Yelp Helps

This blog is about the adventures, trials, tribulations, emotions, pleasures, fears, frustrations and joys of starting a new out-call massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The blog is written by one of the two owner / partners of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – and is then carried forward into the Social Media sphere by Rochelle Ganoe – the other owner / Partner.

In part 1 of the ‘Marketing Your Massage Business in Jackson Hole’ last week, I was coming to the conclusion that, by a large margin, the internet is the place to advertise and the place to be seen. Why? Simply because the calls have been coming in good numbers from web searches on Google and on Yelp. So far, with the Jackson Hole News and Guide, after five 1/4 page ads in the weekly paper – we have had just one phone call (which did lead to a massage being sold). I’ll continue to monitor and report on the newspaper advertising results (we are committed) and thought on branding etc.

But this post is more about Yelp. For a massage business in Jackson Hole, I can’t imagine a more effective way to be found than to be listed on Yelp. Whilst the majority of our calls (and orders) have come from the Internet – the greatest portion of those has come from Yelp. I had never quite realized just how much people – especially travelers – use Yelp as their main search tool – not just Google.

In one example, I was called by a family who was vacationing in their large RV and were camped at the Virginian RV Park. The man of the family was in great need of a massage, and his wife did some diligent research on Yelp. Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole popped up first and, with just one great review, she called and booked a 90 minute massage right there in their RV.

After the massage, they explained their philosophies about doing their research on Yelp: “I won’t even entertain purchasing from a service or a business until I have seen it on Yelp and read the reviews.” Said the wife. But in addition to this, this family had a painting business and they have their business on Yelp too. I appreciated the advice they gave me about being on both sides of the Yelp story. Additionally, they advised me never to purchase advertising on Yelp as, like Google, it’s the organic nature of the listing that counts. Good organic placement on Yelp, with strong reviews, is what gets the travelers’ attention and makes them buy your product.

It’s all very well to be found on Yelp – but guess what – yep – there’s more to it than that. Whilst some travelers will call directly from the phone number listed right up-front on your Yelp page, many will need further confirmation and go to your web site to see what it’s all about. So…you need a nice web site – and one that is ‘responsive’ to being adapted to monitor sizes on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers. Next week I’ll talk about, and hopefully be able to share with you the launch of, our brand new custom web site – courtesy of Shannon Sbarra at Skyfire Studio.

Be Well,

T. Hamish Tear

Marketing Your Massage Business in Jackson Hole

This blog is about the adventures, trials, tribulations, emotions, pleasures, fears, frustrations and joys of starting a new out-call massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The blog is written by T. Hamish Tear, one of the two owner / partners of Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – which is then carried forward into the Social Media sphere by Rochelle Ganoe – the other owner / Partner.

Our most recent ‘test of faith’ in Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole has been to continue to commit funds to consistent, repeated advertising over long periods of time when this is quickly becoming a negative cash-flow situation. The big decision has been whether or not to continue with advertising in the Jackson Hole News and Guide (and now we are considering the Jackson Hole Daily News) – in addition to the various other advertising mediums we have going on at the moment – not to mention the ‘Big-Gulp’ of a whole new custom web site. From previous blog posts, readers may recall that those other advertising mediums are:

1) Rack Cards. These were published by Vista Print. We ordered 2,500 and they have been distributed around Jackson Hole by the brochure delivery company “Pony Express”. We are having them delivered to rack card locations in hotels and public places frequented by tourists all over Jackson. Rack cards have provided us with two inquiries and one sale over a period of three months.

2) Jackson Hole Attraction Menu. This map and calendar of events carries advertising within it and is distributed alongside rack cards and is also found in many hotel rooms and lobbies. This has brought in three inquiries so far and has resulted in one sale.

3) The Jackson Hole News and Guide. We started with a 1/4 page ad and are now running a slightly smaller ad. for six weeks – the total contract being for thirteen weeks. This has brought in one inquiry, which led to one sale.

Those are our current advertising efforts and on-going expenses. In the past we have also advertised in the half-off special section of JH Weekly (aka Planet Jackson Hole). Yes it seems steep and scary and the question is…do we have faith in Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole to keep it going with that kind of negative cash-flow? Fortunately, we have our contract massage work at Spring Creek Ranch, and at Sena Spa in Teton Village, and at Olga’s Day Spa at Snow King Resort to keep us going. Rochelle also has a handful of fairly regular local massage clients from the past couple of years that keep her cash coming as well – although those are well discounted prices.

