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The National Massage Therapist Survey 2019

Clear speech bubbles from national survey

With the start of a new year, gradually disappearing from view, we wanted to know what are the challenges therapists are facing right now.


We asked 125 therapists to tell us the biggest challenges they face in their massage therapy business this year and the answers were pretty interesting.


Whilst it was great to hear some of you are looking forward to another successful year, many of you are struggling with some common therapist concerns.

We have broken these down into four categories to try to tackle them one by one and to offer some advice and solutions!

 

Competition

1 in 20 of you felt overwhelmed by the increasing number of massage therapists and by the changing face of the industry.

 

Sam Tulloch comment from massage therapist survey about biggest business challenges for 2019

 

In a competitive industry, you can set yourself apart, and make your life easier by working with your strengths.
 
Take five to make a list. What are your hobbies? Have you worked in previous industries? What links do you have in the community that another massage therapist might not have?These contacts can be a great a starting point and using that insider knowledge can put you ahead of the competition.
 
Reach out to previous employers you still have a good relationship with and use your knowledge of the stresses and strains of that particular job to promote how massage treatments could benefit their business! 
 

Others of you expressed concern about the increase in competition from spas and massage franchises.
 

Katya Jezzard-Puyraud comment from massage therapist survey about biggest business challenges for 2019

 

This is a difficult one, as there will always be clients looking for a bargain. Whilst customers are definitely looking for a relaxing space, maybe some carefully placed books or leaflets can help promote the more medical side of our work as massage therapists and shift people's understanding between the two experiences. 

Before beginning your massage treatment with your client, ask them what they are looking for. If a client says they are only looking to relax, subtly point out after the massage where any tension is being held and how you have helped to relieve it. This will demonstrate your knowledge and set your treatments apart. Keep notes on all your clients and mention any changes or progress you see when they return to prove the extra value regular appointments can have. 

Marketing 

12 per cent of you let us know you struggle to market your services to the public. It was fantastic to see some of the big ambitions out there.

 

Nicolle Mitchell comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019 

 

and many of you expressed frustration at trying to change perceptions around massage. 

 

Debbie Flower comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019

 

As self-employed massage therapists, many of you pointed out the many different hats you are wearing!

 

Chrissie Haskett comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019

 

Marketing can be stressful at any point during your career as a massage therapist but it is especially hard to know where to start! Each year the latest trends shift and we can feel pulled in an entirely new direction. At the start of this year, we wrote a 12 step guide for our blog, with easy actionable steps, taking you through this year's top marketing strategies to make the process less scary! 
 

But even those of you who have built up a strong list of clients, still face challenges. Certain times of year can be slow and it can be necessary to switch up your marketing strategy.

 

Tracey Turton comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019

The festive season can often be a quiet period for massage therapists. One way to combat this is by marketing gift cards. It brings new clients to your books and helps your customers shorten their Christmas shopping list! Learn more about using this technique in our post 'Massage the perfect Christmas gift' in the blog section of our website. 

 

Equipment

1 in 6 of the massage therapists we surveyed said that their greatest challenge this year was finding the right equipment for their massage therapy business.

 

Janet Nathanielsz comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019

 

We saw this one as a bit of a challenge!

To meet with Janet's requirements we would recommendthis lightweight massage table. With its' lightweight aluminium frame, this massage table comes in two different widths and weighs only 11.5 kg for the 28-inch version. There is space underneath for your knees and the Porta-Lite Delta II can also be adjusted to your clients' height in just 10 seconds! 

 

For mobile therapists, one concern raised was creating the right atmosphere when travelling to client’s homes or places of work.

 

Sarah Wilson comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019 

An aromatherapy diffuser is a great tool for helping to quickly transform a space into a more soothing environment and these comfy fleece pads consistently get great reviews for offering an extra level of comfort for customers. Both of these options are light and easy to transport and will help to create the relaxing ambience your massage clients are looking for, wherever you deliver their treatment.

Another concern raised by Laurie Paterson was the ongoing costs involved in running a massage therapy business. 

 

Laurie Paterson comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019

 

It is important to factor in these costs when setting your hourly rates and budgets for the year. We want to support our growing community of massage therapists so each week in our newsletter we provide a special offer on massage equipment. Sign up at the bottom of this page to save on massage therapy essentials.

 

Finding life/work balance

For many of you, maintaining a healthy balance between your role as a massage therapist and your home life is a real challenge for this year. Whilst working for yourself can be immensely rewarding, it can also be easy to overstretch yourself. Working unsociable hours to fit in with your clients can leave you with little time for yourself.

 

Robert Finlayson comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019



Using an app like ATracker for iPhones or TimeTune for Android can help you see how you split your time between work, socialising and self-care when you aren’t doing the usual 9-5.

Another concern we saw, that comes into this category, is the challenge of taking home the stresses of our clients.

 

Rebecca Chisholm comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019

 

Many clients open up to their massage therapists as part of the relaxing nature of the treatment. Many find a quick vent of their problems a great method of letting go and winding down for their massage. Lend a caring ear but if you are finding that you have client’s who are leaning on you for more emotional support than usual you may be turning into their counsellor rather than their massage therapist. It is important not to take on this role for many reasons, including protecting your own well being. Find out more, including some tips on how to avoid crossing this line in our post about client-therapist boundaries in the blog section of our website.


At the end of the day, it is worth remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Setting up your own massage therapy business is a long but rewarding journey! We loved the response we received from Anna. a great reminder that it is fantastic to have big goals, but important to always take time to celebrate your successes and to be kind to yourself, remember big things start small!


Anne Power comment from massage therapist survey about the biggest business challenges of 2019

Want to be part of our next survey? Sign up to our mailing list in the box below. 

Can you see the biggest challenge you are facing right now in your massage therapy business in this list? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!  


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