Starting out in 2013 with a few regular home visit clients and the boot of my car that didn’t fit a massage couch unless all the seats were down, I knew I needed a “space” from which to work.  Space to grow my business and not send too much of my time driving (there was a low point that sped up the decision).

When you are just starting out in your therapy business, and don’t have the space at home to see clients, it can be hard to work out the best place for you. Do you work at a clinic as an employee or contractor or do you rent a space or do you grow a mobile therapy business?

Here are the benefits and challenges of each to help you get clarity on where to go next in your business.

Home visits

It sounds simple; you pack your car with the items you need, zip from one client to the next with no rental fees and no need to worry about the tidiness of your home space.

 

Benefits

If you like driving this can be fun; you spend your time on the road, get to visit clients in their own home and have little in the way of overheads.

You can charge your travel time on top of your client time – I suggest you do this to cover your time and travel costs as they soon add up.

This WAS me travelling with my couch!

mobile massage london

 

Challenges

If you need to take a therapy couch to your client, remember they are heavy! If you live in London, there is quite a high possibility that you will be lugging your 16kg couch up at least

one flight of stairs a day. After a while this can take a toll on your body.

You plan your day of clients and travel and then the middle one cancels; what do you do? Do you sit in your car and use your phone to catch up on admin, head to a coffee shop and spend money to sit somewhere to work? I’ll let you in a little secret – I had a low point of home visits when I started out. I had a cancellation due to sickness and I was so tired this day and was too far from home to go back, I had a snooze on the back seat of the car. This was the instant realisation that something needed to change!

Time in the car is wasted time. After the ‘low point’ I tallied up the hours I was driving a week – it was nearly 12 hours!! That time could have been spent on more productive tasks that would grow my business, not spent spending money on petrol and car maintenance stuck in traffic.

Contracting at a clinic

sports massage contractor

This is a really common option in clinics where therapist and clinic owners have a percentage split on paying clients.

Benefits

This is a good option when you are literally just starting and can supplement your income with something more stable. You can learn about running a business as you go and you can learn from other therapists in the practice.

Challenges

It is often a gig economy job where you are an employee but without any of the benefits of being an employee. If you are busy then that is great, but as soon as the clinic becomes quieter or you take a break, your income drops dramatically.  Over the year your earning potential is a lot less.

You are reliant on another party for your income. Working as a contractor means you are reliant on the clinic to provide you with clients. Even though you can market yourself, as a contractor it may feel as if the clinic should be doing most of the marketing for the percentage they take per paying client. Essentially, you are self-employed but without any real control of your income.

I was a contractor when I first qualified and was working full time at the same time. It was perfect at the time as I didn’t need to worry about income.  I worked with a huge variety of clients so learnt so much! After leaving my full time job to work on this permanently, I gradually reduced my contractor work as my earning potential was greater focusing on my own client base.

Working from Home

This is ideal if you have the space at home. Some therapists have a spare room, or an outhouse for their work and the costs are quite small compared to renting.

Benefits

You don’t need to leave your house to work. This saves time, energy and money. The space can be made exactly how you like it!

 Challenges

Keeping a tidy house! You want your house to be a reflection of the service you provide – make sure you invest in a good cleaner to keep your house looking great so you can focus on the business work.

 

This is the home clinic of my colleague Jo Warboys and her home space is fabulous! She tweaks her lounge at the start of the day for clinic and takes 5 minutes to pack away at the end of her day!

home massage clinic

Bricks and Mortar  – your own clinic

You may have the best idea and want to take a shop front business and take over the market in your area. This maybe a step for you in the long term but it has the highest risk in therapy businesses.

Benefits

You can have a shop front business and scale a business up with ease.

Challenges

Expenses! With a shop front you have the costs of your lease, business rates, utilities etc etc. The list goes on so your business needs to be turning over a decent amount of income to cover this and make a healthy profit. There are always hidden costs (e.g. if the boiler breaks down!).

More often than not you’ll have to sign a long term lease. With a premises lease, the length of time is usually 2 plus years.  If you have a solid business, taking it to the next level this can be a good step, but if you have just a handful of clients a week, this can be a huge risk.

Room Rental

Renting a room in an already established therapy space is often the best of many worlds. You have a space to work from but you aren’t in charge of all the expenditure of a lease and is a great option to work alongside other therapists and get out of the house.

therapy room to rent

Benefits

Your expense is only your rental expense. You have no utilities fees etc and most clinics will support with laundry etc so you can focus on doing the work you love.

Some spaces will lease by the hour, block of hours or daily so there is often flexibility to suit you.

Most contracts are short term contracts. The most common is between 3-9 months as an initial contract so it gives you more flexibility.

 Treatment room to rent north londonChallenges

You need to put yourself out there to build your client base to ensure you make a profit after you pay rent. Sitting around and waiting for clients to walk in needing your services are rare occasions so you need to treat is as your own business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many options for therapists, and it is best to choose the one that suits you perfectly. For me, I work in spaces and rent rooms; I don’t have space at home for clients and I like working within a purpose built space, but everyone is different!

If you want to know more about Therapy Room Rental in Finchley, check out our room rental page here!