But what we also have to thank for cash coming in – by far our most efficient advertising medium (although we’re still talking small numbers) is the internet – yes – our web site, its SEO and Rochelle’s SM work – are performing. Usually when the Massage Professionals phone rings it is a request for a massage from having been found on the internet. And those customers have been mostly un-phased by our basic one hour massage price of $130 – and they leave extremely generous gratuities. This is why we have decided to go for the big splash of having a new custom web site built for us. We consider that the previous web site, a free template web site that comes with membership of the American Bodywork and Massage Professionals, to be ‘adequate’ but no more because it is not a ‘responsive’ web site – and other reasons. (Although it is a really good place to start with a brand new massage business with little start-up capital – and it has already gained a very respectable organic Google placement.)

This blog Post will continue next week with details of how we have decided to construct our new web site, who we hired to do so and why – and how expenses being poured into the web site can be justified and balanced against or with those other advertising mediums in Jackson Hole.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

When The Massage Room Door Closes

This blog is about new massage therapists (a couple) starting a new massage business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming…

Here it is again, and I don’t mind repeating it…I AM A NEW MASSAGE THERAPIST. In fact it’s sometimes embarrassing that I don’t have much to offer about myself when it comes down to describing my experience in the ‘about’ page on our web site. But, hey, I’m 57 years old. Circumstances have led me to the point of starting over and I’m doing my best. So far, in addition to 100 hours of Swedish massage instruction, what I have to offer my massage clients and the massage business, is ‘life’ experience – which means experience of people on a broad spectrum. It means I can empathize, listen, understand, be free of judgments or pre-conceived notions. It is also handy that since my teens I have considered myself to be an athlete – sometimes reaching into the realms of ‘endurance’. Working-out regularly has become a necessity and, with that, comes an understanding of the human physique and what it can tolerate…and what it can’t.

We are fortunate to be able to work as massage contractors at a few spas in the Jackson Hole area – this brings us in valued cash and experience as we plug away at starting our new business. The guests are in their robes in the reception area while the therapists ready the rooms. Water or tea is given, and intake forms are reviewed with the guests. Most times there’s small talk about the vacation so far, I always ask about how long they have been at this altitude (Jackson Hole is at 6,200 ft.), and I also ask about what they have been doing here so far. (People often overdo it – even whilst on vacation. Even though I disguise it as chit-chat, I get an idea if they’re golfers, tennis players, climbers; carry small kids about, what they do for a living (computer work?), and if they’re generally stressed or not. 85% of the time people are needing a massage because of upper back, neck and shoulders pain and stiffness – and that mostly derived from computer work or at least desk-sitting all day. At this juncture I am truly tempted to suggest that they change their lifestyles – but of course I have to hold back and simply do the best for them in the hour that they are with me.

Resort guests can create an interesting dilemma because, mostly, the massage therapist only sees them ONCE. So what can you do? In normal massage practice when a massage therapist will see  clients regularly – it’s wise to use the first session or two just to get to know the client and their body type, their ‘condition’ and how they receive massage. It gives the massage therapist a chance to go in gently – exploratively, and then make a game plan for future massage sessions.

In the one-time-only massage business it’s a different story. The client usually wants one of three things – relaxation, soothing of specific aches and stiffness, or a combination of both. Often this is accompanied by a request for ‘deep tissue’ work. It is important to listen to the client’s wishes and, for the sake of a good tip, register that you will pay attention to those specific areas. However, I feel that it is also important to pay attention to the whole story – that the primary thing you can probably do for this guest is provide relaxation (without that – what’s the point?) – and the last thing I ever want to do to a one-time only guest is to hurt them – cause them to recoil, stiffen.

The guest has been heard – led to the treatment room, asked to disrobe (while I step out) and asked to (usually) lie face-down on the table…”And I’ll give a knock before I come back in…” I step outside, take some breaths. I replay what I have heard from the guest and void my mind of all else, preparing to do nothing other than give that guest the best of my attention, based on the information gleaned over just a few minutes of preamble, for the next sixty minutes.

I knock, get permission to enter, walk in, dim the lights even further, and the door closes behind me…

Be well,

Hamish & Rochelle

Learning As We Go

We are now into our eighth month since creating the LLC for Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole. This is only issue number 10 of this blog about our experiences so far – and yet I am already able to back-track, learn from my mistakes and assumptions – and share with readers.

Earlier this summer, when I started the Blog, I did so with reluctance – who wants to be a blogger? Who wants to spend any more time sitting in front of a computer (why many people come to us for massages these days)? Who would ever read this stuff  even if it could be found among the millions of blogs that now completely bung up the internet? In fact – I even wrote that the reason for writing the blog and including strong key words (for us they’d be massage, body work, deep tissue, Jackson Hole, Spa, and so on…) – has nothing to do with human beings actually reading the blog – but it’s all for search engine spiders / robots / crawlers that comb web sites and blogs looking for rich content.

