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Massage Today
May, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 05

Boost Your Income and Clientele with Chair Massage

By Dianna Young, LMT, MTI

How can you generate more income after you have filled all of your weekly appointments? What would happen to your lively hood if you suddenly became sick or disabled and were unable to perform massages? What will happen to your income when you retire? These are hard questions I used to ask myself until I discovered that a chair massage business for the workplace is the ticket to boosting your clientele and income.

Since April 2001, my husband Curtis and I have developed a thriving chair massage business that now serves 26 locations weekly and performs more than 700 chair massages per month. For the first five years, our business grew steadily but slowly. In 2007, after utilizing a business coach, we hired our first two employees. That year our business grew 110 percent. Since then, our business continues to grow despite the recession. Through trial and error, we have developed a system that works. Now our vision is to help other therapists create similar businesses to expand their income and the reach of massage therapy. If you aren't sure how to answer the questions above, here are some reasons why you should consider adding a chair massage business for the workplace to your repertoire.

A Growing Trend

Stress is the number one source of sickness and absenteeism in the workplace and the resulting lost productivity costs companies billions of dollars per year. When employers implement a chair massage program, they quickly realize that their employees call in sick less often and are more productive on the job. In addition, employee morale is boosted. On top of feeling invigorated at work, employees are healthier and better able to enjoy all aspects of their lives. Because massage therapy is starting to be considered less of a luxury and more a healthcare option, its future is bright.

Affordable

Chair Massage - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Even in a recession, many people can afford $10-$15 for a quick chair massage at work. It's about the same as going out for a decent lunch. It's also more convenient than a traditional massage. By replacing a 10-15 minute coffee break at work, they don't have to squeeze it into their busy personal lives. It's the dynamics of going on-site with a professional and convenient service.

A Boost for the Industry

People who would normally be intimidated or turned off by going somewhere for a traditional body massage with their clothes off might try a chair massage. Once they experience the chair massage, their inhibitions drop and they are more likely to schedule a full body massage, which can provide additional income for your business and expand the client base for traditional massage.

Low Start-Up Costs

Another great benefit of chair massage is that the start-up costs and overhead are minimal. You simply need a chair, a vehicle large enough to transport it, knowledge about running a business and marketing materials to promote your business. As with any business, you will gradually want to invest in good business tools, as well as hire other professionals to assist you on your journey.

Freedom

While you concentrate on building your business, you can hire other therapists to service your corporate clients. We have found there are an abundance of massage professionals who need to build their client base. They can work for you at reasonable rate if you allow them to offer traditional massages after hours. It's a win-win for both of you. Your employees gain clients and you increase your ability to generate income without having to actually do the massages. This gives you more freedom to market your services to more businesses. Also, with this business model, you can generate more income than doing one massage at a time and create an income source that can continue even if your ability to massage becomes impaired or your decide to retire.

The Secrets for Success

The ideal chair massage energizes the employee rather than putting them in a state of relaxation. By increasing blood flow to the employee's brain, you will send them back to work more alert and with the ability to be more productive. For some employees, additional time is needed to address special needs like headaches, tension, sinus pressure, TMJ and migraines. With a customized sequence, you can also help relieve physical stress caused from poor posture or improper techniques on business equipment such as computer keyboards. It is important to ask the employee what special needs they have at the beginning of the massage so you can supplement their massage appropriately.

Learn to balance professionalism with warmth. Once they get in the chair and relax, employees will sometimes want to discuss personal or business matters. While it's great to learn about their lives to establish rapport, gossip should be redirected and kept confidential. It's also important to encourage wellness in general. We always suggest that clients drink water after the massage to wash out toxins. It's also helpful to suggest exercises and stretches that clients can do at home to address problem areas.

Running the Business

Once you decide that a chair massage business in the workplace is your goal, you will need to see yourself as a business owner in addition to a massage therapist. Because this business serves the corporate world, it important to run the business professionally. You will want to blend into the environment to disturb the work flow as little as possible. You will also want to create a professional image that will appeal to the corporate world. This can be accomplished with professional marketing materials and the way you and your employees dress and conduct yourselves.

Chair Massage - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Creative Marketing

You can have all the right elements for a successful business in place but without spreading the word about your business, no one will know you exist. Fortunately, the massage business is conducive to doing trades for advertising. Many radio and television stations will gladly trade advertising time for chair massages. Another technique is to make sure your business is at high profile business events such as chamber of commerce networking functions. Beyond general marketing, you will want to target specific businesses. Offering a demonstration is a great way to get your foot in the door. We have found that working through the human resources department is the most effective method. Once you have made contact, you may need to educate the managers about the benefits of chair massage for their company. You will also want to explain the different methods of payment. Some businesses pay for the first day and then allow each employee to pay in the future. Other businesses pay for it every month or week because they have seen firsthand how it benefits their employees and company.

Last but not least, remember to share your vision with others. In addition to opening up a world of growth opportunity for you, a chair massage business can introduce massage therapy to a greater audience and expand its healing powers to create jobs and a healthier, happier world.


Dianna Young, LMT, MTI, is the owner of Amarillo On Site Massage, which was selected by the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce as the top small business of the year in 2008. Dianna has taught business and marketing classes at the Austin School of Massage and currently teaches continuing education classes on chair massage technique and marketing chair massage.

 

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