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Posted by Victoria Thompson, Nov 28 2010 10:35PM

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New cllient longer appointment request

I have a potential new client who wishes for a 90 minute or 2 hour appointment for a relaxation massage. I am trying to build my client base so don't want to turn him down but feel that a) this will be particularly hard work and b) does anyone else out there ever give longer appointments ? I feel that perhaps 90 minutes is feasible for a first appointment with consultation time but thinking about offering two, hour appointments close together, even in the same day. Am also wondering about his motives as the request was by email. Anyone else had a similar experience and how did you deal with it ?
Rona Gray
Nov 28 2010 10:45PM
I think you are right to question this. I had a long appt with a man in my early days of practice and felt uncomfortable. I could see that he was someone with great emotional needs and a good income so this was his way of trying to counter the former.
I think poss putting cap on at 90 mins ma option but also are you sure it is a genuine request as I got quite a few spoof emails wanting ridiculous numbers of appts over a short period and it was spoof to get your bank details! Do you work in a centre with others around...i have to say that helped me feel safer than at home
Sue Hannaford
Nov 28 2010 10:45PM
I offer 90 min apppointments as well as 60, and have always done so. However, I would prefer to have a telephone discussion with a new client in these circumstances (unless you are working at a clinic with a receptionist, then it is probably fine). You can then decide whether or not you feel comfortable about offering the treatment. If you don't feel comfortable, or don't want, then it's your choice. Trust your instincts. You could email back saying your usual appointment times are 60 mins but if he would like to call you to discuss, you can take it from there? Two hours is a bit much for a relaxation treatment, in my opinion. Good luck!
Angela Rawlins
Nov 29 2010 7:26AM
Hi Victoria

You must be very careful, unfortunately there are some men who are looking for a different type of massage that you are providing.

I would say to him, a two hour appointment would not be beneficial as the quality would be impaired due to the very strenuous nature of massage, however 'a 90 minute session would be the maximum time I could guarantee a good treatment'. Also, I would find a chaperone, especially if you are practicing at home. DO NOT visit any man at there home - without a chaperone.

Better to pass up a potentially dodgy client - perhaps put him in touch with a male who massages.

I think, if he has good intentions, he will not object to a chaperone.
Sue Hannaford
Nov 29 2010 9:04AM
I don't do home visits anymore, but when I did, for men I would always say, yes, no problem, as long as your other half (wife or girlfriend) is there (ie in the house). That always sorted out if that was an issue! At the clinic, if an evening appointment with no receptionist, I always make sure there is another therapist in the building OR my other half (he doesn't charge anything!!!) would be in the building. Alot of this comes from years of experience. When I have been "caught out" there has always been someone else around and I have been able to put my "professional head" on, ie don't think about what they might be thinking about! I still recommend having a discussion on the phone - eg have you had massage before and what sort? Talk in terms of using remedial techniques for pain conditions (to clarify to him that you are a professional massage therapist not a ...). Explain how you work eg they will need to fill out a consultation form to give medical history etc, that they will be undressed to underwear and will be covered by towels, sheets, blankets, steel plates, bricks etc and you'll only uncover the body parts you are working on. If that isn't what he is looking for he won't book.

I always have a plan in my head about what I will do if someone is or talks inappropriately so that I will react professionally and calmly - and then put it out of my head during the treatment - fatal to be thinking or worrying about it during.

Finally there are two possibilities: the guy is a bit dodgy and does the rounds of genuine massage therapists because he either hasn't the nerve to go to somewhere else/gets a kick out of making (usually new) therapists feel uncomfortable (I have had a few of those over the years) OR HE IS GENUINE, has had massage before and knows that a longer treatment is beneficial for him. Talk to him and use your instincts. If you don't want to treat him, find out when he is available and say you haven't anything in the next few weeks and will get back to him when you have. Also as others have said, you can refer him on to a male massage therapist. That works whether he is dodgy or not.
Giuseppe Tomaselli
Nov 29 2010 2:05PM
Dear Victoria,

I am a mail therapist; nevertheless, I always make sure to know about my client before I meet them.

And, I do treat some clients, male and female, for 2 hours. Either because I combine to different type of treatment or because I need to work in different areas of the body (i.e. sport massage followed by relaxation or lymphodrainage and remedial etc.)

It is important to talk to your prospective client before you meet them so to know what type of person you will be facing and to know more in depth what their problem is (so that if you are not sure of how to treat it can make some enquiries).
During the call you will have to sound very professional and ‘medical’ so to avoid any misunderstandings. I have had both male (kind of) and female ringing up with unusual requests.

As already mentioned in this forum, you must have somebody with you when visiting somebody at their homes especially for the first time (doesn’t matter the sex) and the same if you work from home. In a clinic it is important that the receptionist/another colleague leaves when all the clients have gone.

When I have an enquiry and arrange an appointment, I always ask for their telephone number and address. A genuine client will have no problem with that as he/she will have to give this information to you anyway. Also, it will help you to Google the information and find out quite a lot about them. From what their house looks like to what their job is or their hobbies, friends etc.

I hope this will hep

Best regards,

Angelina Kelly
Dec 2 2010 2:03PM
Hi Victoria,

In my experience in this situation insist on charging for a two hour appointment, whatever your normal hourly rate is - double it and insist on it being paid in advance. Most people feel this is extortionism and won't buy into it. Problem solved.

However, like my colleagues, I agree that you should question such a client and such a situation. I understand that you want to make yourself, available especially at the beginning of your career,however your safety is more important and you don't want to be taken advantage of either.

From what I can gather we have all been in this situation at some point, it's heartening to know that you folks in England are experiencing the same problems as we are here in Ireland. Report the situation to your training school and governing body so that they can alert new students to this situation, they may also have some guidelines for you to follow.

Good luck and thanks for bringing this to our attention, hope we have all been of some help to you.

Victoria Thompson
Dec 6 2010 6:32PM
Thank you all for your responses. I did offer a 90 minute appointment at a salon where others would be, and unfortunately he responded to my email and call too late. I responded offering an alternative day and time but have not heard from him since then. I do think he is a genuine client as I did hear from him again after I gave him my qualifications, asked about reasons, etc. But, this is a learning curve for me and I will treat slightly ambiguous email requests with caution !

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