How much can you really make as a self-employed, sole-proprietor as a massage therapists?
Do the Math, but also keep your business simple and make it efficient! You will have an overhead and business expenses, but you might be paying too much and it will take giving more massages to make the money you need to stay ahead.
I keep my massage business simple.
I rent from another massage therapist. I have never had the overhead of a big space. I never wanted to deal with leases and managing a big space. I have always just worked for myself and never had any employees. My first few years I tried subleasing space to another massage therapist, but that just didn’t work out.
I do take health insurance but most everything is done online – confirming benefits, billing, explanation of benefits, direct deposits. (I don’t even have to go to the bank!)
Everything I do is automated – my online scheduling, billing insurance companies, tracking insurance payments. I use FullSlate for online appointments. It took me awhile to move to that. I was afraid it wouldn’t work right and appointments would get confused. I didn’t trust it at first. I also liked having people call and me talking to them before they came in. I could ease their apprehension and overcome the ‘how much do you charge’ resistance. Since moving to online scheduling, I hardly talk to anyone. No phone calls to return. Once a month maybe someone calls asking about their insurance or rarely can’t figure out the appointment software.
I bill health insurance and use systems like www.officeally.com to directly bill the insurance companies. I am cutting back on those cases. I bill every 2 weeks and it maybe takes me 30 minutes. I occasionally have to do a prior-authorization through an online system that takes about 5-10 minutes per request. I get direct deposits into my checking accounts. I get reports through www.availity.com or through the other insurance companies onehealthport.com accounts.
I see clients in my office and do the charting in between clients. I keep it simple. A simple bodychart to make marks on and write a few comments. I don’t list every muscle I work on and just list outcomes. KISS.
My bookkeeping is a simple excel spread sheet where I record income and expenses monthly. It adds up the columns so I am ready at tax time to fill in tax forms. Once a month it takes me about 30 minutes.
I do laundry in between clients. I rent space from another massage therapist and between the two of us, we just keep the laundry going each day.
I book people as close together as I can within reason, so that I am not sitting around during the day.
In the beginning I worked on my website, learning Search engine Optimization and wrote about 50 pages of content. I built my website using SBI! which used to be called SiteBuildit! but is now SoloBuildit! It taught me everything about creating a website that works and I use that for my massage business and one of my new websites –www.solowebpreneur.com where I am working on explaining the system to you and helping more people use it. It works.! It gets me most of my clients without doing much more. I have a Facebook page but don’t use it. I don’t do any advertising. I don’t do much of anything else. I was never big on networking.
What I do focus on is giving the best massage that I can each time and build a relationship with each person. That is what brings people back.
Benefits of self-employment
The thing they don’t talk about is how rewarding owning your own business can be and the value of being able set your own hours and create the business that YOU want as compared to working for someone who has their own ideas on how things should be run. You don’t have to answer to anyone but the person in the mirror.