We’ll be the first to admit we’re a little biased when it comes to workplace massage. Bringing massage into the office in any form is a good idea (in our humble opinion).
But even though corporate massage is a no-brainer, actually bringing it into the office is easier said than done. From getting the green light from your decision-maker, to scheduling your first workplace massage, there are a lot of factors to consider.
One of the most common questions we hear is:
Should I hire an individual massage therapist or a corporate massage company?
Unfortunately there’s no easy answer. Let’s outline 5 of the biggest pros and cons to both.
The Individual Therapist
Individual therapists are the lone rangers of the massage industry. And if you meet an individual therapist who’s making it on their own, chances are good that they are very good at their craft. Lots of companies hire these therapists to give massages on a contractual basis—some companies even hire them full time.
The Massage Company
It’s probably best to think of massage companies as a group of therapists who’ve come together to deliver massage in a different way. They’re made up of a typical company structure, they come with policies, procedures, and technology. And for the most part, they’re pretty good at what they do. Organizations usually opt to hire massage companies to deliver a complete end-to-end service.
5 WORKPLACE MASSAGE PROS AND CONS
This is a major pro. Individuals don’t come with all the overhead that massage companies do—buildings, benefits, perks. So they can operate at a lower level. Pricing varies from therapist to therapist, but this will usually be the cheaper option.
These guys/gals usually come with less red tape, albeit with some limitations. That’s because they don’t have the degree of policies and procedures that massage companies do. That means you can have more control over hours and the type of massage you get. However, because you’re dealing with an individual, you have to worry about sick days, vacations, no-shows, hiring, legal compliance, liability.
Massage companies have their own policies and procedures, which makes it so all their staff are on the same page and you can expect the same level of service from their whole team. Most companies can build your business a custom program. They show up on time, every time (usually), you don’t have to worry about sick days, and their programs are usually straightforward, simple, and easy to understand.
Here is where things can get messy. When hiring an individual, you have to make sure they are certified as a massage therapist, they have their own business license, they have a county health department permit, and they have their own liability insurance. That’s a lot to keep track of. You’ll need to monitor the expiration dates on those as well to make sure they keep up on them. If they lapse, the therapist can lose their license, and your company can be liable. Plus you have to go through a lot of interviews to find a good one. Plus, if they leave, you get to do it all over again.
Hiring a corporate massage company definitely has the upper hand here. A company does all the interviews and hand picks the employees in their organization, so you know they have skills. Plus they monitor and keep track of each therapist’s licensing. If the massage company has employees, they operate under that company’s liability insurance, business license and health department permit. If they use contractors, then make sure to ask the company if their contractors have those documents.
4.) Scheduling & Payments
Your employees can pay individual massage therapists any way they want—directly from their own pockets, including tip. This is a big plus if you’re working with a small to non-existent budget. You can also let your employees schedule individual therapists on their own, which takes a lot of hassle off your plate. But keep in mind that scheduling an individual massage therapist can become somewhat of a nightmare if you work at a large company. And if you have the employees paying for it, it is no longer a perceived benefit for the employee.
Massage companies come with the ability to pay in one lump sum from your corporate account based on the pricing plan you agreed to. Payments are usually simple and straightforward, and it takes a lot of guesswork out of the financial end of things. Massage companies also make scheduling super simple and flexible. Most companies can completely handle all your scheduling for you through the internet, so your employees just have to log in and sign up. And if you want to stay in control several massage companies will still let you opt to handle your own scheduling.
Individual therapists only come with two hands. So if you’ve got a lot of employees or a big corporate event, it’s going to be extremely difficult (i.e. impossible) for them to handle it. This is definitely something to take into account if your company is growing because it means there’s a lot more work for you on the horizon as you need to hire more therapists.
Because massage companies employ a lot of therapists, they can pretty much take on any project, event, trade show, party, etc. you can throw at them. The sky is the limit. Plus, if they manage the scheduling and payments through their system, then you have no worries as your company takes on more employees because the massage company can handle it.
In some ways individual therapists make things incredibly convenient for companies. But they also come with a few disclaimers. You’ll have to manage their licenses and compliance, for starters. Because they’re not standardized, you’ll also have to monitor performance and make sure that they’re treating your employees the way they deserve to be treated.
Massage companies, for the most part, are largely plug and play operations. They come equipped with their own licenses and compliance monitoring. They handle a lot of the day-to-day management internally, and they take a lot of the hassle out of corporate massage. That being said, they’re also companies, and that comes with its own set of caveats that you’d usually expect when dealing with a bigger organization.
Ultimately, the best fit for your company will be determined by a lot of factors; there isn’t a right or wrong answer. If you’re stuck, try both and see whether an individual therapist or a massage company fits your needs better.