In our current healthcare environment I am getting more and more phone calls and emails from chiropractors who are feeling the economic Massage Girlcrunch and looking for a way to expand their services and kick their practice into the next gear both in volume of patients and revenues generated.

While there are a lot of factors to look at and improve upon to give a clinic a boost, in this brief article I want to focus on one specific diversification option chiropractors can

– Implement very easily
– Use to ‘pump up’ the patient volume
– Make a lot of money with

Having employed around 200 massage therapists (MTs) in my career, it’s safe to say I have a fair amount of experience at hiring, training and profiting from their efforts.

As well, adding massage as a profit center is something I have had a lot of interest in from chiropractic consulting clients. So with that said, let’s review 3 critical keys to follow if you want to make money with massage services.

1.  Make sure the MT is clear about their role. Before you add a new therapist to your staff, make sure they understand exactly what is expected of them. This will ensure you get maximum impact form their efforts and it holds them accountable to follow through since you discussed it with them and possibly even had them sign a document outlining their role.

For example, if you expect them to do promotional massages on prospective new patients at a reduced wage since it is building their clientele up as well then they should know that. If you expect them to canvass the surrounding areas to market the practice or work 2 Saturdays per month at outside marketing events you schedule, they should be told this up front.

Interestingly, it took me a while to realize that you are hiring much more than someone just to perform a mechanical service. By hiring a massage therapist you are hiring a marketing representative! That role just has to be precisely defined. Let them be the ones to bring you new business!

2.  Train them like crazy. I realize that’s a pretty general statement so let me specify what I mean because this is one of the top keys to my success with massage. Considering that a therapist has a patient on a table for typically 30 to 60 minutes during treatment, what they say while they are working their craft should be scripted and directed at building your practice, not just discussing their weekend. Is some small talk essential to build rapport? Definitely.

However, your MT must be trained (not just told but I’m talking role playing here) on what to say that will

– Heighten a patients awareness about the pain they have and the consequences of not getting it corrected
– Help a patient understand the treatment that will help correct it, i.e. chiropractic and massage
– Stress the importance of sticking with the prescribed treatment plan

This also holds true for chair massages given at events. Ten minutes is plenty of time to make a shift in how someone sees their pain and what their viable options are for getting it resolved.

3.  Get creative with how you utilize their services. Many chiropractors make the mistake of thinking that they will bring a massage therapist on board as an employee or independent contractor and it will just grow itself. The reality is that just like with chiropractic…this is not reality. Unless they are just renting space to offset some of your overhead, you have the responsibility of building up this arm of the services you provide.

Some ideas on how you can maximize the profits from your MT efforts include:

– VIP Massage Clubs where patients pay a monthly amount for access to the MT
– Using the MT as a chiropractic assistant so they can perform billable services in addition to private-pay massages
– Corporate massage at local businesses both in a free promotional capacity but also as a regularly scheduled service that employees (or employers) pay to receive

There’s little argument that adding massage can be not only an extremely valuable benefit to the level of care you provide to the patients, but if implemented and utilized optimally, it can also provide you with as much or even more profit than your chiropractic services do.

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