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In this Post: SMART BOOKING for massage therapists is a concept that allow you to maximize your schedule in the most efficient manner possible so that you can increase revenue. Read on to learn tips and tools to utilize time in your favor.
I want to introduce you to a concept I call “SMART BOOKING.” A system that allows you to maximize your working hours. I define SMART BOOKING as getting the most out of your schedule or booking in a manner that generates the most profit. This can be done whether you are a solopreneur or if you are running a practice with multiple practitioners.
During slower times of the year, you may get in the habit of haphazardly scheduling, and that may be okay during these quiet times. But when things get busy, these little “errors” can equate to large sums of time and money lost. And I’m willing to bet, that is the last thing you want!
SMART BOOKING for Massage Therapists
Here are the key components to SMART BOOKING for massage therapists. Some of the concepts will only apply to multi-therapist practices, while others are more universal. Take what works for you and leave the rest. These tips are also great to share with any reception team you have.
Minimize Gaps –
I generally book 75 minutes for every one-hour appointment. It is a huge pet peeve of mine when I see gaps in the schedule of 60 minutes, we can’t do anything with a gap of this nature. Whereas if the appointment had been pushed back or moved forward by 15 minutes, we may have been able to schedule a whole other massage in that time slot.
I also can’t stand to see 15 minutes breaks between appointments. A 15-minute break here and a 15-minute break there add up. And again, at the end of the day, they could equate to a whole other massage.
Consciously Schedule So That More Appointments Can Be Scheduled –
This has to do with gaps as well. An example of this would be; If John’s schedule starts at 2:00, and we book him a 3:00, he cannot be booked at 2:00, whereas if we had booked him at 3:15, we still could have filled his schedule with a 2:00. Make sense?
Sometimes gaps are unavoidable. If this is the case, make sure to utilize this time efficiently. Don’t waste it.
For more tips on this check out: Time Management For Your Workday
If You Have A Multi-Therapist Practice
Book Your Male Therapists First –
Because it is generally a little harder to book male therapists, if I have a client who has no gender preference, I book my male therapists before my female therapists. This leaves my female therapist open for more particular clients. I know that some markets don’t have this same issue, if gender requests aren’t a thing in your market that’s wonderful, ignore this bit.
For the rest of you check out: How To Book Male Therapists The Struggle Is Real
Book Your Least Requested Therapist First –
Now, I say this one with two caveats.
- Unless the therapist is new, there is probably a reason they have fewer requests. So, during slower times of the year, I like to book clients with the therapist who is going to allow my business to shine the brightest. The therapist who is going to get the client to rebook and rave about my business. However, I have a different strategy during high traffic times. During higher traffic times, I like to book the therapist who is least requested first because this allows my therapist who has more requests to remain available for such requests.
- If I am scheduling an appointment with a discerning client, I want to book them with the best therapist I have.
Book Your Therapist Who Blocks Themselves Off First –
In my business, I allow my therapists to block themselves off the schedule when they see fit, one of the benefits for them of being independent contractors. They can do so for doctor’s appointments, mental health days, or any other reason they so choose. Over time, I have realized that some therapists are more apt to take advantage of this right. So, during busy times of the year, I like to fill up these therapist’s schedules first so that I don’t lose them to some other time commitment. It may seem unfair to the therapists who are more consistently “on” the schedule, but during busy times of the year, when I am confident that everyone’s schedule will be filled, this helps ensure we have therapists available.
Indicate Requests At The Time Of Booking –
Make sure to indicate therapist requests. This way, if you want to move appointments around to maximize the schedule better later in the day, you can do so without fear of upsetting a client.
Book At The Beginning And End Of A Therapists Availability –
By scheduling at the beginning and end of shifts, you are maximizing the number of appointments this therapist can receive. For example; If we have a 10:00 request and I have three therapists on the schedule who all are available at 10:00, but only one starts at 10:00. I want to schedule the appointment with the therapist whose schedule starts at 10:00 because this allows me to leave the other therapists open for different time requests while maximizing the schedule of the person who starts at 10:00. Again, during slower times of the year, I don’t utilize this technique. Instead, I try to book the first person on the schedule so that bookings even out in an equitable manner.
Conversely, at the end of someone’s shift, in my business, I can book them right up until their shift ends. Meaning if someone requests a 3:00 and a therapist’s schedule ends at 4:00, I don’t have to book in turnover time. Whereas if I had a therapist who was on the schedule until 8:00, I would have to book in this turnover time. I want to book the appointment with the therapist who I don’t have to book the turnover time so that I can leave the other therapist’s schedule open for other requests.
Put It In Practice
Now obviously, the schedule is not always going to be perfect. Clients are going to have specific time requests that don’t fit into the SMART BOOKING protocol, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to utilize this system whenever possible.
Booking in this manner requires knowledge of the schedule and some strategical planning. Periodically during the day, I like to look at the schedule and map out in my mind how I would schedule appointments if someone were to call in that precise moment. This helps me be well thought out in my planning approach and think about the tricks I mentioned above in a calculated way.
Time is money people. The more we operate from a place of working smarter, not harder, the quicker we can build a thriving massage practice. And even though you probably got in to massage to help people and not for the money, it’s a heck of a lot easier to help people when you aren’t struggling financially! Do yourself a favor and start implementing these techniques today.
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008
- Fresh Out Of Massage SchoolPodcast Episode 052: Empowered Practitioner —a safety workshop for massage therapists
- PodcastPodcast Episode 051: The Neuroscience of Stress with Charlotte Roden
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