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Hello everyone I became an massage therapist over four years ago but yet to really work in the field but this year I decided to work as a independent contractor massage therapist. Main reason the spas in Miami/Fort Lauderdale want to pay me only $15 for 50 minutes and they charge the clients $75. Not far at all I own a massage table and chair so why not take my business in my hands. Today I got my business cards in the mail today and if I do say so myself they look awesome :0) but I can really use some advice with getting my business rolling. How did you guys build your clientele? How did you market yourself? I currently have my facebook page that I use to advertise. I really look forward to any advice   

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There is not a magic way to market your business.  It take doing a combination of strategies and many years to build up a steady clientele.  I have started my business 5 years ago and many times I wish that I had taken the job for $15 an hour (they didn't actually have this type of job then it was all commission only) and even tho I see 6 or 7 clients per day, the overhead and hours you have to put in to stay above can be overwhelming.  Being self-employed takes hard work and dedication.  Many times clients will ask you to work later than you would like or would if you had a job and won't hesitate to call you at 10pm or on a Sunday.  Take into account that the business has to pay out payroll tax and overhead out of the $75 they charge too.  When you are self employed the government will take about 30% of your wage for self employment tax and you will have to pay for all you own supplies on top of that, including advertising.  So the first step you will need to do is sit down and plan out how many clients you will want to see in a day, week, month etc.  Then set your rates and keep in mind clients are willing to pay more at a facility than someone's home.  Also, tips will be lower because you are the owner so they know that you keep "all" of the money they pay.  If you truly want to be your own boss your best method is to get out into the community and do chair massages to show what you have to offer.  These will more than likely be free samples where you will hand out your business card.  Your odds are booking 1 out of every 10 you give a card to.  So keep that excitement and push hard and you will succeed.  Good Luck.

Hi, Sirrea king

 

I am Suze , a License Massage Therapist. I just join this community and was browsing through the page and saw your comment and read it. I am currently working in a chiropractor making only $20.00 per hour. It's amazing how much work we do as Massage Therapist and don'e get pay for it. If you want to stay in touch my email is suze31@yahoo.com. I notice that you also live in FL and so am I. Take care

 

Suze

If you think that, then have a go at running your own business.  It really will change how you feel about your job when you have to work to get your clients in the door.  The $75 doesn't stretch so far when you only do one massage in a day and then have to pay for your overhead and supplies, advertising and the like.  I am not saying that you should not do it or that you won't succeed but I have done it for 7 years and put in 15 hour days for free and had to work 6 days a week to reach enough people to build a steady base.  I would give anything to go back to making $20 an hour because now I pay my employee's, work 6 days a week and only take home $15,000 a year for my family of 4.  I do 6 to 7 hours of massage each and every day just to break even.  I say if you are making $20 an hour and all you have to do is show up and do a massage you have it easy.
One of the best things I have done so far is the free website offered through ABMP.  It was really easy and looks great.  I also have an online scheduler on my website which helps me utilize my time much more efficiently.  Chair massage is a great idea, as well.  Good luck with your business!
I really don't mean to sound like a jerk and hope that your business goes very well for you but I did want you to have some perspective going into it because it is harder than you would think.  I built my clientele in 3 months from nothing to full time 6 days a week 6 or 7 hours a day by going door to door and setting up free chair massage events at businesses working on their employee's, going to fairs and home and vacation shows and doing the same.  Basically a lot of free work until my reputation for what I had to offer got going (about 2 years) since not all clients will be weekly, monthly or whatever.  It takes a lot of customers to keep you in business so focus on what you want and you will be able to get there.

I left my job working for someone else 8 years ago. Within 5 years of going on my own, I had a dozen staff members and grossing over $300K a year....in a small town of 4,000 people. And only 60,000 in the entire county, which is the largest county area wise in our state...it can take you two hours to drive from one end to the other. Word of mouth is what has built our business, 92% of our clients are referrals. We are out in the community doing chair massage, active in the Chamber of Commerce, and we get a lot of dr. referrals, which I solicited.

