Tag Archives: organizing

Running Your Massage Practice

Massage therapists are not known for their left-brain skills. It’s hard to keep track of money, supplies, and clients and still use the powers of intuition and touch to help people.

Or is it? There are some relatively simple and low-tech ways to keep track of things so you can keep up with your bills and keep the IRS happy as well.

Most massage therapists are independent contractors, so they need to do something to keep practice and financial records in a way that they can create with the least pain. Simple systems can help with preservation of sanity.practicerunning

Here’s some “practical” advice:

Smart phone apps offer easy client minding and bookkeeping systems. But one of the problems with these apps is that when a therapist gets busy, these get neglected.

A week, a month, a year later, these apps only tell you what you have told it.

The calendar is simplest scheduling/bookkeeping system has long been used by salons. Whether paper or on your phone, note the client, phone, duration and amount. Add each day’s amounts and hours up, then total each week. No, it won’t dissolve into an easy spreadsheet. But it will keep you in the know.

Some therapists will keep their client notes and info on a separate file in the phone. More complicated but it keeps the notes separate from the financial records, which is better for client privacy.

Expenses often are another forgotten aspect of the massage therapist’s business. Again, the calendar can help. Make note of where you drive for mileage, how many sheets you wash.

For the completely absent-minded, the most elemental system for expenses is a resealable plastic bag. Receipts go in there right away. If the receipts are electronic, they go into another notes file in your phone.

Tidy Time

With each year end, I like to do two things: tidy up the loose ends of my massage therapy practice and set my sights on the coming year.

Tidy time is important in the visceral sense: make sure my tax stuff and books are at least all in one box, if not organized, all set for the tax man. I also like to get some statistics: How many massages have I done, daily and weekly averages, etc.

An important part of this look-back is to check and see when I have been feeling good or overworked. I can often see some times when I should have done a little less or spread my duties out more.

Gone are the days when I could work straight through an 8-hour spa shift and then see two private clients after hours. I don’t miss that a bit. But when I was foolish enough to have done those things, I learned, as I laid prostrate on my bed the next day, not to do so much in one day. Days off are no fun if they are spent flat out zombie-fied.

Days off for a massage therapist are for stretching, tai-chi, family, errands, the beach, all the things that days off are for. I learned not to work so much that I felt drained.

Another lesson is to not drown in paperwork. If, like my therapist friend, you use a bookkeeping program, you still have to plunk the numbers in. Amazing how many other things you can find to do before doing the books. To save myself some angst, I found a good bookkeeper.

Outsourcing is great for the things you do not want to do. For me, it is the bookkeeping. For others, it might be the laundry. The key is figuring out what you do not want to do, or what you are truly bad at doing, and if you are willing to pay for it.

In hindsight, “outsourcing” is what many of us do when we work for employers. We take a pay cut because we don’t want to book clients, make re-appointments, keep track of permits, negotiate leases. There is nothing wrong in that, by the way. Some therapists enjoy being able to leave work at their appointed time and not keep a to-do list. A lot of us have to pick up kids, make dinner and a host of other things for family.

When I’ve looked back at my year, I then look forward. More about that next blog.