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  • Why Your Massage Therapist Doesn’t Take Walk-Ins

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    Note: Massage therapists come in all genders but I’m going to use female pronouns because I’m female, even though I’m trying to speak for most massage therapists.

    Don’t You Hate When This Happens?

    You’ve been meaning to schedule a massage, but haven’t gotten around to it. Suddenly you come into some unexpected money or free time, but your massage therapist’s front door is locked when you drop in to see if she can fit you in.

    You drop in to your massage therapist’s office to buy a last minute gift certificate, but she’s not available to sell you one.

    You call your therapist to see if she can get you in later that day, but she says she doesn’t have any openings.

    You try to book an appointment on your massage therapist’s online scheduler, but there aren’t any openings. When you try to call, it rings several times and goes to voicemail. You don’t leave a message because you decide to text her instead. You wait 20 minutes but she doesn’t reply so you make plans to go do something else. Once you’re out, she replies to tell you that she’s booked for the day.

    You go on vacation and you’re outdoor plans get rained out so you decide to get a massage. You call 5 therapists and none of them can fit you in that day.

    What gives? Isn’t she a business? Doesn’t she want your money?

    Yes. We Want Your Business.

    There are many reasons why you’re massage therapist won’t take walk-ins, but I’m only going to give you the most common ones. Because you’re a good person, I’m sure a couple of them may not have occurred to you.

    • Her business is a one-woman show – As chief cook and bottle washer, she has to find time to see as many clients as she can, do all the administrative and bookkeeping tasks, make sure there are enough supplies on hand, get to the bank to make deposits, and run other business related errands. Sometimes, she decides to do one of those things when she has an open spot on her schedule. If you show up while she’s running an errand, she won’t be there.
    • Money – We can’t afford to pay someone to sit at a desk and field a few phone calls each day and sell the odd last minute gift certificate.
    • Her business is a one-room business – Many of us have one room in which we do everything: answer phone, reply to emails, accounting, book appointments, update client charts after each session, and perform massage. Taking walk-ins would mean someone potentially walking in to the office during YOUR massage. Egads. Having a receptionist would mean having someone else in the room working and answering the phone while you get your massage. I can’t imagine.
    • We want to avoid seeing perverts – It’s rare that someone who’s looking for something sexual is willing to wait until the next day. This is one of the main reasons that many therapists have a no-walk in policy, or at least won’t see new clients the same day. We’d rather be safe and lose a potential client, than end up sexually assaulted or dead. Yes. It really is that serious and that prevalent. Still. *Sigh* We wish it wasn’t. Believe me. But every time we answer the phone and some guy is on the other end asking us for an appointment today, with a voice that sounds all husky and breathy like he’s been spending some time on a few adult internet sites, we’re reminded that we really do value our safety.
    • We want to avoid “high-maintenance” type clients – This may sound judgmental, but hear me out. High maintenance clients are typically a pain in the backside. They want in NOW. They want to come in before we open or after we close and can’t understand why we won’t. (There’s a separate post about this coming in a couple weeks.) They want a discount. They have a knack for pushing every boundary we have and a few we didn’t know we needed to have. For this reason, some therapists make it a policy to not take any same day appointments, even from established clients (cause if you make an exception for one…)
    • We’re just that busy – Many therapists book out a week or more. That means they have a full schedule every day unless someone cancels at the last minute or doesn’t show up. Be glad you have a therapist who’s so good they’re in high demand.

    Ultimately the decision to not take walk-ins is mostly about money, space, time, safety, and boundaries.

    In addition to those considerations, many of us are located inside an office building and therefore don’t have a “store front” type business. This means that people are not going to be walking by and think, “Hey. Massage. That’s a great idea.  Think I’ll see if they have an opening right now.” Unless they are visiting another business in our building, people must make a deliberate attempt to come to our office; therefore impulse walk-ins are unlikely to occur.

    So, like it or not, those are the top reasons that massage therapists cite as to why they don’t take walk-ins. Now you know.

    On the upside, most of us offer scheduling and gift certificate purchases online to help reduce your need to drop in unexpectedly.