 

I disagree about people paying more in a facility. It's 60. to get a massage at my facility and I don't go out the door for an outcall for less than 120. I have ZERO staff turnover. I pay my staff a minimum of $30 an hour up to $45, depending on what they're doing. And they are tipped well. Don't let negative people drag you down. Keep plugging away!

My advice would be to also continued research into the industry in your city and state. Things can be different and there will be alot things to consider on top of just advertising and supplies to think about.Check online and with your local regulations and even other massage therapist to see where your business development stands in contrast and then build your skills accordingly. Good luck!

MG,

I don't believe this is true.

The self-employment (social security) tax rate is around 15%.  An employee receiving a wage pays 1/2 that, so while it hurts to pay the SE tax, it is only about 7-1/2%  higher than what an employee pays, and even then that extra 7-1/2% is exempt from income tax.



Massage Gnome said:

"When you are self employed the government will take about 30% of your wage for self employment tax....."
 

Yes that is true and then you have to add in the Unemplyment tax on your employee's, Workers Comp Insurance, Basic liability insurance on the building and clients just walking by or coming in the door, etc.  I don't understand what you mean by the 7.5% being exempt.  I have to pay it in every single month like clockwork.  Perhaps you are looking at big business but a small one gets no exemptions like that.  Plus, if an employee makes $15 an hour (just to use a figure)  and they work 40 hours in a week but only do 10 hours of massage that week the employer pays out $645 for that one employee just income tax and payroll tax not putting in account the insurance and other overhead expenses like telephone, heat and such.  Now the facility charges $55 per hour massage (typical where I am) then they actually lost $95 that week and didn't even get to pay bills.  I made more money when I ran my business without anyone else in it.  I had never had a client complain until then either.  Not all people care about their profession the way that you do.  I am actually a very upbeat and positive person but I have seen so many people get going thinking it is easy and then they sit there asking where are all the clients.  Really look at it with an open mind and you will realize that you make about the same being self employed as you did when you worked for a place but now you have all the extra work and cleaning to do yourself.  If that is what you want then great.  I was merely trying to give some perspective from reality.  I am also an active member of the Chamber of Commerce in my area, in fact I am an Ambassador and community leader.  Sounds like you have some great people working in your area.  Here none of them know what they are doing when they hit the job so you have to re-train them.  We get many Dr. Referrals, I have clients who come to see me from Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, and a few other states because they say that they cannot find a therapist who does the style I do, my clients refer their friends, co workers and the like too but the problem is they all come to see me.  I can't get them to see the other employee's for a massage. 

My muscles are so sore at the end of my 6 day work week (usually 36 hours of massage in a week) that my right hand is numb and tingling.  We only get 1 or 2 people per year that apply because the school teacher owns a business outside the city line and don't have to have a license for their staff.  In town we all have to have a license.  MN is not yet state regulated.  I have already raised my massage price to $65 an hour and keep the other practitioners low to encourage people to try them instead of me but it doesn't change.  Some people will go to them one time and then come running back to me.  Perhaps you have a word of advice for me on this as I have 2 kids I don't ever get to see because I am always at work.  We have tried doing room rental, commissions for $30 per massage or 60% of whatever service they receive which works out to even more for them then that plus they get 100% of all their tips.  They don't ever build up a clientele.  I realize this post was way off topic after a bit sorry. 

Hi MG,

 

I was responding only to your comment about the self-employment tax and wasn't referring at all to payroll taxes.

 

Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble with your business!

 

Lol! It Does sound awful, doesn't it. 

Lee Edelberg said:

Hi MG,

 

I was responding only to your comment about the self-employment tax and wasn't referring at all to payroll taxes.

 

Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble with your business!

 

Lol! It Does sound awful, doesn't it. 

Lee Edelberg said:

Hi MG,

 

I was responding only to your comment about the self-employment tax and wasn't referring at all to payroll taxes.

 

Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble with your business!

 

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