  Say it to your client and use their name. 

“I will help you, Susan Jones.” As soon as your client hears these words from the massage therapist, the massage therapy session has begun, and business success is waiting nearby for you to experience.

Believe in massage therapy, believe in your preparation, and believe in your client.  This is the beginning of a wellness experience that will change a client’s life.  Listen to them, believe what they share with you and always pronounce and spell their names correctly. Amazing massage therapy results will happen.

7 Steps on the Massage Business Success Path

Success in business is attention to the details of customer satisfaction and delivering more than promised.

1. Be ready for your customer when they arrive.  Be at the door and greet them by name on every visit.

2. Pronounce the client’s name correctly.  Ask them, if required, what the correct pronunciation of their name and the correct spelling of their name.  A name is the first gift a person receives from their parents, their family.  Respect the client’s name as sacred.

3. When taking a history, sit or stand at a 45-degree angle to the client and not directly in front of their personal space.  If you are required to stand or sit directly in front of the client, then turn your body to a 45-degree angle.  This creates respectful personal spacing and is a welcoming position versus the authoritative interrogation positioning used by law enforcement and prison to dehumanize and intimidate.

4. Use words that evoke respect and courtesy.  Instead of “massage room,” say “VIP massage suite.”  Instead of “massage therapy treatment,” say “massage therapy session.”  Replace saying “disrobe to your comfort level”;  instead explain, in detail, what you require of the client to prepare to receive the best massage therapy session ever.  I have all my clients wear athletic active wear.  I still drape with a sheet. Respect all cultural traditions of touch requirements.

5. Make paying you a pleasant event.  It must be easy, convenient and fast.  Have your tablet, phone or device turned on and the app open, ready to go.  Have a very good ink pen available on an executive-style clipboard for writing checks.  Tell the person the date before they ask you.

6. Walk the client to the door when they are departing your office or massage suite.

7. Thank the customer for the privilege of working with them. Gratitude will always keep you closer to abundance and success.

Benny Vaughn

About the Author

Benny Vaughn, LMT, BCTMB, ATC, has been a working massage therapist for 46 years. He created a highly successful massage therapy business. Benny lives in Fort Worth, Texas. At age 70 he has transformed into life coaching services for massage therapists. Visit his website to learn more about his solutions related to learning, leading, motivating and inspiring others, finding emotional peace, and to schedule a free consultation.