Setting up a successful massage therapy clinic means starting with the basics of good business. The space is well located, but doesn’t break your budget. You’ve arranged appropriate insurance and liability coverage. If you’re joining forces with other professionals and support staff, each one of them is professional, well organized, and reliable. As much as the MT's skills and training are essential for the clinic to prosper, no new enterprise can survive without a strong business plan, and an understanding of how to manage those all-important practicalities – like accounts, record-keeping, and marketing your services. Once the fundamentals are in place, an entrepreneurial registered massage therapist should also consider these four tips to ensure the success of their new practice:
A crucial part of ensuring the success of your clinic is establishing your presence in the community. Before they seek out your expertise, prospective clients will want to know a bit about you as a practitioner and an individual. Massage therapy is about more than administering clinical care – it’s about forging personal connections and sustaining professional relationships. For example, the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of British Columbia posts numerous local and international events at which new MTs can network and gain experience. Recent events include the 2015 Canada Winter Games RMT recruitment and the Victoria Goddess Run call for massage therapists – both excellent opportunities to attract clients and promote your new practice. Or, join the Chamber of Commerce and take advantage of their ongoing events and networking opportunities across several communities, not to mention membership financial perks. New MTs should also consider volunteering their services at fundraising and sporting events in their own areas.
As a newly graduated massage therapist, it is import to consider the benefits and drawbacks of either starting your own practice or joining an established clinic. As an entrepreneur, you steer your own ship – but you must also assume full responsibility for locating and maintaining facilities, arranging financing, hiring, marketing, and licensing. On the other hand, if you choose to work as a contracted employee with an existing business, you don’t have to worry about self-promotion or bookings; you just show up for work. However, you can expect to earn a lower hourly rate.
If you have decided to establish a contract with an existing clinic rather than start your own from scratch, there are several practical considerations to keep in mind. From the start, make sure you understand the terms of your agreement as an independent contractor. It’s important to pin down exactly what resources will be available to you, and which you will have to provide. Will parking, laundry service, and reception be included? Is there already a thriving client base, or will you need to network and recruit your own clients? Before signing on, make sure you’ve negotiated a realistic deal.
You may be able to attract new patients to your massage therapy clinic, but will you be able to keep them? Earning the trust – and repeat business – of patients rests squarely on just how well you listen to their concerns and respond to their needs. The commonly used “no pain, no gain” disclaimer does not justify a poor diagnosis or therapeutic strategy, and will surely send patients running for the door. Customers often leave one clinic for another because the pressure is too intense and their concerns are routinely ignored.
From classic Swedish and sports massage, to therapeutic techniques for mothers and babies– as a massage therapy college grad, you can do it all. And your clinic should showcase your diverse skill set. While you may have a preference for say, athletic versus geriatric massage, it’s wise to strive for a broad client base while you build up your practice. Patients will appreciate the scope of your knowledge and training, and you will gain valuable experience across several therapeutic areas. And of course, expanding your abilities with ongoing professional development and massage therapy training is essential, both to retain registration and to diversify the therapeutic services your clinic provides.
What do you think is the most important element of a successful massage therapy clinic?