Therefore, I admit, I wrote a load of drivel stuffed full of key words. I didn’t really care if the blog had form or consistency in style or in the way I set up the headers – because nobody would be reading it. You will notice I still don’t have a fancy header or any graphics and so far I have decided that images and lots of linking etc. is too time-consuming and a bit tiresome. After all – how many images of anything to do with massage are truly unique? And how relevant are fancy graphics when what I really need to spend my time on is writing the blog and getting the rich text in there?

But I was stunned to learn that people (so far other massage therapists) DO read this blog and have relevant, positive comments to make: Jen Ryan who is a life-long Jackson Hole and Star Valley massage therapist, and Yvonne Clapper of Massage by Yvonne in La Habra, CA, both commented on my recent blog post: Gaining Confidence as a (Male) Massage Therapist.

Jen and I work together at The Spa at Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole. Again – I was completely taken-aback that somebody would read my blog and was grateful that I had put a little more care than usual into what I wrote. Jen loved it and was just generally very complimentary – most important to my confidence as a massage therapist and a startup business owner.. I made a note to myself that I need to pay more attention to this blog-writing thing.

Then Massage Professionals received an e-mail from Yvonne Clapper whose response to that same post about homophobia in the massage industry (not wishing to be massaged by a male therapist) is here: I really enjoyed reading this.  I’ll be sure to look you up if I’m ever in the area!  I am a massage therapist, but must admit I have a hard time relaxing when I receive treatment from a male therapist.  School helped with this tremendously, however, I still have insecurities when it comes down to it.  I agree 100% with your reasoning, but would like to add body image issues, and a history of abuse to your list of reasons.  Thank you for sharing! Thank you Yvonne this is a most useful and informative insight.

The learning curve in starting this new massage business in Jackson Hole is steep – at this very early stage I have already learned that not only are people reading this blog, but that their input is genuinely worthwhile.

In Massage Professionals JH Blog Post No. 11 I will describe how this blog, combined with Rochelle’s phenomenal job of keeping up with a strong Social Media campaign is helping to boost our position in the search engines.

Be Well,

Hamish and Rochelle

Jackson Hole’s Massage Culture

This Blog is about the progress of a new massage therapy company being created in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – by two people who are starting from scratch in the massage industry. My writing is about our discovery and is designed to share it with others who would start their own massage business – not necessarily in Jackson Hole. I write not from the ‘expert’ point of view (most blog articles are advice from ‘experts’) – because we are certainly not that (but we are working on becoming so); but I write from the exposed situation of the newcomer. I write about our successes and failures and welcome any massage industry newcomers, professionals, business owners and massage clients to come along with us on our journey.

What Rochelle and I find is helpful is simply to go with your passion. Work hard, be diligent, define your goals – and go for it. Don’t worry about what other people think. I used to be concerned that we, as newcomers and inexperienced massage therapists were stepping on the toes of other well-established massage therapists in town. Well – so what? There’s no law against it, they say competition is good – and who can really criticize us for ‘going for it’ in an economy where nobody else is going to look after you and working for other people just sucks! Everybody has to start somewhere and every journey starts with the first step. But the truth is that other massage therapists are supportive and happy for us – and as indicated in a previous blog post we see them not as competition but colleagues in the same collective business – and some of them will hopefully become our assets as we offer them contracts to provide our out-call massages. So we hope that this proves to be a win-win situation for other out-call massage therapists as our commission share with them is quite generous – 65% goes to the massage therapist with massage prices starting at $130 – and the contractor keeps all tips. I don’t mean to suggest here that all massage therapists in the Jackson Hole area are falling over themselves to be associated or affiliated with us as quite a few are deservedly booked solid after years of building a clientele.

Of course, Rochelle and I have to take on the lion’s share of the initial work as we have now quite a substantial investment in the company. Any good business owner will tell you that you have to regain or at least control those expenses as soon as possible –  not only that, but we need the income.

However, our goals with Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole include establishing significant volume where Rochelle and I perform about two per day, five days per week – and are otherwise administering the out-call business – and taking ‘normal’ time off to enjoy our favorite things: hiking in the Tetons, Rafting the Snake River and socializing in Jackson Hole.

