by Sandy Fritz
Currently the business of massage therapy along with many other occupations is adapting to find a way to move forward. The down time from the pandemic allowed for reflection.
Unfortunately, employers of all types are finding it hard to find quality employees that understand the dynamics of business balance. There is a cap on what a business owner can charge for services and products limiting business income.
Employees want higher income. The ratio for a sustainable business is wages being no more than 35-40% of gross business income.
The business owner has to cover wages for non-income producing employees such as receptionists and all payroll taxes and any benefits within the wage allotments.
When massage therapists ask for 50% + of the service fee, the business owner will not be able to maintain business viability. The business owner should be making 10% of business gross in profit. Many are using the profit to pay wages.
Business owners will not continue to work for nothing forever. This is just economics. Given this situation, unless the business owner is planning a larger business with multiple income streams and multiple therapists and services, I do not recommend that massage therapists in small practices become employers. You will make more income with less headaches maximizing your own solo practice in a small one-person space.
For those with larger facilities it is becoming common to rent space to solo practitioners. DO NOT DO THE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR THING. Become a landlord. You can rent space in many ways from by the day to long term lease.
Rent for space varies based on demographics but make sure you charge enough to cover your costs and make a profit. DO NOT RENT BY PERCENT OF FEES. Charge a fair but profitable rental fee. A landlord can control the facility, but not the renter.
Shared space can be tricky when there is a common lobby, reception and restrooms. If a common receptionist is used that is a fee over and above the space rental. I don’t recommend this. It gets messy and a solo massage therapist can now run a business on a smartphone or tablet.
Do not take money from clients. The money exchange is between client and solo massage therapists. The massage therapist pays you rent.
Do not provide supplies such as linens. Only provide basic equipment such as a massage table in the treatment area and only if renting by the hour, day or week.
Long term renters should provide their own equipment. Make sure the lease clearly defines facility use requirements such as when the building is open, noise and odor levels etc.
Also, eviction can be messy as well. Be prepared. Expect turnover. Being a solo practitioner is much harder than people think and until a solid retention client base is built, the income is not what most expect and the massage therapist often finds themselves over extended.
Sandy Fritz a well renowned massage therapist with more than 35 years of experience. She dedicates her time to writing massage texts for Mosby Publishing (Elsevier), educating, consulting, teaching, and providing massage to a mixed clientele. You can view or purchase Sandy's textbooks at: https://www.us.elsevierhealth.com/catalogsearch/result/?filter_multi_product_type=&q=sandy+fritz
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of CE Institute LLC.
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