In any new business, whether massage business or not, there’s nothing more exciting than when the phone rings for the first time. And the second time, and the eighth time…
Each time that phone rings it means not only that you can start to pay back the investment that you have put into the business but it also means that your months of set-up time are justified – you actually have a paying JOB! (For the meantime – forget about ‘profit’ – that’s a ways off.)
Our situation as a new massage therapy company in Jackson Hole is quite unique as our economy is so dependent on highly-seasonal tourism. Also, there are several well-qualified massage therapists operating in the area with ‘mobile’ massage, and there are a number of spas offering massage in the town of Jackson. Then there are hotels and lodges with spas like the Chill spa at Hotel Terra in Teton Village, Snake River Lodge and Spa in Teton Village, Senna Spa in the Teton Club, and there’s the Alpenhof Spa, and Teton Mountain Lodge also has a spa.
In a later post I will write about this ‘competition’ and how, really, we’re all in the same boat and can pool our resources to benefit the whole.
So what do you do about advertising your massage services so that you stick out among all this competition? And how do you decide how much to spend on it? Well, in the first season, quite frankly, you wing it – but carefully. A few well-thought-out ad placements will bring in results where you can start to examine the results in time and evaluate your expenditures. Visitors to resorts like Jackson Hole tend to leave arrangements for massage (non-essential spending) until the very last minute. It is mostly a spontaneous purchase. There are various advertising mediums in Jackson Hole for the visitors to pick up once they are here: There are rack cards distributed and managed by Pony Express to hotels and obvious visitor locations around the area. We decided to create a rack card on-line and go with the minimum number of cards and locations offered by Pony Express for $295.00. (Plus the cost of the rack cards.) Another place we decided to advertise to tourists directly is the Jackson Hole Attraction Menu. This is a well-established advertising medium and goes directly into hotel rooms and many other public places in Jackson Hole.
In addition to those ‘direct’ advertising mediums, we have had superb response from various vacation rental property management companies, who have allowed us to either include ‘tent cards’ in the vacation homes they manage, and / or list us in their preferred vendors’ list on their web sites. This, and the Jackson Hole Attraction Guide have already earned us some business, as did an off-season ad. in the Planet Jackson Hole newspaper. I will cover our efforts for off-season marketing in a future post.
Last, but not least is our web site: www.massageprofessionalsjh.com and all that it takes to make that higher in the search engine rankings. That topic will be covered in next week’s blog.
See you then – and meanwhile, please see this week’s Newsletter
Massage Therapy Business in Jackson Hole – Getting Started
Taking Care of Business – The Good, The Bad, and the Boring
It all starts with the first step and if you don’t take that step – then you won’t take the step that follows it either. This is the point where massage therapy and small business management and administration collide. It is well known in the massage industry that the business end of things tends to be antithetical. And besides – its boring and not nearly as much fun or a physically rewarding as perhaps helping someone gain relief from painful muscles with a nice sports massage. But the business details have to be done.
You don’t need anyone’s ‘permission’ to start a massage therapy in Jackson Hole. And who cares about what others in body work / healthcare / massage / spa the industry may think? They had to start out somewhere and somehow themselves. They had early days too, and waiting for long periods of time to get ‘on the map’, Get their name out, become more professional, and profitable. But what you DO need is proper business and legal set-up before you earn your first dollar.
Make sure you are legal by deciding on what kind of business entity you are going to become (Sole Proprietor, Corporation, sub-chapter S Corporation, Limited Liability Company etc) and then register with your State Secretary. Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole is an LLC – this means that if there is ever a law suit (hopefully not, and there are very low incidences of law suits in the massage industry), the ‘limited liability’ protects the personal assets and funds of the company owners.
See what other licenses you are required to have by law – county permits? a local town license? Oh – and make sure you keep your operating insurance up to date. We purchased ours through American Body and Massage Professionals – on whose web site you are reading this massage blog.
And that’s about it for the legal side of things – at least in Wyoming where there are few restrictions on operating massage businesses. Some states require hundreds of hours of massage school and certification in order to operate.
Our business model is to be the go-to source for massage therapists in the Jackson Hole area. Therefore you need to seek out those other therapists, find out their specialties and experience, and interview them as potential candidates to become contractors. These people do not become employees, which simplifies matters greatly as you are not responsible for their tax reporting etc and complex employee payroll considerations such as withholding etc.
Be sure to write up a contract with your contract massage therapists. It is important that they, and you, are clear on what is expected of both parties. Everything should be outlined from dress expectations to how best to represent the massage company. Of course, pay should be included in the contract – what is the commission or split between the massage company and the contract massage therapist. This document should be signed by both parties and is a legal document.
An umbrella insurance policy for the massage business should also be considered and we are looking into that now. Even though each contract massage therapist has their own insurance, it is possibly wise to cover the entire business in case of unseen eventualities. What if your massage therapist is in an auto accident on the way to work a job for the company? What happens if an accident happens in the home where the massage is taking place? What if the contract massage therapist’s insurance has run out or is otherwise invalid?
That’s about it for the legal side of things to get you up and running. It’s not really smart to start conducting business, or even advertising that you can conduct business until you have those matters in place. Once that’s done – you’re fully legal to start advertising, operating – and taking in some dollars.
Next week in Massage Therapy Business in Jackson Hole – Getting Started – I’ll discuss our marketing plan and how we started to decide how, where and how much to spend on advertising, and the vast array of opportunities to spend your dollars in various advertising mediums.
As always, I leave you with our latest Newsletter – No. 2 in our fledgling (but growing) business.
Pleas see MPJH Newsletter No. 2
See you next week.