The first session with a new client is going great! You’ve spent more time on their back than intended (they requested more time on their low back when you asked) and now the comprehensive full body massage you had planned isn’t realistic in the time that’s left. Now what?
Having a general formula for a sixty-minute full body service helps with time management. Here’s mine:
- twenty-five minutes on the posterior neck, back, prone arms and hands
- fifteen minutes on the posterior hips, legs and feet
- twenty minutes for anterior legs, arms, and neck
This can be adjusted for the appointment length you work with. Give the option of scalp and face massage or more neck time. When a client requests more time in an area as you’re working, ask if there’s another area that can be skipped or addressed briefly. Usually there is, but on the rare occasion the answer is no, a new plan must be made.
We can’t make the clock move slower, so tell the client there may not be enough time this session to address everything thoroughly and ask if their priority is a full body massage or extended time on problem areas. Once you have that information, tell them how you think their goals can best be met in the time remaining. Most clients understand the constraints and are willing to compromise something in order to have their priorities taken care of. Ideally, we have an extra thirty minutes open after their appointment that we can offer to lengthen the session. 🙂
As I’m working, I do my best to stay present with what I’m doing throughout the massage. I’ve had some amazing breakthroughs working on auto pilot, but the time gets away from me. I also honor my scope of practice and don’t attempt to do things I’m not trained in (such as cracking a back). It’s not worth risking injury to myself or a client. If I’m faced with a request that I feel isn’t in the best interest of either of us, I explain why.
Give every client the full amount of time they booked provided you start on time. If you need a few more minutes to complete the treatment plan, tell them how long you’ll go over and ask if that works with their schedule. Even the best massage ever is quickly undermined when racing to another commitment afterward!
Upon conclusion of the session, thank them by name. I provide a towel for them to wipe off with (my mom suggested this when I was in school and I’ve been doing it ever since) and let them know about any obstacles nearby that they might run in to while getting up. Ask them to open the door when they’re ready and leave the room.
Being mindful of not fiddling with electronics when the client opens the door keeps the focus on them. My next post will cover post-massage instructions, collecting payment and (hopefully) booking their next appointment. Clear communication is key to having satisfied clients, who are the foundation of a practice that I love!
How do you manage time, accommodate requests and conclude your sessions? Please share your best practices in the comments. Thank you!
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