Wishing a healthy and prosperous 2017 to everyone. Posting this in the Edmonton thread as there are no signs of life on the Calgary thread. Been enjoying the massage side of things for a very long time. Mostly the therapeutic massage 'with added potential' field, not the full service spas with fixed menus. Hopefully, some owners and therapists read these forums from time to time, as most of the helpful tips that I've jotted down may be useful to build a stronger business. As clients, feel free to add to this list: 1. Massage skills and a desire to truly Work on a client. It’s not about the 2200 or 3000 hrs of training, but a true desire to provide good massages tailored to each client’s need. Being flexible and listening to what the client might have to say and being able to read the body (yes, some have it intuitively, and others gain it through experience when they really want to learn). For massage place owners, you need to keep these employees happy – this means sharing at least 50% of the hourly rate. Greedy owners = poor therapists with no incentive for anything other than quick services for tips = unhappy, non-repeat clients. 2. Ambience – Clean, Warm rooms. Absolutely clean Showers and Bathrooms. Yes, showers should be attended to after each use. Clean sheets and towels, no short cuts. The towels don’t have to be from the Fairmont, but please replace the ones that are falling apart – no client wants to walk away with their clothes covered in lint. And, we do see if the sheets on the massage table are not fresh. And some peace and quiet, calm music is good. 3. Communication – bookings, walk-ins etc. need to be managed like a professional business. Therapist running out of the room throughout a massage or answering phone/cell, texting during massages – A NO NO. Clients need to get a lot more firm on these practices. I am not afraid to let a therapist know in advance that I do not accept such distractions and if this time-frame is not suitable for focused service, please book me another time. Guys, have some spine, it’s your money. To owners, NO yelling at therapists through the wall, please, unless you don’t want future business. This might be a cultural thing, but get over it. Owners – you are responsible for managing a good booking system, where each client gets their appropriate time without being rushed. Clients – we need to respect our appointments, or modify them well in advance. Owners should simply blacklist tardy clients. 4. Tipping – is a personal thing, whether it is for the massage only, or for other benefits. I prefer non menu driven therapists, where the relationship evolves in a YMMV fashion and tipping evolves accordingly. The therapists that last the longest (years, not days or weeks) at a place with a good owner usually know how to evolve the interactions with individual clients. At good places, neither the owner, nor the therapists are out to make a killing in a very short time – their business is built like a recession proof annuity. Where there is consistent value, clients will always return, even if they went elsewhere, tried other places, now and then. Owners need to set the boundaries for services at their place, and the therapists need to find their comfort zone within those boundaries on a client by client basis. 5. Appearance, Dress etc. – This is where individual therapists can enhance their value proposition. Most of us clients are men, most therapists are women. As a client, I make an effort to show up clean and as fresh as I can. We know that many of the therapists work long hours. But professionals in any field figure out ways to step out looking the best possible. Therapists who make some effort to freshen themselves through the day, maybe some lipstick, light fragrance, a change in dress etc. can increase their earning power in my opinion. It’s about the total experience. One of my all-time favourite therapists (yes, a real RMT now moved on to another phase of life) used to wear pleasing dresses or skirts. But she always wore something more provocative underneath that would make the experience more memorable as a 90 minutes massage progressed. Yes, it is possible to combine a serious massage with some additional pleasures. Smart Owners can encourage the development of certain therapists over time. 6. More Communication. Smart owners and therapists will gain permission from ‘good’ clients to send them text messages from time to time. When an owner knows the type of massage and therapists a client likes, they can then send out a message to some clients when a new therapist joins. They can also ask for some general feedback as in whether the experience was great or not (no need for a lot of details). One owner I know likes me to try out a new therapist, but if the massage is not that great, she offers me a good discount on my next massage. Perfect. I am always there to try out a new therapist. 7. Clients. Good Owners figure out how to get good clients to repeat often, even if they do visit other places. Good clients are respectful of the therapists, respectful of appointment times, careful in their approach to posting reviews, and should be treated as special guests. As clients, we need to understand what to keep private and what to disclose in an open review, especially if it is a good place with good therapists, with a good owner. As clients, let's direct more of our dollars to good businesses with good owners and therapists, be respectful while not putting up with the crap from crappy places and crappy owners. Cheers.