Complementary Therapists Association - Forums
Posted by Rose Horwell, Aug 31 2008 8:17PM

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Starting Up on a Mobile basis


I am in the early stages of my mobile massage career ... just wandered if there were many like me out there struggling to attract new business who would be willing to express how their efforts were going?

Everyone naturally wants to say they are busy.. but is everyone really busy or are they finding it difficult to attract clients because of the credit crunch?

I am a bit confused as to the correct way of advertising.. some sites say "whatever you do, don't give free tasters/vouchers" because it lowers your value in the clients eyes.

Some sites say "you must do this otherwise.. advertising such as word of mouth, isn't full proof enough, quick enough".

Anyone brave enough to tell me how they started out & how it is for them?

I have been offered a really lovely room but without a string of clients its a high risk to take on ...

Throughout my training I have got to say I absolutely loved giving massage and having to cover costs certainly puts a whole new spin on things.

Those that do mobile massage "do you do this mainly as your secondary job?, or does it provide you with enough income to keep you, after paying all the Insurances, Oils, The Massage Bed etc etc, as a full time career"?

Would be very grateful for any comments.


Angela Rawlins
Sep 1 2008 6:27PM
Hi Rose

I don't do massage but it is still difficult going starting out doing Reflexology. I have been doing therapies since 1997! I find summer holiday time, not many new clients book if at all. Some times Christmas can be slow too - they need money for Christmas things.

Advertising can be difficult as a lot do not work but its hard to know which does. I used to advertise in our Library and that brought in quite a few clients - till the library decided not to have the ads for fee paying services!! :(( I wouldn't mind, but they had made an exception for one magazine that the ads were paid for by the therapists in it!

I don't rely on my income, I'm lucky enough to have a husband with a good job. I manage to pay all my expenses out of what I do make.

With regards to a rented room - are you able to use a room in your home for a while? Or go mobile?

This is a very hard time to get going, but don't let that put you off - just keep at it!

Try doing a few school pamper evenings or Mind body Spirit fayres.
Rose Horwell
Sep 1 2008 6:51PM
Hi Angela

Thanks very much for your comments. Hopefully things will pick up a little after the school holidays.

I am going on a couple of extra courses soon so hopefully having a few more things to offer will help too.

Thanks again

Judith Quin
Sep 23 2008 3:59PM
Hi - I know you posted this a while ago, but I've only just discovered the forum!

I've just started out myself - I think it's a lot of area/price/pot-luck. I did an hours flyering (with special introductory rates)at a local farmers market and from that I had 4 clients in one week - three of them have re-booked with me (although 2 of those are making use of my buy 3 get one free offer).

I'm not at any stage to let you know how it's going to go, but I think if you're in the right place, at the right price and good enough to encourage your clients to spread the word (one of my clients has asked for business cards to give to her friends and another has said his wife is thinking about booking...) then just go for it!

It'd be interesting to stay in touch and maybe give eachother some support as we start on this journey.

All the best

Judith Quin

Angela Rawlins
Sep 24 2008 4:24PM
Hi Judith

Your buy three get one free idea sounds good. Do you make them pay for all three at once and can you tell me what are you practicing and price - just to see how it may work for me.

In these hard times, I am thinking we may need to reduce prices a bit or make offers like yours.
Judith Quin
Sep 24 2008 4:36PM
Hi Angela

I'm doing a VERY good offer at the moment as I'm trying to get regular clients. I'm offering an introductory rate of £30p/hr £25/45mins or £20 1/2hr (usually £45/£35/£25) and the client can get 4 for the price of 3 at the discount rate. As for pay upfront, I'm taking that on a however I feel about the client type basis! I've had two take me up on it, one wanted to pay in one go so as not to have to pay again and the other is going to pay weekly as they can't afford the lump sum.

I've had another client who I think wasn't too sure at first - but has now had two massages and I've told him he can have 3 at the introductory rate and will then have to pay full price (but he won't get the 4th free as he didn't ask for that on the first appointment).

