Advice Needed: Advertising for In-home Massage

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Advice Needed: Advertising for In-home Massage

Postby Jin on Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:06 pm

Hello. I've been working in a spa for almost 2 years now and it's been getting better as time goes on. My confidence has vastly improved since my beginning weeks and months and my skill level is naturally improving. I'd like to be taking more classes, but I can't afford to do much other than breath right now.

So I've decided to put more effort into advertising to go to people's houses in my time away from work. One reason for this is to expand my potential as a massage therapist and gain new clients, but the other reason is to earn more money. I love the effects my massages have on my clients, but the spa world is at times tedious and pays too little.

What can I do or start doing to take steps in the right direction advertising for in-home massages? I am a male therapist, so I know this pretty much automatically cuts 75% of humanity out of my potential client list (50% being the males and 25% women or people who don't want a therapist in their house). So far I've tried advertising on craigslist but I keep forgetting to renew the advertisement every week. One lady called me but I was at work and she was busy the next day so that didn't work out, but it shows that there is potential because there are no other legitimate massage therapists on craigslist around this area, so I figured with the right moves I'd be able to attract a relatively large amount of clients.

I attempted to put my business and website on google search, but it requires me to add an address. I don't have an office to work from and I live with my family, so putting my address is only going to cause problems if someone shows up at my house unwarranted. Also, there is no room in my house that I can perform massages in.
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Re: Advice Needed: Advertising for In-home Massage

Postby pueppi on Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:23 am

You may want to search some of the older posts by jyoti. She and her husband had an in-home practice and she gave some useful information along the way.

One of her useful tips:

jyoti wrote:MAINTAIN BOUNDARIES.
Keep personal and business separate. If you practice from home, delineate a clear, devoted space and separate it from the rest of your living space.


Playing off of this, I know one reflexologist who practices from her home and uses those shogi bent blinds to lead the client to the therapy room, thereby keeping all other areas of the home off limits.

The path is lighted with those small press on lights which she puts on the ground on either side of the path, every few steps. This provides the lighted path, as she keeps the other lights in the neighbooring rooms off (discouraging accidental roaming).




Jyoti also had a thread about wording on her front door that may be useful: wording on door sign?

She finally came up with something to this effect:
...taped up a notice on the front door something to the effect of "Welcome! If you're new here and you're here for a massage, you've come to the right place. If this door is closed, this means we're with another client or otherwise unavailable at this time. If this is your first visit, please wait until 10 mins prior to your appointment before approaching, and if you're an established client, please wait until 5 mins prior to your appt before approaching. This is to protect the privacy of all involved" or something like that.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells...
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Re: Advice Needed: Advertising for In-home Massage

Postby pueppi on Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:51 am

BWOL is not letting me add to my original post, so I'll put a few quotes here too:

jyoti wrote:...But, we have our no-appointment-no-address policy in place to deter or minimize incidents of people staking out the place, driving by the place (and arousing suspicion or traffic complaints from neighbors) and such. In fact, true story. A few years ago, when I was just starting out, I had a client I had seen at the massage school who wanted to come to the house for an appointment. This is not out of the ordinary; plenty of school clients have come to the house. (No, the school does not discourage or look down upon this.) He wanted to "tour the facility" first (yes, he knew it was my house), so I gave him a guided tour. I kept him strictly in the client area--the front room, the front hallway, the client restroom, and the studio only--and it took all of about 5 mins. He scheduled--and kept--an appointment. Near the end of the session, however, he asked for a happy ending. I declined ("that is not part of what we do here") and I luckily haven't seen him since. That has been the only time anyone has ever asked to see the place beforehand, and that has been my only experience with those who would.

