After talking to multiple massage therapists and being immersed in the online massage community, I have come to realise that inappropriate behaviour by clients is one of the biggest points of frustration massage therapists have.

I’m guessing you didn’t dedicate months and years of your life to learning about how the body works and how to bring people relief just to have people insult you with illegitimate requests.

As much as I’d like to wave a magic wand and make it all go away, I’m not experienced in the art of wizardry so that won’t be possible. But what I can do is give you a couple of tips that will help you increase your professional image so that you get the clients you deserve.

1. It’s all about the image

The first step to improving your professional image is to realise that despite how shallow it seems, people do judge a book based on its cover. If its cover is unkempt and unprofessional, it will attract unkempt and unprofessional people. But if its cover is polished and the pages are high quality, only people with similar values will read the book.

It can be easy to get lots of people into your doors, but the ones you want are the ones who need your services and are happy to pay for them. Projecting professionalism can help you get rid of the tire kickers and sleazy clients so that you get the customers you deserve.

2. Be found online

Being available online gives you control over the way people find your business. You can specify the services you offer and what your conditions your therapy helps. You can give people an overview of your services using pictures of professional massage so that there’s no doubt in a customers’ mind as to what you’re offering.

You could even describe HOW what you do helps. Not only will this deter those looking for less noble services, it will enlighten your potential customers, who most likely know little about massage, as to how you can help.

3. Don’t get customers to text you

This is where it can get too personal too fast. Getting people to text you to make an appointment before you know them removes the professionalism too quickly. If you have to text someone, do so only to send them to your online booking page so that they can make their appointment.

I’ll just leave this image here as an example of why it can be a bad idea to text clients. This image was originally shared on the Massage Therapists group on Facebook as an experience someone had with an unruly client.

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4. Get clients to pay when they make their appointment

As per the image above, get people to pay before they make their appointment with you. Make your policies clear on your website, and then lead them to the booking page. After the customer has selected an appointment time, you can ask them to pay you up front.

If they don’t adhere to your rules, such as not showing up or acting inappropriately, you don’t lose out on a spot that could have been used for a paying customer. This will also help to weed out the customers who aren’t serious.

5. Reminders

Automatic SMS or email reminders just before an appointment will not only give people a heads up that they have an appointment coming up, it’ll reinforce your professionalism. It’s part of the experience you treat your clients to. It will feel like you’re pulling out all the stops, because that’s what you do as a professional massage therapist, and it won’t actually cost you that much – less than 10 cents a message in most countries.

A reminder about reminders: don’t use “text speak.” Keep the message short and to the point, and you won’t need to use many characters. And make sure you use a service that reminds clients automatically so you don’t have to. Timely can do this for you at a cost-effective rate.

6. First impressions count

Once your customer has gone through the process of finding you, making their appointment, and getting reminded, they’ll finally meet you face to face. Here’s where it’s important to give them a professional first impression, as it sets the scene for the whole encounter. If you have any reservations, go over your ground rules before the appointment begins. It might be a bit uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as, well, you know what!


In the massage industry, your reputation will often precede you. Once someone hears about how professional and effective you are as a massage therapist, word will spread and you’ll begin to get clients who treat you like you should be; with respect.

It shouldn’t have to be a struggle or take any extra time to maintain your image of high standards at all times, because that’s where tools like Timely come in. At $19 a month, Timely will give you a website, manage your bookings, process payments before or after appointments, remind clients about bookings, and allow you to follow up on them. It takes care of a lot of the day to day admin stuff so you can focus on what you do: provide relief and relaxation to your clients. Try it today, free for 30 days!