Fall 2018 News From Tony Schwartz Bodywork

It’s time to get ready for the end of the year here at TSB!

Thank You, 2018 is on track to be my best year ever and I have all of you to thank for it. Please help me grow with honest reviews and referrals. Every dollar spent goes into making your sessions better and providing for my family. Thank You. No one who comes to my door is a number. I hope to serve each and every one of you for years to come. 


Like I mentioned in the spring news letter price changes coming for NEW clients in 2019. All current clients will remain at my current rates until January 1, 2020. Please keep in mind that all new prices for NEW CLIENTS ONLY will posted on the website. There is one change that will be taking place in 2019 regarding no call / no show and non-emergency cancelations. The fee will no longer be a 50% charge only a $45 charge to your account to be paid before your next session online. If you have questions please contact me directly. 


Thank you to everyone who took to 2018 client survey. Several changes have taken place as the result of those results. Another survey will be up in the spring of 2019. Please take the time to respond to the questions because they are used to make yours and others sessions better. 


A NEW STREAMLINED SELF BOOKING system has been tested and has been running sense August. This new system allows everyone to choose the session duration they want and see every open session up to 60 days in advance. You can book and cancel up to 5 hours in advance of your session. I will always take your session requests by phone or text everyday from 8am - 8pm as well.


The Hands for Heroes program has been apart of my practice now for some time and I have made the choice to change and expand it’s use in 2019. After getting feedback from a number of clients, other massage therapists, and others I will be providing the same number of no cost hours to each vet in 2019 but expending long term care options at a discounted rate.


Corporate and community wellness is a service I have been providing for several years. Invite me into your local business or pre-event and get a fantastic great on chair massage as well as ongoing discount for employees who choose to come to my office. Contact me for additional details.


Thank you everyone. I hope the end of 2018 brings you health and happiness. I also hope that everyone has a wonderful start to 2019.


Tony Schwartz

Owner of Tony Schwartz Bodywork

Massage on Demand

Soothe, Zeel, Urban Massage, Refresh Body, Life Booker these are all apps for a new trend called Out-Call On Demand Massage. Never heard of this? Back in 2015 several Industries started to take note of the success of Uber and Lift and their ability to create a market using app based technology. One of those industries was massage industry and slowly the spa industry. I thought it might take a moment to help people get up to speed on this topic as well as to provide them some insight from my point of you.

 

So let's briefly take a moment to discuss the current state of the spa and bodywork industry in and it states and how it is currently divided up. There are two main branches of massage there is the relaxation portion and the therapeutic portion. Many of the relaxation aspects of the massage industry are things that people would call spas. The other branch would be the more therapeutic side and that would be health spas and clinics. As a side note, here I would like to clarify something that Massage Envy has done for years which is to call their spas clinics. This is not the correct use of the terminology. Massage Envy has an extremely regimented protocol for each service and for legal reasons chooses not to allow their therapist to work in any therapeutic capacity whatsoever. This would be more properly turned a spa. In my opinion this is a deliberate distortion of the term in order to low customers into a false sense of confidence in the professionalism and knowledge of their therapists. The relaxation branch of massage is the one most people know. These massage are intended to be relaxing with no real focus where people tend to pay more for the soft music and pleasant environment. There are usually two budget categories within us that of the luxury aspect which massages tend to be done and very large elaborate spas the other tend to be done in more confined budget price ranges that would be places like Massage Envy. Therapists are typically those out of school with no therapeutic skills whatsoever other than the necessary to prevent harm. These therapists and spas tend to be open on nights, weekends, and holidays. Continuing on with the second branch that would be therapeutic massage the sessions are strictly focusing on health and different aspects of the massage that can enhance your current health through the use of tried-and-true techniques. Most of these practitioners work with and chiropractic clinics physical therapist offices or other medically based office settings. This also means that they work more 9-to-5 type of jobs and do not except tips but in some cases do take insurance (Insurance companies  are slowly pricing out these services).

 

So as a point of full disclosure let me discuss where I am within these two branches and why I am choosing to be there. That will give us a framework for discussing these new massage on-demand apps. When I started out in the massage industry back in 2009 all I wanted was to get a job (and it really did not matter to me where). Being a male in the industry right after an economic downturn jobs were sparse to begin with. Slowly over the years I received advice from a number of people including other therapist who had been in the industry longer one of the things that was brought to my attention was the fact that clients find you and you must examine who they are. So overtime I found that people came to me to feel better physically not necessarily to relax. As people would come to me with, and aches and pains I realize that their perception of me was not so much that I could help them relax but I could help them feel better through helping them with pain. I slowly started to go off into the branch a massage that was more therapeutic in nature and therefore did not do well in spas. Today is most of you would recognize me in the therapeutic realm many of you may not realize how particular of a therapeutic technique I use which would put me off into a very small subset of the therapeutic massage world. I continue to choose this as an option because it tends to gravitate the most clients towards me as well as excites my interest. The human body is an extremely complex machine and there's just too much there for one person to fully understand.

 

So let's not get to the point of discussing what this new technology is and how it fits into the relaxation and therapeutic realm. Massage on-demand app services have only been around since 2014 and only popularized in 2015 and 2016. What it provided you is the ability to at any point in your day from almost anywhere in the world find a qualified massage therapist for your needs (as of right now relaxation needs) who will come to you. Some of you might say that this is simply an out call service which are pretty common. The added twist is the use of the apps to dispatch people to you. Like taxi services and Uber there are some differences between outcalls and these apps: Out calls are set by the provider directly not the customer. The provider is typically pay directly and I'll call versus an app where they receive payment electronically. And the apps take limited responsibility for local laws and ordinances regarding days and times of a sized can be received or as service providers doing out calls must know those regulations and must obey them (this means like Uber drivers they are simply working at there our risk and sometimes against the law) (* special note here, in Minnesota it is illegal to work within cities without a permit and these apps do not take that into account and do not force the provider to provide those permits as required to them to verify their skill set and background checks with the individual cities that would be affected. Within the Twin Cities area and app services could send someone to as many as five cities in one day all of which we have different licenses and permits that the therapist may or may not choose to receive in order to do massage legally).

