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Is Your One Hour Really An Hour?

July 24, 2013

I had new client come in yesterday for a pedicure. We had a really great conversation, she loved her nails and re-booked in 4 weeks. Part of our conversation intrigued me and I talked it over with some other clients and another therapist that I work with. We were discussing 50 minute massages as opposed to true one hour, 60 minute massages.

I personally have always done 60 minute massages. I once, for less then three weeks, worked at a spa that did 50 minute massages. I hated it. That wasn’t the only reason I left, but definitely contributed. 50 minutes makes me feel rushed, which then makes the massage feel unfinished. I just don’t like it. Those 10 extra minutes that round out the hour are so important. Whenever I book a massage at another spa it is the first thing that I check. If they do 50 minute massages, they probably also do 80 minutes instead of 90. Sometimes I’ll then just book a 80 minute massage, but I still don’t like it.

The reasoning for doing 20, 50, 80 or even 110 minute massages is so the spa can book on the hour and half hour. Makes scheduling consistent and then gives the therapist 10 minutes between clients to set up and get great ready for the next one. I get the concept, and in a high volume spa it’s very necessary, and a lot of the time the therapists are also getting paid an hourly wage if they aren’t booked with a client. It’s efficient to run the spa that way, especially when you have clients booking massages, body scrubs, body wraps and facials in the same day. I’m still not crazy about the shortened hour because I’m usually still paying a premium price.

As the therapist, I need those additional 10 minutes. Massages feel unfinished, facials are rushed, body wraps didn’t stay wrapped long enough. I schedule my appointments with 15 minutes between (except for waxes, I’ll stack those on top of each other). I like having 15 minutes to clean up my room, prepare for the next client, return phone calls and eat, take a bathroom break or just sit for a moment. Plus, I have clients who book with me simply because they get an hour. Their dollar goes farther. Their time is valuable. They know that I have time to work their should/knee/arm longer. I don’t have to rush. With that said, I know other independent therapists who book on the hour because it maximizes their time. A friend of mine says that her massages end up being between 45-50 minutes. If that works for her and her business then good for her. It doesn’t work for me because I don’t like it. I tend to base my own procedures, product usage and timing off what I have experienced and what I like. I enjoy sharing that with my client. They like that I don’t use products on them that I wouldn’t use on myself. They like the quality of their services, and they love that an hour is an hour. I don’t rush, I don’t take walk-ins, and I don’t skimp. And I don’t like going to places that make me feel shorted. I always check to see how much time is allowed for treatments and I do always ask about product lines. Always ask! Some spas do cheaper or “lunch time” specials because they are using cheaper products, always ask and know what you are paying for. Find out why it’s a deal!

I always suggest looking for therapists who are independents as opposed to the big salons and spas. Usually you can find people who are using top quality products who have the ability to spend personalized time with you. These are people you can build life long relationships with. Not to say that you can’t at a large spa, just know what you’re comfortable with and what type of service you prefer and expect to receive.

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From → Massage, My work

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