I'm sure prices still depend on where you are and remembering not to sell yourself short, but to attract new clients this seems to be working for me..... I guess I'll know in a month or so if I am still getting new ones and if these ones stay with me or not....

All the best

Judith Quin
Sep 24 2008 4:36PM
Sorry - forgot to say that's for holistic or deep tissue massage in SE London ~ I charge more for hot stones!
Angela Rawlins
Sep 24 2008 5:07PM
Hi Judith

Thanks. I'm a complementary therapist and offer Reflexology, Thermo-Auricular, Healing and EFT. I had a lady enquirer for Thermo (Hopi Candles) for her husband who was a bit surprised at the fee I charge - £35 1st appt and £30 there after - not expensive really as I'm trained differently to others and it takes me a good length of time. I have incorporated other techniques that make my treatment VERY effective. PLUS, they tend to get healing foc:))

She said she'd have to think as her husband needs min of 4 to be really effective - like taking pills:)mentioned cost - I thought about it and rang her back to say I concerned if he not get treatment as he was desperate, that we could come to an agreement. I think possibly offer 3 for 4 or get the fourth reduced.

Judith Quin
Sep 24 2008 5:26PM
Maybe. I think we have to remember that sometimes people come to us when they've tried and failed with other methods, or a little sceptically. They don't realise that we don't become effective by magic (although a little natural magic does go a long way!) and that we have to take time and money to train to offer a professional service.

Maybe reassure her that you will bring your certificates along on the first consultancy? I don't know it's a toughy - good luck!
Beverley Castle
Oct 16 2008 3:12PM
Hi Rose,

I have been working on a self employed basis for 3 and a half years doing massage, reflexology,
ear candling and indian head. It took 18 months to really get going. You really need to try all angles to get sufficent work to be full time.
I think sometimes people give up because they have not been creative about how they can use their skills. Try everything. I have a treatment room at home. I deliver leaflets twice yearly to houses in my village. I always do school pamper evenings but only very locally. I advertise only in the village newsletter, I have found other advertising useless. My private clients have built up largley from word of mouth. After a while you just start to get known. The embody promotions have been controversial but are worth a try, I have had clients from them. I have had new clients from the Embody website listing and from the Findarefelxologist
website. I have even given a talk to the local Diabetes Uk group, if you are brave enough to give talks this is a good way to get across to a captive audience. I have approached a number of Care homes to offer them a service by letter, telephone call and in person. I offer a free "Try out massage" day and have had sucess in 4 carehomes obviously offering only appropriate treatments. I approached a local beauty salon and convinced them that I should come in and do reflexology and ear candling for them. My mobile clients have generally come from all the above avenues. I have also networked with other local therapists, a physio, chiropodist and we have passed work to each other. In short ( which I dont think I have been !)
There is no one brilliant way to be successful. It takes time, determination and most of all flexibility. Had I decided I would say, only do mobile or only work from home I do not think I would still be doing this today.
I wish you all the best with your new business. I hope the above helps.
Beverley Castle
Oct 16 2008 3:14PM
ps. I would be dubious about taking on a rented room until you are well established.

Rose Horwell
Oct 16 2008 4:39PM
Thanks Beverley

I have had to go back to an administration job at moment, but now qualified I know at least that it is another string to my bow so to speak, when things pick up again I may find it more viable. Unfortunately the time it takes to get going is just a bit too long in the current climate!

I will however not waste my skills ... I will keep up the practise on my husband!!
Judith Quin
Oct 16 2008 4:44PM
Good luck Rose - it's all about perseverence and time - I'm temping and massaging and acting at the moment - I'm finding flyering with my special offers by the local private primary schools and farmer's market quite responsive. It will happen for you when it's meant to.

All the best for the future

Angela Rawlins
Oct 16 2008 4:52PM
Yes, we all need perseverence! I did a pamper evening last night for a local school. It was the worst attended event I've ever done. Well - I did get my money returned for the table AND met three lovely people, two of whom I help greatly:)) The other, a lovely young woman with 3 children - the next generation of Reflexologist:)) That makes me sound old:) Only in body!! Keep at it - perhaps you can do it in the evenings:)

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