So, after that, we don't do "tours" anymore. Many therapists work out of their homes, especially in our area, and clients either schedule an appointment or they don't. Which is why yesterday's phone call struck me as particularly odd. I mentioned THREE TIMES (at least!) that this was our "home studio" or that we "work out of our house", and I wasn't vague, saying stuff like "northwest (city)" or "central (city)", I actually gave a very specific intersection, complete with landmarks, and even which direction from that intersection we live on. But having used Mapquest a couple times a long time ago, and vaguely remembering them permit intersections to be typed, (thanks for verifying this, boof!! :) ) that is all they need if they're doing preliminary research and they want to know your general area. This character was asking for my exact address before he even needed directions! I find LOTS of clients from the internet (as was this guy) and EVERY time I receive a call from a legitimate client, the client has already scheduled an appointment before the subject of directions comes up. In fact, directions are usually the last thing discussed. (Now, sometimes they want to know what city or what general part of the city we're in so they can guage how close we are to their house or their daily driving routes, for convenience sake.) But never have I taken a call from someone so fixated on my EXACT location (after mentioning it was my home).

I think as a client I might at first wonder what they're hiding, or I might find it strange that they wouldn't want to give me their address. You figure, legit business, it's OK to give out the address, right? Well, but then again, when I've called even storefront businesses, I don't need to know the exact address. Tell me what intersection you're on and what other stores you're near and I'll find you. And if I call a therapist to mentions it's a "home studio", I don't go asking ppls' personal home addresses before I need directions! Home biz or not, it's still their HOUSE. If I'm just sniffing around (like this guy claimed to be doing) then I'm not gonna need their house number, if ya know what I mean. :)

(On a side note about last names... I worked in the customer service department of a now-defunct mail-order company about 10 years ago and even then, we actually had to make up a fictitious last name. This allowed customers to uniquely identify us in case they needed to know exactly who they spoke to, but Management did NOT want us giving out our last names to ppl on the other end of the phone--for our safety. And mind you, I was a telephone rep locked safely inside a numbered building on a corporate "campus" in CubicleLand. Massage therapy is so much MORE of a personal, risky, dripping-with-stigma-and-inuendos, profession with so many creepy and sometimes downright horrifyingly tragic stories that I cannot blame anyone ONE IOTA for holding back on their last name or any other personal info for that matter.)

I don't know what he was doing (undercover Planning and Zoning or vice squad making sure my home biz is legal? Salesperson is a possibility, I hadn't thought of that! Strange character? Who knows?) But the way he fired off his questions and seemed so obsessed about the exact address, I dunno. I'm glad we have our policy in place!

Hugs,
~Jyoti



jyoti wrote:Hi :)

I've worked from my home for about 3 years. I started doing it while it was still illegal to do so in our city, but we found out that within the last year it has now become legal.

We have a pretty nice setup that just sort of happened to work out. The neighborhood is convenient to get to, but still is nice, quiet, and safe. Our neighbors are not petty and they keep to themselves, so my small amount of traffic and parking haven't been a problem. Our house is laid out in such a way that the clients come through the front door and see only the front room (sort of a living/dining room but has our desks and a consultation/waiting-area table and chairs), and a hallway with the door to the treatment room at the end, and a client-only restroom on the way. They see NOTHING of our kitchen, living room, bedroom, laundry room, etc. In fact, the hallway to those rooms is sectioned off at the front with one of those Japanese-looking 3-panel room dividers.

Because of our setup and the fact that my husband's and my schedules are identical and we have no kids, our home life remains pretty unaffected. We're quiet people anyway, so when one of us is in session (we're both MTs) the other doesn't have to alter their activities much. It's actually pretty cool because my husband knows I'm safe at all times--because he's right at home with me, usually right down the hall at his computer.

The main thing to concentrate on is the cleaning, at least of those areas the clients see. While everyone understands a house IS lived-in and not just a museum, it still has to be REALLY sanitary. Bleaching down the restroom weekly and vacuuming at least every other day is a must. As far as food smells, there's an easy way to deal with that. :) At one of the local craft outlet malls, they sell these scent lamps that you fill with a scent of your choice. The mixture is mostly alcohol and a little bit of fragrance oil, but the alcohol will burn off and leave only the fragrance wafting through your house. The neat thing is, it will sort of "soak up" or neutralize odors. We tested ours out after making pan-fried salmon with garlic for lunch. A friend of ours came over (who hates salmon) and we mentioned to her that we'd just had it and she said she couldn't smell it AT ALL. :)

Working from home isn't for everyone, but it works best for us for sure :) I joke around that you can't beat my "commute", since it's only 12 feet down my hallway, which often makes the difference between being able to see one more client or not :)

Good luck!! I hope it works out for you, and we wish you the best :)

Hugs,
~Jyoti


jyoti wrote:
massagechick wrote:jyoti, do you carry 2 cell phones with you? One biz and one personal?


