Screen massage clients to protect you and your practice from potentially dangerous situations. The whole point of screening your clients is to prevent clients that you do not want from entering your practice. It is a delicate dance though. Most of the clients you will be screening are well-meaning. Here are suggestions for how to screen massage clients in a way that is professional and welcoming to your well-meaning clients, but a clear boundary and deterrent to sexual solicitors.
Questions to ask to ask every client
Why are they coming to get a massage?
Why did they choose your massage business in particular?
What has been their experience with massage therapy in the past?
Make sure you screen massage clients on the phone or video chat. If a client will not talk to you on the phone and only wants to message, that is a red flag in itself. Even if a client is a referral, still make a point to speak to them before scheduling them. I had a client once who’s mom scheduled the appointment for him and he was inappropriate. You never know…
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In addition to a screening process…
Coupled with your screening process, you can deter a sexual solicitor by putting up a few barriers to scheduling with you. You will attract serious, invested clients by implementing these steps to become your client. So, you will be booking dedicated clients, and deterring all the rest.
- Have new clients pay in advance with a credit card. If a client is looking for a happy ending, they are not going to want to give their personal information in case the police get involved. They will do their best to keep their identity anonymous.
- Request personal information such as last name, address, phone number, etc.
- Have new clients fill out the intake form in advance. There are lots of pros to this, the number one being, you come off as a medical professional. Massage parlors do not have intake forms. Having the client fill out the intake form in advance also gives you a chance to review health history, do any research you need beforehand, and if you encounter contraindications, you can address them before the scheduled appointment instead of having that awkward conversation of turning a client away because you need a doctor’s note.
What do you say if you do not want to book a client…
If during the massage screening process, you realize you do not want to work with this client, there is no need to shame them. #respectmassage is all about empowering massage therapists. Take the high road, remain professional, and leave the situation feeling good about yourself and the choices you made. You can simply say:
- “I am not taking any new clients.”
- “My schedule is booked six weeks out.”
- “We are not a good fit.”
Obviously, if a potential client is outwardly inappropriate during the screening process, you do not need to sugar coat it.
By the time you receive the answers to your massage therapy screening questions, you will have a very good idea of the intentions of a client. If you are unsure – ask more questions. Ask about past injuries or illnesses, get medical. Ask questions from your intake. If you as still weary and think you should have a friend or family member in the office with you – then you should not book that client. If you are not 100% sure of their intentions, you should not invite them into your space. No amount of money is worth your safety. You should never have to go into a session scared. Trust your instincts – they will not lead you astray.
The Respect Massage logo is a great way to screen clients if they are texting or messaging you. FREE DOWNLOAD HERE
Looking for more ways to deter sexual solicitors? Take the RESPECT MASSAGE ETHICS COURSE
- A complete list of red flags
- Tactics to get out of dangerous situations with clients
- Real life scenarios
- NCBTMB and NY CEUs