There are numerous ways in which software can help you grow your massage business.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy services continue to experience an increased demand in the U.S., with 2014 revenues of approximately $11.7 billion. There are currently an estimated 300-350k therapists and schools, and employment is expected to continue to grow, rising another 23% by 2022. It is also estimated that 80% of therapists started massage as a second career, and as many as 60% remain sole practitioners.
With all of these people and transactions to manage, that’s all the more reason to have effective software. Whether you are working alone or in a small group, you’ll want to dedicate as much of your time as possible to actually performing massages, as opposed to the busy work associated with operating a business.
As a single practitioner, one of the most important capabilities of your software should be the availability of online appointment booking for your prospective clients. The ability to fill your book with appointments while you are busy working on other clients, or even over evenings or down time, is a huge help to a growing business. You may even be able to manage a small studio without front desk help, saving you money in salary for that position.
If you are a mid sized spa with a full time receptionist, the absence of online booking is likely to be costing you appointments. Often, people don’t have time to book luxury services during the workday. They think about or remember to schedule their spa appointment during off hours, like 11:00pm, before they go to bed.
New and prospective customers will look to book appointments through your business web page or even your Facebook page. And contrary to what you might envision, it does not allow your clients to actually “see” your book, or to know whom else is booked with you.
You are able to set the parameters for booking. Clients searching for spots will only see what is available, not what is already taken. Clients enter their personal information, select a day or time in which they would like an appointment, and view the available options, such as 60- or 90- minute Swedish, or different modalities. Clients can be prompted for personal information and also a credit card number to hold the appointment, should you wish to enable that feature.
Massage therapists are often shy about cancellation policies because they fear it will deter new customers, but many studies have shown that no-shows are cut dramatically by the enactment of a cancellation policy with some teeth in it. Especially for sole practitioners; no-shows are lost revenue, and it can never be recovered as you can never go back and sell that time slot which has already passed! Your software should also be able to be configured to perform automatic appointment confirmations, which is an additional prompt to ensure your clients who have reserved time actually show up.
In a growing massage practice with multiple practitioners, your software becomes a part-time desk assistant, helping to ensure that practitioners are only booked with services that they are licensed or trained to perform, and that rooms or equipment are not double-booked, preventing potential customer service nightmares.
The software is also a valuable marketing tool, especially in situations where you need to build your business, but have limited time. Whether emailing your client database, or posting events and promotions to Facebook and Twitter, you can effectively grow your revenues without investing hours of your time.
Financial record-keeping will become much easier and more accurate by using the software’s point-of-sale terminal feature to record sales revenue from services and retail, and potentially tip income. No need to count up a bunch of slips at the end of the day, or try to make sense of scribbles in a hand-written appointment book; just click the mouse and all of the information you will need will be there. Beyond just recording revenue, the point-of-sale data that you collect will enable you to analyze your business performance, and spot trends that you may want to build upon. High appointment demand for certain days or times might mean that you are able to add staff or shifts to the schedule. You can track retail sales by category and provider, and better manage inventory cash flow. And knowing which of your staff members is retaining clients can be a key to appropriate client distribution.
With so many benefits and positive outcomes to using software to manage your massage business, there is no reason to delay utilization of this valuable tool!
About the Author
Lisa Starr brings over 30 years of industry-specific experience as a consultant, educator and writer to Booker through GOtalk. Lisa also works for Wynne Business, a leading spa consulting and education company. Among other things, Lisa’s expertise lies in business operations and finances, sales and marketing, inventory management, human resource development, and business process improvement. She is a well-known speaker within the trade show circuit and is a frequent contributor to industryFollow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Lisa Starr