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Bodywork Buddy Blog

Bodywork Buddy: business management software for the solo therapist that keeps you organized and makes tax time a breeze.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Let’s Talk about Packages!

So 2018 is coming up and your business goal is to get your current clients to return. One of the common practices for solo massage therapist is to sell packages. This is absolutely a great way to get your clients to return… but it is also a great way to lose a lot of money, cause a bookkeeping nightmare, or make yourself feel burned out on giving out ‘free - but not free’ services. 

The down side of packages for the solo MT is the bookkeeping part of the situation. You are paid a lump sum at the beginning, and then people use the sessions over time. Sounds awesome to get a $500 payment all at once… until it’s a year later and your seeing that client with no income for that session. However, there are ways to make it work!

A couple years ago I changed my package policies to make it work for me AND my clients. These new policies, along with a few simple changes made it so last June I was scheduled out 4 months and was not able to accept new clients.   

Before I tell you what I did, I understand that these may or may not work for everyone. One thing that I’ve learned in running a business for 14 years is that even though GURUs have 365 ways for you to make money… if it doesn’t fit your personality, you won’t do it or be successful at doing it. Pick one or two of these tips and see how they work for you!

Here is what I did:

  1. Raised my prices - What? What does that have to do with packages? The golden rule for price setting is to figure out your bare minimum you need per session to cover rent and other overhead costs and then add a bit more to give you a cushion. Well, if your base price is set at that minimum, then your packages are going to slowly eat away at your profits. Set your package per session price to be that minimum and your regular session price higher. You’re always covered this way and your clients have more incentive for purchasing packages.

  2. STOPPED giving FREE massages - The package concept is that you pre-pay for a certain amount of sessions at a discounted rate. Some where, somehow, someone said that it had to be Buy 4, Get 1 Free. WRONG. I convinced myself that it was only 20% off each session. But really I was giving away HUNDREDS of dollars of services each year! I gave away enough massages that I could have bought a new Hot Towel Cabi, or taken a day off when I was feeling sick. Instead, I reduced the cost by an amount that still meant it was only a small amount off each massage AND it still met my base price requirements. My current packages are $30 off a package of 6. $5 off is still more than $0 off.

  3. I made limited availability packages - I knew that my standard package of 6 massages was sometimes out of my clients price range, so at different holiday times of the year, or anytime i felt like it, I would sell a package of 3 for only 2-4 weeks. These packages gave more of my clients opportunity to try regularly scheduled massages. I also sell a yearly package ONLY in December and January. This helps with bookkeeping, and also exclusivity.

  4. I allow sharing I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of husband and wife clients. I absolutely let them share a package. I do have rules. They have to tell me when they buy the package who is sharing it, or if they are giving a session to a friend/child, they have to tell me exactly who is using it before they come in. I’ve sold more packages to people who think they are going to share it, and then use them all themselves!

  5. I developed a tracking system - I’ve had a package tracking system since before I had online scheduling, so I have my old school paper tracking method. But Bodywork Buddy has a system built in! This is great for keep track of how many are left in a package. I learned early on, that it’s up to you (NOT THE CLIENT) to keep track of this stuff!

  6. BONUS - Keep a separate account To be honest, this next one I’m not so great at. I did set up a separate account for gift certificates and packages to withdraw from as the sessions are used. Most of the time I’m pretty good at using it correctly, but then things like estimated tax payments and sales tax comes due. This is definitely something that is on my goal list, but I wanted to included it because it is something that would help that feeling of giving a “free - but not really free” service go away!

This is what worked for me, and I hope that it will help you plan for your business next year. Remember, think about what your money needs to do for you in the short AND long term. Calculate the cost of your discounts to put it perspective, and then adjust as necessary. You can give your clients a gift of a discount, without hurting your practice! Happy New Year! 

Erin Howk Bennett, BCTMB

1 comment:

  1. I have been thinking of doing this exact same thing. Thanks for sharing!