I do. :) Yes, it looks kinda geeky :) But it works!

We actually did it to simplify things, so that I didn't have strangers calling my personal cell phone and vice versa. For us, it was really more of a way to define our boundaries. And since we work out of our house, boundaries can get a little fuzzy as it is, and we have to be extra-mindful of establishing them. :)


jyoti wrote:We have both a house/street address and a PO box. Neither are on our cards. Our cards have our names, d/b/a, small logo, phone #, website, and a small listing of our main modalities. :)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells...
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Re: Advice Needed: Advertising for In-home Massage

Postby pueppi on Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:54 am

Two other useful threads:

Earlybird clients - viewtopic.php?f=43&t=20820&start=0

Working from home, but... - viewtopic.php?f=31&t=22338&start=0
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells...
Houston Massage Therapy - Advanced Massage Therapy - Lucas & Lucas, LLC
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Re: Advice Needed: Advertising for In-home Massage

Postby akashafive on Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:58 am

Unless I am mistaken, I believe the OP is looking for advice on providing out-call or mobile massage. "In-home" as in in the client's home.
-Akasha
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Re: Advice Needed: Advertising for In-home Massage

Postby pueppi on Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:27 pm

akashafive wrote:Unless I am mistaken, I believe the OP is looking for advice on providing out-call or mobile massage. "In-home" as in in the client's home.


Goes to show I need to slow down and *read* the post! :oops:

Shame on me and thanks for pointing it out. Poor soul would have been left without any decent information!


Jin wrote:So I've decided to put more effort into advertising to go to people's houses in my time away from work.

What can I do or start doing to take steps in the right direction advertising for in-home massages? I am a male therapist... <snip>

So far I've tried advertising on craigslist but I keep forgetting to renew the advertisement every week.

I attempted to put my business and website on google search, but it requires me to add an address. I don't have an office to work from and I live with my family, so putting my address is only going to cause problems if someone shows up at my house unwarranted. Also, there is no room in my house that I can perform massages in.


I've re-read your post Jin and will do my best to be more useful. Please forgive for my spinning antics above! :P

I'd suggest not forgetting to renew your advertisement each week, if you think it will bring you business. Since this can be hard when you've got too much on your mind, you may want to set up a reminder on your phone (if it's a smart one), put a sticky on your bathroom mirror or post an entry in your appointment book/journal at the beginning of each week from here on out, as a reminder.

You may also want to see if you have a Backpage to advertise in, if you like Craig's List.

I'd also suggest paying for a post office box, and using that as your "mailing address". Try ½ a year at first, or even a shorter amount of time, if you think you may not stick with out-calls. Then, see how it goes and renew as appropriate. That may allow you to post your site into google a little better.

You may also want to see if there are any health food stores/coffee shops/tea rooms/etc. in your area that allow for you to post your information on a cork board.

If you are a little more flexible, you may also want to try to get on with a local hotel for out-call work. This is an old blog article I wrote that may help: http://www.massagetoolbox.com/2011/03/2 ... erge-desk/

Hope this helps!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells...
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Re: Advice Needed: Advertising for In-home Massage

Postby pueppi on Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:21 pm

jyoti wrote:...But, we have our no-appointment-no-address policy in place to deter or minimize incidents of people staking out the place, driving by the place (and arousing suspicion or traffic complaints from neighbors) and such.


jyoti wrote:We have both a house/street address and a PO box. Neither are on our cards. Our cards have our names, d/b/a, small logo, phone #, website, and a small listing of our main modalities. :)



On the subject of only providing an address with reason, I ran across this today on a colleagues website and wanted to post it here, in case it could help someone:

    "Privacy and Security are a high priority at <insert your studio name here>. By not publishing the address until an appointment is confirmed, we ensure the safety and security of our clients and ourselves."

    "After an appointment is confirmed, directions to the studio and further information regarding your session will be emailed to you."
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells...
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