Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It feels like a path is revealing itself here

My creative energy has been going into my new business venture. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours playing with designs for my business cards. I am really jazzed about having a massage practice for women again! I've also been brainstorming with friends on marketing ideas.

My biggest challenge at the moment is deciding on my pricing. It is a tough time for many in today's economy. I am hoping to market to the women who feel that stress relief via massage helps them MORE than hurts their pocketbook. I want to offer a price that attracts, yet not undervalues my talent. If I start too low, then when I raise my rates to meet the market, I set myself up for losing clients. So...what I am leaning toward doing is coming in at the average rate for my area, and offering a $20 off introductory special. The added complication is that in the beginning my business will be house calls, which are more expensive because you are bringing the massage to someone's home. Massage therapists typically charge more for house calls. Yet, I am building a business...

Last week, there was an exciting development. I was talking with a massage therapist about buying oils and aromatherapy materials locally...we were chat, chatting, which I tend to do...HEH...and it turns out there is a part-time space available in her office! I am really excited. I have yet to talk to the land lord (another MT), because she's on vacation, but the possibilities look quite good for me sharing the space. For a very workable monthly rent. This way I could offer both house calls and an office option for those women who want to get out of the house. Those of you who have young children can understand that...

As is always the case, now that I have moved out of the DEER CAUGHT IN THE HEADLIGHTS...FROZEN IN FEAR STAGE, I am struck by what the universe is giving back to me. I took a few shaky steps forward, started walking, and things are coming to me. It feels like a path is revealing itself here. At least for now...Stay tuned.


Question: For those of you who get massages, what would attract you to try a different massage therapist? Do you like the idea of an introductory special? What are the rates in your area? (I live in Southern California.) What about for a house call? I would love your feedback on this issue!

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  1. Good luck with your practice! I was a massage therapist for years, it was my only source of outcome, and it was definitely challenging at times, and of course incredibly rewarding in so many ways. I've practiced in Maine, northern CA and here in Denver. Each time about killed me because starting a new practice is so hard.
    I've had some success with offering a sliding scale. Say, one hour massage for $50-$70. That still gives you a good rate, allows the client to pay what they can, and more often than not they give you the higher amount.
    Shoot me an email if you have any questions!

  2. Very cool that this is starting to come together for you.

    As for me, a massage must involve relative darkness and something with a violin . . .

  3. I don't know anything about massage therapy prices and I am in the UK anyway.

    But someone I know has recently set up a massage business from home. She has a blog. You might want to have a chat with her. She is in the UK so I guess it is different but she might have some ideas/hints. You can find her here

  4. So excited everything is coming together!!!

    My main goal in a massage is to be relaxed--an intro rate sounds likes a great idea. We average $85-$120 here so $20 would be wildly popular :)
    Not sure about house calls--I personally would stress about where to put the kids and how to clean the house--and if I was looking down at my own floor, I am sure I would spend most the time thinking about how much it needs cleaned ;)

  5. I have been to two different people. The first was okay, (I can't remember the price, because it was years ago), but I remember thinking that she talked too much. When I go, I only want to chitchat for the first 5 minutes or so.

    The second was at a resort, and we paid $200 for an hour couples massage. She was so good, I told Jim I was leaving him for her. : )

    I have some other ideas for you. Can you email me?

  6. I love, love, love massages! The main thing that keeps me coming back is a great massage at a price I can afford. I've never had a massage at my home (kinda leary about letting strangers in), but thought maybe you could offer a "massage party" at people's homes. Say a woman get 4 friends together, give them a discount and then you will have exposure to more people and after meeting you, they may feel more comfortable letting you into their homes. Another idea is to see if a friend who works with lots of women (in a school, hospital, etc...) would let you come to her workplace and give 5 min. freebies during lunch, you could then give people who book with you that day a discount. Just some thoughts...hope they help!

  7. Anne has a great idea--I would definitely go to a party like that. I think about $100 an hour is the going rate here in my neighborhood--my biggest stumbling block and why I'm more likely to go for a facial as a splurge.

  8. What would attract me is the house call option. I simply do not have any place to park my kids. I'll even serve lunch. :)

  9. Ah Massages - something I actually know about!

    I got massages every 2 weeks during my pregnancies, because I booked a schedule of massages I got a discount, instead of $75 per hour I got a $55 rate which was fantastic.

    The masseuse also gave me a gift of a free massage after the birth.

    Unfortunately I can't afford to keep going and we became quite friendly which led to way too much chatting and not enough relaxation. I agree with a previous commenter, chat for 5 mins then sshhh.

    Plinky plonky music and nice smelly stuff was a plus even tho I hate Enya and her ilk, it does work in that environment.

    I also wouldn't be keen on house calls for similar reasons, I feel like I would need to clean my house, the kids would be banging on the door etc. I have a good friend who is an acupuncturist (she also does massage and reiki) and most of her business is house calls, most of her clients are wealthy which may have something to do with it.

    An introductory discount, massage party, chair massage at work, all of these things would appeal to me and if you were good, would get me to book a proper time with you.

    Could I also suggest that you always go slightly over the hour even by 10 minutes, it feels like you aren't watching the clock and the client feels like you went above and beyond, at least I never regretted the money even when I should have because I felt like my masseuse was really paying attention to the massage - she always went over and in hindsight I think it was deliberate :)

    It was annoying, however, when I had to wait for her to do the same with someone else though so another recommendation would be to leave yourself enough time between clients so that you are ready for the next person and not rushing someone out the door while someone else is waiting outside.

    Best of luck with this, I wish you were geographically closer so I could avail!

  10. $20??? will you do a housecall to NOLA?

  11. ok, i will suggest this...don't undercut yourself. once you establish a price, you will be stuck with that price because people get VERY pissy about paying more.

    I've done it. It sucks.

    get what you are worth, your business will build itself regardless of promotional coupons...I promise.

  12. It sounds like a sign to me. I would go for it! One step at a time! I know you can do it. Just by reading the confidence in your writing, I know you have the confidence you need!

  13. i love love love that doors are opening up for you

  14. Oh lady you have So hit on something that I can comment about. I live in Durham NC where the going rate for a non-spa, but professional massage starts at about $1/minute. A reasonable price. I have been known to pay twice that which comes with a cozy robe, slippers and fireplace and cucumber ice water. Here is what I think: Go as Low as You Can Go. I do not want all the accoutrements, fancy water, smelly oil, assessment of how I could benefit from Not caring for 2 toddlers, I want someone to wring my muscles! Forget the bells and whisles (and please don't talk! [unless of course I see to want that]) and just massage!

  15. As a Massage Therapist myself I would recommend that you emphasize your style of massage. This will attract clientele that need a specific type of treatment(yours) and it will keep you motivated, as you will be doing what you love to do.

  16. Oh I forgot. People will pay for what they deem is valuable. Even in a tough economy if you are confident and good at what you do, you can charge accordingly. I would suggest you at least charge the going rate in your area. Do not undervalue yourself. :)

  17. is very informative. The article is very professionally written. I enjoy reading every day.
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