Although I am not a fan of outcalls and have probably only done five in my entire 14-year career, I have always advised my staff, students and consulting clients to proceed with care, caution and clarity in regards to doing outcalls and on-site work. First of all, I make sure they are aware of the potential dangers and problems that exist in working in someone else’s home or office. Quite often, new therapists don’t give much thought to the idea that they will not be the ones in control at an off-site location in regards to timing issues, setup, space, noise or music levels, interruptions and so forth. This may not bother everyone, but to someone like me—a self-proclaimed control freak—it causes irritation and anxiety, which is not the best mindset for doing massage.

New therapists also may not think about the extra time, cost and effort involved in getting to and from these appointments, thus setting their prices way too low and setting themselves up for financial problems. With gas prices the way they are, this is a major area of concern! And, of course, there is all the wear and tear on your table and body lugging your table or chair around, in and out of your car, and sometimes up and down stairs before and after each session. Providing a service like this to a client is worth more and should cost more than a session at your office. Period.

But perhaps more important than money, timing or logistical issues are concerns about safety. I suggest outcalls are provided only for regular or existing clients—not new ones—and the therapist retain the right to refuse future visits if anything is amiss during the appointment. I also suggest always letting someone know exactly where you are going and to have a “call by” time when you will contact a particular friend, family member or co-worker after the appointment. It can also be helpful to mention to clients that you have another appointment or meeting where you are expected immediately after, especially if you feel any bit of unease before, during or after a session. And be sure wherever you are, you have a cell phone with you, so you can call for help in case of any kind of emergency.

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