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Hire a Massage Therapist: How To Grow Your Practice

Hire a massage therapist

Business is good. Your schedule is full, and you’re booking a few weeks out. If this sounds like you, it might be time to hire a massage therapist to join your practice

There’s a limit to how much you can earn if your income relies solely on your own two hands. Hiring another massage therapist is a BIG step towards growing your practice. Being a “solo-preneur” has its perks, but you can go a lot farther with a little help.

Owning a multi-therapist clinic is more complicated than working solo, but there are a lot of benefits. There’s greater income potential. You can create a work environment you enjoy, with a team you love. Your practice can have a greater impact on the community. Most importantly, taking time off and planning for retirement get easier.

Are you ready to hire a massage therapist?

The idea of running a massage clinic filled with skilled therapists and many clients is exciting! BUT, before you post a job listing, you need to get your ducks in a row. 

Anxious woman staring at laptop

Hiring staff isn’t the best idea for every situation. Before you hire another massage therapist, you need to answer yes to the following questions. If you can’t, you’re not ready yet.

  • Do you know your numbers and stats?  Your finances need to be in order. Not only that, you need to know A LOT of statistical details about your business. Do you know how many people request appointments each week? How many new clients request appointments, and how do they find you? Go over the monthly income and expenses for your massage business with a fine-tooth comb. Then estimate the cost of hiring and adding a massage therapist to the payroll.
  • Do you have a solid business plan? Finances are only one part of a massage business plan. A business plan is a road map that directs you from where you are now, to where you want to go. It includes a mission statement, marketing plan, benchmarks for execution, and much more.
  • Do you have systems in place? Systems make things run smoothly. They make your life easier and set a standard for how things are done in your business. You need a system for bookkeeping, cleaning, scheduling and more. Don’t forget a system for managing your staff.  Use software to tackle admin tasks.

With ClinicSense, you can track SOAP Notes, automate scheduling and run sales reports for individual staff members. Software like this makes managing multiple therapists much easier.

What’s the best strategy: Employees or Independent Contractors

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to hire a massage therapist, it’s time to choose the best business structure for your practice. Massage business owners have two options: hire employees or recruit therapists to work as independent contractors.

What’s the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?

Employees work for you. You set their schedule, provide them with clients, pay their salary and offer benefits. You’re the boss, and you’re responsible for these massage therapists. Hiring an employee gives you a lot more control. 

The perk of having employees is that they are a part of your business. If you have a vision of selling your practice one day, it might be easier if you have staff. You set the rules for the way they dress, the hours they work, and how they interact with customers and each other.

On the other hand, with employees, you’re now responsible for them financially. You’ll need to withhold taxes from their paychecks, as well as social security and unemployment taxes. You also need worker compensation insurance and heftier professional liability insurance.

Independent contractors work for themselves. You recruit them to work with you or under your supervision. They set their own hours, manage their own clients and pay their own taxes. This is a common business arrangement for massage therapists.

The benefit of independent contractors is you’re not liable for them. They buy their own massage liability insurance. It’s up to them to build their clientele, though it does benefit you to help them out. Also, they cost less money to hire because you’re not responsible for their taxes and benefits.

However, you don’t have as much control over the way they conduct business inside your business. You can ask them to follow certain guidelines. However, you can’t structure their workday or dictate how they do their work. You also don’t control their schedule. 

How to recruit and hire massage therapists

Many successful massage business owners report that their biggest challenge is finding massage therapists to hire. There are hundreds of massage therapists graduating from schools near you every year. There’s not a shortage. 

Follow these steps to recruit and hire a massage therapist:

  • Set a pay structure. Research what massage therapists are being paid in your area. It’s best to offer competitive compensation, so you can retain the massage therapist you hire. Determine if you’ll pay a flat fee or a commission. Also, plan out how employees will advance up the pay scale.
  • Create a clear job description. Describe the job of being a massage therapist, the clientele they’ll work with, and the atmosphere. If there are tasks outside of providing therapy they’re expected to perform, include those as well.
  • Communicate requirements. Obviously, applicants will need to have a valid license to practice massage therapy. Also, list anything else you want applicants to have, like experience, professional liability insurance or training in a specific modality.
  • Advertise your job listing. Post your listing on job boards and career sites. Promote the opening on social media and on your website. Reach out to your network and local schools for referrals.
  • Review resumes and set up interviews. Once you have applicants, look over resumes to determine who might be a good fit. Then set up a time to meet to get to know each other and discuss the job opportunity.

Confident woman making a call

How to sell your work environment to massage therapists

Once you find the right person, you have to sell your business to them. The interview process is not only for you to decide if you want to hire a massage therapist. It’s also a chance for them to decide if they want to work for you.

Consider what massage therapists might be looking for when searching for a good job. What matters most to them? What type of environment do they want to be in? Think about who these people are. According to this 2022 study, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. People in this generation value different things than the generations before them. Factor that into what you’re offering.

Paint a clear picture of what it will be like to work in your clinic. Focus your description on the experience of working in your clinic versus the job itself. Highlight the benefits, the atmosphere and the people they’ll be working with. Be open and honest about expectations and the type of environment you’re trying to create.

How to prepare for an interview and choose the best candidate

After a lot of legwork and creative thinking, you create the perfect job for your business. You list your job opening, people apply, and you schedule interviews. Now what?

Before your interviews, think about what kind of massage therapist you want to hire. You’ve already determined the minimum requirements for the job. Many people fit that description, but only a few will be a good fit for your practice.

Set yourself up for success by doing the following:

Determine what type of personality will mesh well in your practice (and what won’t).

  • Determine what values you’re looking for in a massage therapist.
  • Create a list of questions to ask applicants. Include both work-related questions and personal “get to know you” type questions.
  • Call their references.
  • Do background checks.

This process will help weed out therapists who aren’t a good fit and make the best massage therapists to hire stand out.