Are you a solo massage therapist spreading yourself too thin?
I’ve noticed a trend with recently with therapists, especially new therapists renting treatment rooms for existing establishments that they are juggling more than one or two locations at a time.
Now the reason for this could be as simple as their preferred location does not have enough availability to allow them to work there full time, but most often than not the reasons seem to be more about being placed in what therapists perceive are the spots that will allow them to have exposure to as many people as possible.
Exposure doesn’t always translate to clients.
It’s hard enough marketing and filling one location, when you take into account 2 or 3 locations you are increasing your marketing efforts exponentially.
No two locations and populations are the same.
What works for me at my little mining town clinic would not work at a city centre clinic.
If you are in an area that may have a lot of businesses, do the hours that you work suit commuters?
Can you be available several hours before basic business hours commence and after close of business?
How are you going to market yourself for that time in-between?
Do you offer chair massage that you could provide within the businesses around you, how would you justify the cost of renting a space and it being empty while you do this?
If the area has a heavy footfall how are you positioned to make your services visible?
What type of offers or promotions could you run that would encourage people to stop what they’re doing and come in for a massage?
Home is where the heart is.
The ultimate goal with building a client base is consistency, you want to make sure that you can achieve a consistent level of clients to make sure you are able to cover costs and pay yourself. If you are constantly distracted by the marketing demands or business demands of other locations it can take away from your primary location.
Are the hours at your desired primary location in demand?
Can you increase your availability as client base increases?
What about your secondary locations?
Here is a scenario I would like all multi-location therapists to consider.
You work at clinic A Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Clinic B on a Tuesday and Saturday
And clinic C on a Thursday
Clinic B is your newest location, and to build your client base you have gone all out on promoting yourself there. You’ve had leaflets made up that are shared with local businesses, referral cards for clients to share with friends and family members, you’ve set up Facebook and Google ads targeting potential clients within a 3 mile radius of this clinic.
Let the appointments roll in
Then the clients start contacting you for appointments, but they can’t do Tuesday or Saturday and your other clinics are not convenient for them. Oh but they see that at this location there are other therapists who work the days that they would like to visit.
You’ve lost a client.
Sometimes, you can make arrangements with therapists for a referral fee or “kick back” but those arrangements can get messy.
Is it only for the first time the client visits the other therapist, is it a set fee or percentage, when does the client officially become that other therapists client and no longer yours?
So why would you want to invest all that time and money marketing when your availability only allows you to accept clients 30% of the time?
Factoring in time costs.
The last thing you need to consider when looking at multiple locations is the time cost of travel and set up.
If you have a 2 or 3 hr commute to your other locations, plus an hour for set up and tear down.
That’s 4 hours you could be offering treatments at your existing location.
You could potentially see 2-3 clients in that 4 hour period, is the loss of income for the commute worth it?
Expand when you overflow.
How good is your ability to build a business in one location?
If you can successfully fill your books to the point where you can no longer see all the clients who want an appointment can you expand your availability at your existing location?
If not, then a second location may be the solution for you.
But if you are struggling to fill your availability in one clinic, what makes you think you can do it at two, or even 3?
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Focus on building a solid client base where you aren’t worrying about when the next client will be scheduling an appointment.
What are some other reasons you may need to work from multiple locations?
Are you struggling with marketing your practice and worried about your clinic location?
I’d love to know what hurdles you’re coming up against in your practice, so I can hopefully help you overcome them.