…you own 22 pairs of nail clippers and 1,684 nail files…and they are scattered in every room in your home, every bag you own and every compartment of your car. You know they are there…somewhere…
…stairs are your mortal enemy.
…you have learned Zen and the Art of Not Flipping Jerky Drivers off on the Freeway…because, you know, your car has your phone number on it now.
…you know where the handicap accessible entrances are in every large building in your town.
…people in elevators have pointed at your table/cart and asked you why you brought a bed with you to the hotel.
…you’ve done a massage while someone held their dog/cat/infant daughter on their stomach for the entire session.
…you bring your massage table car shopping…and station wagons start looking like mighty fine rides.
…you get asked at least twice a week if you are creeped out by going to stranger’s houses.
…your other cup holder has been known to tote a backup bottle of massage oil.
…you’ve been amazed at how many people don’t know their own building number or gate code.
…you have come up with at least 4 alternative designs for your massage table cart, all while walking some distance with it. You’ve never fabricated any of them, but you can dream.
…you’ve had recurring dreams of being stuck in traffic while your poor client waits for you across town.
…when someone complains about how long it takes to drive somewhere, you bite your tongue and smile.
…you’ve ever forgotten your table cart, and the stretch of hotel from the parking area to the guest elevators might as well be the Sahara Desert.
…you carried it all the whole way anyway, and regretted it later.
…to you, your client’s cute yard ornaments look more like an obstacle course, complete with booby traps.
…and last but not least, though this might be a southwest LMT exclusive… you might be a mobile massage therapist if your massage table has ever gotten snagged on a cactus.
Thank you, and good night!
Please feel free to add more mobile massage specific ones below!
- Thou shalt: not be afraid of thy clients, as most of them are normal, harmless individuals and perfectly lovely people. Being prepared for a bad client is not bad juju, negative thinking, or paranoid. It is simply cultivating the tools you need to go into a potentially dangerous situation confidently so that you and your client are both at ease.
- Thou shalt: understand that most people seeking sexual services are not violent, and can be avoided with clear communication.
- Thou shalt: understand that de-escalation and removal of oneself from any dangerous situation is the first goal.
- Thou shalt: understand the predatory mindset, and realize that most victimizers go after easy prey so projecting steady confidence may be an effective deterrent.
- Thou shalt: always inform a colleague, friend or family member (exit buddy) of where they are, and when they will be checking in. In addition, always have detailed instructions for the exit buddy in the event no call/text is received. (How soon to call, when a 911 call is appropriate, etc) and consider making two safety calls: one when the service has concluded and one when safely in his/her vehicle. If texting, thou shalt consider including a specific code word or phrase to verify identity. It may not be a bad idea to delete these text messages immediately after they are sent.
- Thou shalt: feel comfortable with screening clients thoroughly and not be afraid to ask over the phone: “Just to be clear, are you seeking sexual services?” if you have a feeling they are. If asked such a direct question in a polite manner, most creepers will either hang up or say “Yes”…at which time you can politely let them know you don’t perform those services and to have a good day, then hang up. Do not be rude or scold…that is simply feeding the troll and may result in some unwanted flak. Firm, yet polite, is the best policy I’ve found to avoid harassment. You are not condoning their behavior, you are simply refusing to engage with them. and there is nothing wrong with that.
- Thou shalt: get all pertinent details about thy client at the time of booking and NEVER be afraid to refuse service at the risk of offending someone, when thy personal safety is an issue. Pertinent details include: First and last name, phone number, address, name of community (if any), gate code (if any), service length and type.
- Thou shalt: feel comfortable both googling a client and mapping the address ahead of time on google maps to verify the location if they have any apprehension.
- Thou shalt: not accept wishy washy crap from anyone when booking and shalt not be afraid to say the word “No.”. Examples of wishy washy crap include:
Q: Can I decide how long my massage will be when you get here
A: No, I need to know how long your appointment will be ahead of time so I can schedule other appointments that day.
Q: Can I decide what type of massage to get when you get here?
A: No, I need to make sure I bring the right supplies for the service…which ones were you trying to decide between?
Q: Can you met me in the hotel lobby?
A: No, I check in at the security desk before and after each appointment and they need to know where I am in the hotel for security purposes.
- Thou shalt: create or obtain and use a written client intake form including an informed consent specifically stating that sexual innuendo is not tolerated and will result in the termination of the session without a refund.
- Thou shalt: be aware of thy surroundings, including other people in the space, exits, and possible red flags. If thou shalt spy visible condoms, an envelope marked gift, or any other sexual paraphernalia thou shalt resist the urge to become visibly indignant and leave as quickly as possible.
- Thou shalt: never enter a dark room in front of a new client or turn thy back on a new client.
- Thou shalt: consider obtaining training in self defense, including but not limited to: martial arts, verbal judo, and firearms or other weapons training including (very importantly) weapon retention. Thou shalt understand all local laws and that in close quarters and without proper training, an attacker is much more likely to disarm you and use your weapon against you.
- Thou shalt: consider carrying non lethal personal safety devices such as high quality personal alarms and pepper spray. Thou shalt understand local laws regarding these devices and substances.
- Thou shalt: understand that avoidance is a form of self defense. The goal is to be prepared for any bad situation that arises, but above all else to avoid putting oneself in a dangerous situation in the first place. Trust your instincts.