 

But here's what the apps will provide for you. Depending on the app you can get the profile of an individual therapist who may or may not be fully qualified to serve you anytime of the day or night to come to your home or office and provide you with a service. All the services would be for a set price and you only have to pay the service provider you don't have to pay the therapist directly which means that you'll always pay one price. I've actually had the chance to meet a number of people who are receiving the services and that he'll provide the services and each of them has their own unique feedback. The most common when I hear from the clients receiving services is that the services can be either very good or they can be just plain. From the providers point of you it gives them the opportunity to make money without having to work for somebody else which in the younger generation seems to be a very important thing. I will say I have yet to find a therapeutic service provider who chooses to use these apps because they do not typically offer features that allow you to adjust prices for a particular skill set (these are typically prenatal massages or cupping services or other types of massage that require particular certifications and education).

 

So where does this leave you the client? I think it leaves clients in a unique situation in that you're taking a very intimate service and you're bringing it into your home. For some people to neutral ground of a spa or clinic seems to help them separate certain aspects of their life and in some ways up them relax. In another sense to provide you the opportunity to create a brand new convenience that like with many other apps provide enhance a certain aspects of your life. I believe like many of the other app based services that have come out over the last few years there will be many bugs to work out that will take years to work themselves out. I believe that many of the budget spas and high-end spas on the relaxation side of the industry really do have some problems ahead if they choose not to adapt. I believe at that freedom of choice there will be a large segment, that will choose as therapist to work for themselves and that means perhaps some of the best service providers will  go to app services and not traditional spas.

 

Where does that leave therapeutic service providers you might ask? The simple answer is we don't know yet. Because so many therapeutic service providers in a number of states rely on the licenses of medical doctors, chiropractors, and others to take insurance the ability to create an app is there but the willingness on the part of the industry may be much different. I believe the biggest obstacles will be with her insurance companies will be: to allow billable services to take place on location (similar to a CNA) or could the liability for certain types of therapeutic procedures be too high. Also the availability of fluctuating rates depending on the specialty and needs of the client or the qualifications of the practitioner. Personal trainers are dealing with the same issue and I must admit I'm watching their industry very closely. The other issue is time consolidation because some of these services are come to you services. .The number of appointments people can take is very limited and when you add in long commute times could make it much worse. This could mean that some therapeutic procedures and equipment that is required to produce the results necessary could be cost prohibitive and therefore limited to a higher price point which might be out of the price range of some clients who need it.

 

Lastly, there might be a few of you wondering what I plan to do as a result of this change in technology. For the moment I feel I've taken a neutral position for several reasons: the first being that because almost all of my work is therapeutic a nature in the industry has not quite figured out what to do with it I feel like I have some time to learn. I'm trying to meet most clients halfway when it comes to physical accommodations for therapeutic needs. As many of you know I work in an office that is on the second floor of building that does not have an elevator. As some of you may also know I will do all calls by request with some notice to allow me the opportunity to get the necessary equipment and timeframe needed to perform the service. Because at present these service request or not very often made I do not charge extra. This is completely counter to the rest of the industry. As a caveat of course unlike the rest of the industry I will only do out calls right now for those individuals who cannot physically get to the second floor of the building or it might be too given their current medical condition. I can of course change these policies based on many different factors but I would like to think that I've tried at least at this point to find a happy medium. I believe defining yourself as a practitioner is a very big part of setting the expectations and what role you can fit into peoples lives.

Spring 2018 Newsletter

Changes are coming! So please read carefully and if you have any questions please contact me. 

 

- Beginning January 1, 2019 All NEW clients will be subject to new prices, these prices reflect current business taxes, trends in orthopedic training, and keeping pace with changing massage business models. 

 

All current clients will NOT be subject to these changes for a full year (2020) as part of the grandfathering set in place back in 2016. The grandfathering clause was a promise to my customers to keep their cost of massage stable during the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. I understand the need for some kind of constancy in a rapidly changing healthcare marketplace. Many of these changes have begun to occur allowing the market to somewhat stabilize. 

 

IF YOU KNOW ANYONE who could use my services make sure you have them come in before the end of 2018 to take advantage of current rates.

 

Website information that will reflect these changes will be published on January 1, 2019.

 

Also, for those of limited circumstance I have always provided pricing accommodations upon request and after review. If there are circumstances that come into your life and you wish to find out what options are available to continue your care please contact me.

 

 

  • Your reviews make all the difference! Please provide one for my website or through a review site (Yelp, Google, Facebook). Honest reviews carry more weight than ever in attracting new clients.

 

  • As of January 1, 2018 I became the most qualified M.A.T. therapist in Minnesota. These skills allow me to work more effectively to achieve the best results faster than ever. Thank you all for supporting that effort through your continued patronage. I plan on continuing training through 2020 making +120 CEU’s in total.

 

  • Please keep on eye on my website and social media for updates about Tony Schwartz Bodywork.Those things can be found on Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, YouTube, and The Bodywork Blog.

 

- Please don’t forget to take the LetMeKnow2018 survey! This allows you to tell me about your services and what can be done to improve them. Every word of every response will be read and considered. Many of the things that make your services great now came from suggestions from all of you. There was also a special section on app based on demand services and I would greatly appreciate your feedback in this matter. Please take the 5 minutes out of your day to answer these questions and trust that all feedback is anonymous.