If you are looking for a quick, easy way to build your massage practice, please stop. If you find anyone touting that they can build your practice quickly, they are just trying to sell you something. Building a busy, successful massage practice takes time. There are hundreds of nuanced factors that lead to a full schedule, and it can take months, or even years, to get there. Be patient, grasshopper. If you build your practice with a firm foundation of boundaries and structure, you will find success.

Building a long-term relationship with each client is probably the easiest way to fill your massage schedule. Attaining new clients is more expensive and time consuming than rebooking current clients. The best way to rebook clients is to have a plan. From the first moments you talk to a new client, you should be thinking about how often this client needs to come in to achieve their desired results.

Have a conversation with your client when they first come in. Ask them what they want from massage therapy, not only for the current session, but for future sessions. Ask them what their short-term and long-term goals are for health and wellness. No matter what your client’s answer is, there will always be the need for a long-term treatment plan. The only difference between situations will be frequency of visits.

Example One: A client that was recently in a car accident. This client not only presents with neck pain radiating down their arm, but the client is also clearly traumatized by the accident. They have difficulty getting in a car for fear of getting into another accident.

It is appropriate, in this case, for this particular client to be coming in for massages once a week (or more). I am recommending once a week, because in this situation I am assuming this client is seeing other practitioners, as well, such as a chiropractor and therapist.

Example Two: A client that works at a desk all day and runs in the morning (when they can) and on the weekend. They are pretty stressed out between the kids, the house, the job, etc. They come in for a massage just to “relax,” or to release muscle tension if they have a big race coming up. This client can be tricky. They can be harder to pin down because they look at massage as a luxury or perhaps something they only need when they feel pain. Educating this client is key. You could easily be seeing them at a minimum of once per month. Let them know the importance of having time for them in their schedule every month. Educate them on the importance of regular massages for injury prevention. Don’t let this client slip through the cracks because they are not injured or in immediate distress. This client can function at a higher level at their job, as a parent, and as a weekend warrior athlete by receiving regular care.    

Each and every client that comes to you has a potential treatment plan. Be clear from the beginning of the session that you are in it for the long haul. Educate and show your clients with results the benefits of regular massage. If you master this skill, you won’t need to hustle for new clients for very long.