Be well,

Hamish Tear

Gaining Confidence as a (Male) Massage Therapist

As mentioned in previous posts, it is important for new massage therapists, and new massage therapy businesses to keep the momentum going. From the business perspective, all I have mentioned before is necessary – the advertising, the business identity and vision, the branding and so much more.

However, the momentum of continuing to perform massage work is just as important and it is especially valuable if, while setting up your new business, you don’t have to do unrelatedwork – that just takes you away from your skills and denies you the possibility of adding to your relevant experience. Also, in the highly seasonal resort of Jackson Hole, you have to make hay while the sun shines because the off-seasons can be challenging indeed.

Having such experience and work in spas, while the business develops, has been particularly important and beneficial to me – especially as a male massage therapist. In fact my confidence has been boosted so much by the favorable reviews I have had from my massage clients that, even in my newness, I feel that I am every bit as good as my experienced female counterparts.

Now, I have to be careful what I say here. There are many ‘intricate’ and specific deep tissue and sports massage functions and manipulations that I am not trained to perform. But if we’re talking about a good and relaxing Swedish massage with varying amounts of pressure – I can deliver. The accolades I receive are quite remarkable: “Perfect”, “Can I take you home with me?”, and “The best massage I’ve ever had.” These are just some of the nice things I have had said to me – and in fact I’ve had none that were even slightly in the negative.

Male massage therapists face a certain amount of homophobia. There are three incidences of this:

1) Guys who don’t like guys touching them and would rather have a female. Hey – I’m the same myself – but this isn’t about sex – it’s about massage – and if I’m hurting and needing a good deep massage I will often ask for a male. (Not to say that females can’t give a good deep massage.)

2) Women who don’t like guys touching (or seeing) them. Again, there’s an unawareness here about what good professional massage is all about. There’s also probably an amount of long-standing shyness or even prudishness. I am fortunate to have had male requests from females for quite a few massages now and that builds tremendous confidence.

3) Guys who don’t want their girlfriend or wife being touched (or seen) by another guy. Control freaks are everywhere.

I had one experience recently where I had been booked to provide a massage to a man who had requested a female massage therapist. Mistakes are made and it was late in the day with no female massage therapist available. Besides – I wanted the work. I went out there and told him the situation and he said he was OK with receiving a massage from me. Well, this guy was in pain. A typical Jackson Hole visiting golfer of about 70 years old with stiffness in the shoulders, hips, sore legs – uncomfortable all over with a golf game in the morning.

Long story short – he fell asleep on the table and afterwards he told me with a big smile…you did good. And I received the largest tip for a one-hour massage I have had so far.

Such confidence builds and works wonders for your massage performance because you KNOW you are good. You don’t hold back and can really get into the massages you are giving without holding back. But don’t let it get to your head – and remember to always deliver what the customer has requested on the intake form.

Be well.

Hamish Tear

Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole.

Writing a Blog for your Massage Business

If you have been reading this massage blog, it has taken quite a few changes in direction, different headers, headline styles, and formats. That’s OK – a startup business has to be flexible and you have to be able to change quickly in order to respond to what is working and what is not – and what just feels good (like a good massage). I think I have finally arrived at an acceptable theme. It’s uncluttered and to the point. The blog keeps the same name as the business: Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole – issue ? And then the subject headline of whatever massage or non-massage related writing I wish to write about.

You may also remember that the main subject of the blog is starting up a mobile massage business in Jackson Hole. Simple enough concept – but there are many details. One of the necessary things to cross of your list every week is WRITING A BLOG – Why? Because it is attached to your web site (another necessity if you’re going to succeed in the massage business) – and ‘content-rich’ text is needed for the internet search engine spiders (web crawlers), that absolutely guzzle themselves on text that is written about the very subject your web site is about. Why do you think the word ‘massage’, and the words, ‘Jackson Hole’, along with ‘mobile massage’ and ‘in-home massage’ appear so often in these posts?

Are people really going to read this blog? Well, no. It’s not the Huffington Post. Or – a few readers (like you) might just come across it by accident. The main ‘readers’ of your blog are the search engine spiders. What do they do with it? They decide that your web site is absolutely and very definitely legitimate and will provide searching customers with what they are looking for. After all, if somebody is searching for ‘Massage, Jackson Hole’, Then if I write those words a few times in the blog – those words enhance my web site text and the spiders pick up on that. They give high marks for content-rich text and then your site gets bumped-up on the Google results pages. (And other search engines – but who really cares about them?)

