To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Expert Advice, ” by Cherie Sohnen-Moe, in the February 2012 issue. Article summary: I am finally ready to add retail sales to my massage practice. What do I need to know about sales tax and retail licenses? Cherie Sohnen-Moe responds: Dealing with sales tax is one of the biggest concerns therapists have about product sales. Visions of stacks of paperwork and endless reels of red tape take over their thoughts. Yet, collecting and remitting sales tax is quite easy to do once you have the proper licenses.

by Cherie Sohnen-Moe

Most massage therapists can sell any type of product in their practices. I checked several states (Arizona, Massachusetts, New York and Texas) and found nothing about product sales restrictions listed under scope of practice, professional guidelines or massage establishment regulations. However, check your state laws and regulations to make sure no limitations exist.

Even though you can most likely sell anything, ethical product sales involve providing clients with easy access to high-quality products that enrich their well-being. Ideally, you would only sell products that you know are reliable, are suitable for use by your clients, and are a natural extension of your business.

Exercise caution when selling a product that doesn’t clearly fall under your scope of practice or isn’t a gift item. For instance, refrain from selling nutritional supplements unless you have formal training.

Product liability

Most manufacturers guarantee their products against harm from proper use. The gray area is when you, as a practitioner, use a product on a client. Protect yourself by carrying sufficient malpractice and product liability insurance coverage.

Note: For example, the Massage Magazine Insurance Plus program (www.massagemagins.com) includes product liability insurance, which covers claims made against you for damage or injury resulting from a product you use on clients. Their coverage is $2 million per occurrence and $2 million annual aggregate.

Keep in mind that once a client uses a product himself, your product liability insurance will not cover any claims. Clients would need to make a claim directly against the manufacturer.

Cherie Sohnen-Moe is an author, business coach, international workshop leader and successful business owner since 1978. She was in practice for many years as a massage and wellness practitioner. She is a founding member of and serves on the board of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. Sohnen-Moe and Lynda Solien-Wolfe collaborate on ways to support therapists to work smarter with product sales. For more information, visit www.RetailMastery.biz. You can also read the “Retail Mastery” blog, by Sohnen-Moe and Solien-Wolfe, here.

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