You could always bring him with you…but that may be just a tad off-putting.
Article by Butch Watson of MassageCop.com
Interview with Butch Watson on The MassageNerd show
Massage Magazine Reader Advice
Please note: all content provided on this blog post is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for training or legal advice. The author will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The author will not be held liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
I have had the conversation sooo many times. I am at a networking event or a conference and when asked where I work I say:
“Oh, I run a mobile massage business”.
Then I see their eyes glaze over and a sort of grimace presents itself. Inevitably some form of the following comes out:
“Oh, I have always wanted to do that but I am just too afraid of the creeps.” or
“Isn’t it weird going into people’s houses?” or
“Aren’t you scared going into people’s houses?”
My answer? No, not weird. No, I enjoy going to people’s houses. Yes, creeps exist and I avoid them. Yadda yadda yadda.
The truth is, aside from dissuading the creeps (not as hard as you think) the hardest part of my job is convincing perfectly normal people that they can trust me, and feel comfortable with me in their homes.(Ok, and yes, lugging the table) Having had locations before, I can tell you firsthand that converting an incall client to an outcall client is akin to alchemy. So if you figure out that magic formula, puh-lease contact me.
Here are 10 tips, aside from your nurturing and healing skills, that can help you help them to have a comfortable session.
- Call it a “mobile massage” and your business a “mobile massage” or “mobile spa” business. In many parts of the country the word “outcall” is closely associated with the adult entertainment industry; specifically strippers, escorts and prostitutes. While not imperative, using different terminology is an easy way to distance yourself from that industry.
- Have a clear, concise website. Provide as much detail as you can about individual services and have a long list of Frequently Asked Questions about how the service will unfold.
What can I expect during my first session?
How do I book an appointment?
and even the dreaded
Does your service come with a happy ending?
Saying it on your website may seem cheap…but it is worth it for every phone call you don’t get. It gives some of your clientele something to laugh at and functions as an icebreaker. It may put off a few people, but it will put even more people at ease. You must become comfortable with this language to help make them comfortable with it.
- Be sure to lead the phone conversation, and allow them to tell a little bit of their story. There is plenty of time to get to know them before and during your session of course, but people like to get a sense of you before you come into their home. Don’t be afraid to laugh a little. I have noticed that initial calls for outcall appointments in general last a little longer than phone calls for incall appointments. Establishing your new client as a “warm contact” before going to their home helps to calm their jitters.
- When they answer the door, this is your golden moment. Put down your equipment, take a deep breath, and then ring the bell. Make sure to greet them with a warm smile, great eye contact and a firm, friendly handshake. Use their name and let them know it is nice to meet them.
- Make sure to have them fill out a health intake form, even if they only want relaxation massage. I feel 1 page, front and back (at most) is sufficient without making the client feel overly burdened with paperwork. Have it on a clipboard for them to fill it out with, just in case they don’t have a hard surface handy in the room you set up in. This further establishes you as a wellness professional and gives them something to occupy their hands while you are setting up.
- Presentation is very important. Your equipment should of course be clean and in good repair – but ideally everything should also be very visually appealing. I work with all black equipment and electronics, that way everything matches. Anything you aren’t using should be folded or stored neatly and set aside all together in a non obtrusive manner. I usually store my table case and anything else I am not using folded on top of my table cart. Set up your table first, and then place your neatly folded sheets on the table. Proceed to set up anything else (for instance music, an essential oil kit, or hot stone warmer) while conversing with your client. After everything else is ready, the last thing you do is dress the table before excusing yourself to wash your hands. This curbs those instances when the client is nervous and/or eager to get on the table and starts undressing in front of you. Folding back the sheet is a sort of signal that it is time to undress, in addition to your verbal cue.
- This one is especially important if you and the client are the only ones in the house, and if this is your first time seeing the client. We all know that we should avoid breaking contact with our clients as much as possible. For those instances when you can’t help it, make sure they can still hear you. This is a personal opinion of mine, I am not sure how many will agree. When I have someone on the table and I have to break contact, to pick up some hot stones or to retrieve an essential oil, I always rub my hands or the stones together to make a quiet sound. Not the rapid, squishy lotion sound we are all familiar with from massage school…just a light, slow sound to remind them of where I am around the table. I also may ask a question or two on the way back from the restroom as I approach the table…so they can hear where I am around the table before that initial touch.
- When you are in people’s homes, you may encounter their families, roommates or pets. Always acknowledge their presence and introduce yourself. If they come in after the session has started, simply smile and nod. Don’t ignore them.
- As you finish up – thank your client and excuse yourself to wash up. Don’t linger in the bathroom too long on either wash up. At the initial wash up, be sure to leave the door open so that you don’t have to touch the handle with oily hands to get back in.
- Be sure to have your things packed in an organized manner to facilitate a quick set up, and more importantly, a quick breakdown. You want things to be compact – ideally in one bag. I use a big black laptop bag – the over the shoulder kind that you see at conferences. Carrying too many bags looks messy and cumbersome – and you don’t want your client feeling sorry for you…the idea is to make this look effortless…even though we all know lugging the equipment in can sometimes be a pain.
- Bonus…always remember this: Radiate comfort. If you are comfortable and at ease, your client will be too.