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Massage therapists who specialize in pregnancy massage tend to form relationships with midwives, doulas, obstetricians, yoga specialists and other health care practitioners.

Doing this effectively expands their networks, helps develop important community relationships and boosts clientele. Some therapists have discovered that taking partnerships a step further yields even more benefits—by joining complementary businesses under one roof, your practice can realize a steady flow of massage clients, reduced operating costs and increased exposure for your services. 

The Opportunity

One year after practicing independently, Kimberly Glover, who offers therapeutic treatments and a variety of massage options including pregnancy massage, was asked to join forces with two other businesses, a fitness center and a physical therapy practice. At the time, her referrals were slow in coming and expenses were taking a bite out of her income. The timing was perfect, so she jumped at the opportunity.

“I was a natural third fit in the shared service plan, and it was a great opportunity for me to grow through referrals, client base, name recognition and more,” she said.

The Logistics

As an independent contractor, Glover pays a monthly rental fee per written agreement.

“All parties agreed on details of rent, utilities, use of space, etcetera and simply formalized through an attorney,” she said.

In this instance, each business occupies its own storefront and has separate entrances.

“We knocked down part of a wall and built an archway to join the spaces. I have a separate room in the back of the fitness center side. So, we have shared spaces, but are able to maintain separate functional areas and individual business identities,” Glover said. “Because we are individual, each business is responsible for their own staffing, hours of operation and any other detail related to the individual business.”

The Clients

Glover said she believes having a year of experience under her belt was an advantage before joining with other businesses. She gained confidence in her treatment ability and professionalism and was able to bring her existing clientele with her.

“I had time to find my own business sense, so I could more easily be a third partner, rather than going to work for the other two businesses,” she said.

Running a business with like-minded companies can help deliver streamlined customer service, according to Glover. Customers can access several related services in a convenient one-stop shopping experience.

“The business benefits from exposure to a pool of customers who will likely access their services at some point. This increases referrals and ultimately sales,” she said. “The businesses also benefit from shared advertising. Every time one business talks about or advertises their business, they mention the other two.”

“In addition, I believe being associated with other partners boosts your credibility and reputation within the community,” she added. “Another benefit to the business is shared costs. With everyone sharing rent, utilities and other expenses, operation costs stay low.”

Glover also pointed out that while aligning with like-minded companies is key, so is aligning with like-minded individuals within the company.

“In other words, you will need to be able to get along under one roof. So assessing personal compatibility is important.”

Massage therapists who specialize in pregnancy massage might want to consider sharing space in a hospital, doctor’s office, birthing center, Lamaze class or child care facility, which would offer exposure to the perfect client.