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Hello.....Just out of school - how do I find clients?

Hi everyone,

You probably haven't heard this question before: I am a new therapist and I have my private practice. (just a room) How can I get a couple of new clients to start my business? Looking for a new idea! What did you do when got out of school?

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BNI is a great way to network and to develope business relationships.
Dear Behnam,
Congrats and welcome to the family. I was a late bloomer because we spent our time home schooling our children. I waited til they were almost grown to go to school and sit for my boards.
The way I got exposure, was to massage as many friends for free as I could. Word of Mouth Advertising is the BEST advertising ever. When I felt comfortable, I offered them a reduced rate and of course they spread the word. I kept my prices very competitive (and still do). I personally charge $65 for a first visit and $65 if I see someone monthly, $55 for twice per month and $45 for weekly appointments. I always give more time than they expect. You will have a very busy and thriving practice if you are humble and reasonable.

I'm wishing you God's Abundant Blessings.
Linda
I found that my massage chair was the best investment i've made. It's a great advertising tool that you can pretty much take anywhere. I've had quite a few clients book a table massage after having done the chair.

Good Luck!!!
it's always helpful (and time saving) to have a website. You can find one for less than $5 a month as www.EZmassageWebsite.com
Hi Behnam -

I could give you a long list of suggestions but one of the best things I did was get involved in my community through my local merchants association and local Jaycee chapter. Through various events and volunteer projects I got to know a lot of people that I might not have ordinarily met. We worked together in situations where they had the chance to get to know, trust and respect me on a personal level. Along the way they also learned about what I did for a living (although most of my volunteer jobs were not actually doing massages.) I think building these relationships (and level of trust) was very important in getting my new contacts to schedule appointments, buy gift certificates and refer their friends to me and others in my practice (and later spa).

Of course the key to a successful practice is not just getting new clients but also getting those folks to rebook. I just posted a link for a free e-course on rebooking on my blog. If you are interested, click here or follow the link below to read about it and sign up.

http://blog.spalutions.com/2009/06/25/are-you-getting-clients-to-re...

Hope that is helpful to you!

Felicia
Hi Behnam - I have been doing massage now for 19 years. The best advice I could give is to take care of every client you have as if that client is a valuable person. They are, as each client becomes a referral service for you. Of all the types of adverting I have done, referrals are the best. I have managed to hold on to clients for years, and I still have one since I first started. Promotions are a good way to start as well. Occasionally, I will offer a $50 introductory massage to stir up some business, and give the referring person a massage for $50, for just having referred me. Everyone wins, and I get a new client out of it. It is up to you to be able to hold on to that client, and that takes knowing what your doing, and a little personality helps as well. I always send both parties a thank you card. Sometimes when I am not offering the large discounted massage, I will send a referring person a thank you card with a $10 coupon as a reward. Sending Birthday cards and Xmas holiday cards are a nice touch as well. Now as far as getting those first clients:
1. Let everyone you know of your latest promotions, friends, family, neighbors, and the next thing you know you have some business. As a male, I found that advertising was a waste for me. If the people didn't know you or you were not referred, they wouldn't call. I always make it a policy to do more than expected as well. Going an extra 5 minutes or so, can make a person especially grateful, and either tip better or become a regular. Regulars rarely tip, and if they do it is $5 or $10 extra. I prefer they don't tip, since once they start a habit of paying you a lot, they feel they have to keep it up.
2. Most massage schools will have tips and tricks up their sleeves to help. Such as referral services, placement services, and others.
3. I contacted a local charity, and offered to do massages at a price of $50 my fee, and they charged $75. Proceeds to benefit the charity. In my state we have sales tax on massage, but when they buy it from a charity, it is tax exempt. The benefit to you is, that you now have a client that you literally bought, and now it is up to you to keep them. Repeat client with a regular rate, and they are already used to paying regular rate. As for the clients income tax benefits, well that you would need to talk with an accountant about.
4. When starting out, many massage practitioners will start by working for someone else, like a spa. There are great benefits to working for someone else, such as health care insurance, a steady stream of clients, sheet and towel washing service, and many other things supplied by the spa. The most important here is the steady stream of clients, that could become regulars, even when you leave the practice to go off on your own.

I hope some of this can start you on your way.
Good luck!
Bill
Behnam -

Congratulations on completing your training. This is the exciting part (and scary part)! A couple quick suggestions - listen to Felicia's comments here - she's one of the sharpest cookies in the field re: business. Another resource is your ABMP membership - go to ABMP.com and review all the practice development resources in the members' section. We did a couple practice-building webinars that you can listen to. And asking questions and advice is a great idea, too - that's why we set this up. Shared knowledge!

Best wishes,

Les
ABMP's recent magazine issue has lots of information on marketing, especially creative to support our down economy.

I was working full-time when I was in massage school so I asked my co-workers if they wanted free massages while I was in school. They saw my potential and were willing to pay full price after I graduated. Many became clients and I have several who have stayed with me since graduating eight years ago! Be careful discounting services to friends because you may end up feeling "used" and not appreciated. You want them to see your value and refer out.

Business cards and flyers are great and necessary, but be sure to personalize them to your specialty. Definitely spend time setting yourself apart and finding your niche.

Best to you!
What worked for me was taking a job at a local spa. I worked part-time there but got to know people in the area. I worked on my skills and finally went out on my own. I agree a massage chair is a great investment. Whenever I can work an event (with no fee) I jump at it. Even if you get one client it is worth getting your face seen and your business name heard. I even did a teacher appreciation day at my kids school. Get into your local business and get your hands on people :o) Good luck!
Hi,,Please think of your Room as a Massage Clinic NOT justt a room.. think positive and durning the ressions offer incentive if a client give a referal take some money off of their massage...lets the client feel special, he helped you and your increased your businesss
Wowww!! I feel important with yall kindness and care :)
Thank you very much about all the suggestions. I will keep you updated about my progress.

Behnam
Congratulations, Behnam!

When I first got out of school, I looked to our local Hotels -- checked with the concierge, to see if they did referrals and became an independent contractor for about a year, until my private practice took hold. They schedule the massage, call you and you come to the Hotel, get the guest's room information and do the massage.

I also did sports massages at local events...we've got the Big Sur Marathon, among others (I'm sure there's something local you can find!). Offer your services (gratis--no charge, but accept the tips & don't forget to hand out your business card!) at any of the walks (ie: Relay for Life, Alheimer's Memory Walk, etc).

If you also have a massage chair, try Chair Massage Parties to promote yourself as a massage therapist (see full description at my profile).

If you belong to any organization, start handing out your business cards -- figure you'll be handing out the cards left and right and only get a few interested parties. But once you have the clients, word of mouth advertising is the very best way to go! You can also use those same connections in a different way -- at the monthly meetings, offer a raffle prize of a gift certificate for a full-body massage...the raffle money goes to the organization & you have a potential client!

Just be creative! Think outside the box...and have fun!

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