On the business front, the blog-writing is just one task of many. The other work I must do is to continue working at Spring Creek Ranch to not only bring in valuable Dollars that off-set the costs of starting our own massage business – and keep up my skills and my confidence. Confidence in your massage technique and effectiveness is extremely important to your life as a massage therapist – and is the subject I’ll be covering in next week’s Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole Blog – Issue No. 8

One Massage at a Time

We are now in month seven of our new massage business in Jackson Hole since making the very first moves back in January. Rochelle and I remember it very well: determined to spend no money, we walked the cold wintry streets and drove to outlying areas to speak with responsible parties in vacation rental companies. Our goal was to launch in high summer season – so we felt that we had oodles of time and could build slowly.

Over the next few months we worked on our brand (which we really love – designed by branding expert Seth Nielson at WASA Industries (We Are So Awesome). Here it is again:


People just love this logo, and so do we. Seth treated it very professionally. It took time and some back-and-forth with the designer – and $500. (There are some places where you have to spend money and we felt that strong branding was one of those places.) We liked the idea that the entire name, Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole was contained completely within the logo. Then, beside that on our business card we have the words ‘Jackson’s Premier In-Home Massage Provider’. How can we be Jackson’s Premier In-Home Massage Provider if we’re just brand new? Well, it’s just advertising – we’re in this game to thrive and as long as it’s legal – we can say what we want.

Besides, we have set ourselves up as an LLC and are really going for this in a much more commercial fashion than ay ‘non-spa’ massage provider. The other mobile massage vendors in Jackson Hole (same as most all around the country) keep it small and work mostly on word of mouth, excellent service, signs on their cars and occasional advertising (all very good and valid methods which we, too must embrace). We have a vision for a bigger deal – a company with a business plan, a real presence in the media year-round, and a volume of massages requiring the contracting of independent massage services.

So how’s it going now? It’s July 18th – high summer season – and we’re rolling – right? WRONG! We have had just a handful of massages from Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole marketing efforts so far. But are we discouraged? – NO! We are flexible, we are learning, and we continue to do massages and other spa products at Spring Creek Ranch. This keeps our skill levels up and pays well while we continue to work on our own massage business. In many new small businesses, people have to work at something completely unrelated in order to make ends meet – that’s not efficient.

No – we’re not discouraged at all. What we are learning is that rack cards – distributed to about 25 hotels and tourist areas around Jackson Hole are not working. They have brought in not one call so far. Our advertising in the Jackson Hole Attraction Menu has been bringing in some calls – so we’ll keep monitoring that one – and we have had calls from Inn on The Creek, where we have been schmoozing Lindsay at the front desk. Beating the streets back in January has paid off.

Next week I’ll continue with this in-depth time of discovery and let you know how we’re reacting to the slowness of the business during high season – and what we have started to implement to combat this as the season moves on.

Be Well – Hamish and Rochelle.

Getting Started Staying Employed

When starting your new in-home massage therapy business in Jackson Hole, it is important to keep your financial and skills resources high while you struggle with the difficulties inherent in any new business.
Massage appointments will be non-existent at first, and expenses will always be present. If you are under-capitalized, as many new businesses are, it is important not to let that drive your new massage business into the ground before you even get started. Therefore you have to maintain that second job in order to pay not only for your massage business start-up, but also your general living expenses which, in Jackson Hole, can be very high.
It makes most sense to work at something related to massage or health and well-being so that you don’t lose touch with your skills. But of course the very best kind of work to do is massage itself – allowing to not only keep, but build upon your skills and confidence. Also, it is rare to keep working on massage and not be exposed to other elements of the massage / spa industry that will eventually be of use to you in your own massage business.
In Jackson Hole, we have a few high-end spas, as mentioned in last week’s Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole blog. By working at those spas we are being paid well in order to continue to practice our massage craft. That’s the best of both worlds and keeps the wolf from the door as your own small massage business gets up and running.
As for competition – this is completely the wrong way to look at those who just happen to be in the same massage industry. In Jackson Hole there are quite a few – and as our business specializes in in-home massage only – some call it mobile massage – we think that cooperation with those other massage therapists is our way to success. But don’t forget that it should also be their way to success and we ensure this by paying those other massage therapists the lion’s share of the fee for each massage. Fort example, a regular 60-minute massage charges at $130.00. 65% of that goes to the massage therapist. That’s a cool $84.50 and you can expect the average tip to be $20 – so that’s a total of $104.50 to the massage therapist – who doesn’t have to worry about the hassles, responsibilities and expenses of running the business – and let’s face it many don’t want those things in their lives. KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid.
More on the massage Therapist ‘competition’ next week. Meanwhile – please read our MPJH Newsletter No. 4


Getting the Phone to Ring

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: 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.