How to Be a Survivor in a Seasonal Business

For many massage therapists, work can be either feast or famine. In season, you have more clients than you know what to do with, but then the season ends and your schedule becomes bare. So, what is a massage therapist wanting to remain busy all year round to do?

Get out and about

What local events are happening in your area? Think about festivals, concerts, business to business meetings, sporting events or other occasions in your community. Invest in a booth and a sign with your logo to build your brand. Put yourself out into the community so people know who you are and who to call when they need a massage. Depending on the event, you might offer chair massage or Thai massage sessions on site or you may give a talk about the benefits of massage or how to treat a particular condition. Make sure to always bring your appointment calendar with you so you are able to schedule appointments on the fly. Don’t just give out your business card and hope that people will call you. Instead, get contact information from your prospective customers and you get in touch with them. You can consider doing a drawing to get contact information to build a permission-based email list. Make sure to get in touch with your prospective client as soon as you can, so you will still be fresh in their memory. Provide them with some valuable information or perhaps even a small free gift (calendar, a sample of oil or cream, a pen, etc.), so they will look forward to hearing from you in the future. Perhaps you will have a special offer to get them in the door. Stand out as the go-to expert massage therapist


Make a strategic partnership

Find another business in your community that serves the same type of client but in a different way. What is your niche? Strategic partners may include physicians such as a chiropractor or a podiatrist, sport-related businesses such as gyms, personal trainers, and fitness instructors and sporting good stores, or perhaps even hairdressers, estheticians and makeup artists and don’t forget about local stores such as a beauty supply business or a health food store. Who is your target market and what stores might they shop at? The idea is not to work for a partner, but instead share in your marketing efforts by cross-promoting your businesses.



Who doesn’t enjoy a special day? And thanks in part to some savvy marketers, there are a lot of them.  Aside from the obvious, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc., think about how you can do promotions for National Massage Week, National Spa Week, International Aromatherapy Week, or Global Wellness Day. Did you know that National Popcorn Day is January 19 – Pop on in for a massage and free popcorn! You are only limited by your imagination.  Don’t keep the celebrate a secret. Promote it!


Create urgency

No better way to create excitement than with a limited special offer. Do all the snowbirds leave for the summer? How about a “limited time only” price on a new service that you want to try out? What about a Christmas in July discount on a package or product that expires in August? Let your year-round clients know that they are special and pull some clients who you haven’t seen for a while out of hiding.


Go where the season takes you

If your lifestyle allows you, why not follow the weather? How many times has a seasonal client told you they wished they could take you with them? Maybe it’s time to take up some of those offers. Make sure to check the rules for licensure for where you want to travel. It might be easier than you think.


Take a break yourself

Of course, you could always use your offseason to take a break yourself. All work and no play makes life very boring. You work hard and you do deserve some downtime.  Why not consider a massage education vacation? Learn some income-producing skills and have a great adventure while doing it!


Return to a fully booked schedule!

Whether you follow the season or travel the world, after enjoying the change of pace, you are sure to come back refreshed and excited to get back to work. Let your regular clientele know that you are taking a little sabbatical and allow them to reserve the times they want in advance for when you get back.  You will set yourself up for a win by already being booked.

Depending on how busy your practice is, you could consider a virtual assistant who can accept calls and keep your schedule for you while you are away. At least make sure to leave a message on your business voicemail and automate an email response letting clients know that you are out of town and when you will return. If available, direct them to an online scheduling system so you don’t risk losing the appointment. If you have another therapist you work with, you can have someone cover your schedule.


One of the great things about being a massage therapist is that you can choose how much or how little you work. Sometimes it does take a little bit of effort to build an “evergreen” client base but with knowledge and determination, you can stay busy all year around. Of course, make sure to schedule yourself a little downtime to learn, to plan and of course, to get a massage!