One of the most common questions I get asked is “Do you make more money with massage and acupuncture being part of your business?” The very simple answer to that is no; and no-matter what combination of how much you charge for massage, charge for floats and pay your practitioners, float rooms will almost always make more money than a massage, acupuncture etc. That being said, it’s still really fun to play around with the numbers while you are trying to figure out potential income for your business.
Use the section below to do an analysis on the income differences based on what you could offer at your float center (or already do!). This spreadsheet is actually a lot of fun to play with for general income analysis as well, so please feel free to use it to match your needs and curiosity.
|Days open per week
Float tank income calculator
|Number of float tanks
|Number of floats per day per tank
|Price per float
|Monthly income from float tanks
Massage income calculator
|Pay for practitioner
|Massages per day per room
|Consider how many massages a day your practitioners can healthfully perform and break times between massages.
|Monthly income from massages
|Monthly income from float tanks and massages
Why Have Additional Modalities? (Short Term)
No matter how you look at it, a massage room will earn less money than a float room. Then why would you possibly want to do anything other than floating?
For most float center owners, their interests and passions lay beyond float tanks. Most people who start their own business aren't it it just for the money; they opened a business to fulfill a need of feeding their own passions, and adding other modalities will add a dynamic to your float center than you as well as your clients may enjoy.
Increasing overall wellness of your clients.
By creating a wellness center, you will be able to offer a more dynamic and balanced approach to their health and well being. We have found clients really enjoy being able to show up to one location and receive multiple health treatments in one trip. We also find many clients will only have massages during some visits and floats at other times.
Room size is another great reason. If you have a room that is too small for a float tank, it may be the perfect size for a massage table or other modality. Originally we planned on having four float tanks in our business, but we had difficulty figuring out the layout of our fourth room. In the end (for now) we decided to have 3 float tanks based on the size of the rooms in our space (along with enjoying offering other services). Another simple reason can be that if you can't afford the remodel of another room for floating, you can cheaply offer a different modality.
The synergy that occurs with a client's wellness also extends to your business's income. A client could be spending money on a single float at your center or they could be spending money on a float and then a massage. The more you offer, the more potential there is for clients to spend additional money per visit.
If there is already a float center in your area (or multiple), it will be important for you to offer something that differentiates yourself with potential clients. You can compete directly with float tanks, but by offering something different, potential clients will be able to immediately see the advantages of your center. You will also be appealing to a broader market (those who may not want to float) as well as a more specific niche market (those who prefer to have a float coupled with another modality).
Why Have Additional Modalities? (Long Term)Even if there aren't obvious immediate financial benefits to having other modalities, over time it is possible for your float and wellness center to have long term financial advantages over relying on just float tanks. The first advantage is something both good for the soul and something that has financial benefits. By having your staff and practitioners in house, you are able to develop stronger connections with clients and create a strong sense of community within your walls. This means that they will spend more time in your location and are more likely to come back.
Often times massage therapists will have their clients on a regimen. Whether the visits are monthly or weekly, practitioners have a strong ability to recommend repeat visits if it will help their client. The benefits of repeat float visits is something that can be mentioned by float center staff, but generally it will not have the same weight as a licensed body worker's recommendation.
Practitioners are also another great source for word of mouth advertising. All of our massage practitioners love floating, so it is very natural for them to talk about floating to their clients. We don't ask our practitioners to recommend floating to clients, but often times it simply comes up in conversation by the client's natural curiosity.
This last paragraph isn’t my favorite to talk about, but the more legs a table has, the more stable it will be if one or more of them are taken away. I hope that it never happens, but if the excitement of floating fades, float centers are going to be in a tough spot to attract customers and/or reinvent themselves. By offering multiple modalities under your businesses umbrella, you could be setting yourself up for an easier transition if interest in floating wanes.
Technical How To: Scheduling
From the very beginning we have not allowed scheduling online for any modality other than floats. If you book a float combo, it needs to be done over the phone. The reasoning for this is that we have found it to be complicated for our staff (and ourselves included) to consistently make sure appointments are set up so that their experience is perfect while they are here.
For example, a lot of the time people think that having a 90 minute float means you will be leaving 90 minutes after arriving. It often times needs to be explained that it is actually about a two hour block of time that you will be visiting the float center itself.
It is also important that scheduling enable someone to leave their first experience, and immediately step into their next experience. If there is too much down time, people tend to get antsy and feel like they are wasting time (yes, I see the irony in this!).
As covered earlier, you can feel free to book modalities before or after a float, there are advantages to both. Because of this, if you only have one tank or one extra modality space, a couple can still come in and have a 'date experience'. For example, one person can have a float and then a massage, while the other has a massage and then float.
We have also found that if you offer an individual more than two modalities within the same visit, it is very pleasant to give them a break during the all day experience. We provide a small meal for our clients between their 2nd and 3rd sessions (just be sure to ask in advance about any food allergies etc!).
Technical How To: In Action
Now that we've covered the scheduling and behind the scenes work, let take a look at what it should look like for the customer while they are visiting your space.
I recommend completely covering any educational information before the client actually begins their experience. If it is their first time floating, even if they are having a massage first, walk them through the intro of floating beforehand. You can let them know you will give them a short review before the actual float, but covering everything about floating right after a relaxing massage can take away from the experience the client is having.
Similarly, all paperwork should be filled out before the client begins their experience. We have many cases of clients unable to remember the date, their address etc after a float, so filling out their massage intake form simply works best while they are still clear-headed.
We have also found (through trial and error) that clients have a much better experience if they know what their day is going to look like. For example, If they are empowered by knowing where they are going to go after their float and how long it will be before their massage starts, they will be much more comfortable and stay in their relaxed state.
Consider undressing for a float, redressing afterwards, undressing for a massage, redressing afterwards, and things start to seem rather tedious. This is why we recommend having a robe, slippers and a tote bag included for anyone who will be experiencing multiple modalities. A robe and slippers means an easy dressing experience (and who doesn't love hanging out in a robe?). The tote bag is a great way to hold all your clothes, shoes etc easily while you walk around. We let clients know that they can leave the bag in the room or take it with them, we will make sure it ends up in the right place at the right time for them to redress.
Although not possible in every space, having a relaxing area to wait in between modalities separate from your main lobby is ideal for clients comfort. We have a 'zen room' that has a large foot bath for any visitor to soak their feet. This is a great space for clients to maintain their relaxed and vulnerable state, and not have to be ready to interact with strangers.
Despite the many benefits, offering multiple modalities at your center is not all sunshine and roses! There are plenty of challenges that come along with all the benefits. Before making the decision to branch out beyond floats, the following should be considered.
As noted before, float rooms tend to be more lucrative than rooms used for any other capacity, so it is possible that you will be sacrificing income in offering various services.
Marketing can be challenging as well. If you have multiple offerings, you have a lot more legwork to do in terms of educating potential clients on your various modalities. If all you offer are floats, you can become very good at covering exactly that one thing. If you have multiple offerings, you will need to cover floating, massage, acupuncture, counseling, and how they all pair well with floating and with each other. This can make any conversation or advertisement much more complicated.
Training staff becomes similarly more complicated. Each modality means more training not just on that service, but in how that service couples with others, how scheduling works, how introductions to clients flow etc.
Because of the increased complexity that is associated with having multiple offerings, there is also naturally a larger chance for error throughout the entire process. This means you have more opportunities for dropping the ball and delivering less that the perfect experience to your clients.