Of course we can’t ignore competitors. When trying to determine what to charge for services, we have to look at what others ask. Figuring out our marketing priorities, we have to check where our most important competitors are best represented.
In the first year of Balance, the dreaded 2009, my vision was challenged by my business partner. He said we had to drastically lower our rates or we’d die–because we were competing with all the cheap massage offers. In my opinion, we had to charge more than other small clinics because we offer higher value. It got to the point where I had to say “ok, if you want to run a different business, you have my full support… now go and run a different business.”
The challenge, however, remained. There are places that charge $40 for a one-hour massage. A real full hour, not the 50 minutes a lot of chains do. Our one-hour massage costs $90, for members $76.50.
But at the cheap places you never know what you get. At Balance, you can talk to a receptionist who has personal experience with all massage therapists and can recommend who’ll be the best for you, and you know you’ll have an experienced therapist who is able to design a session for your needs instead of stubbornly clinging to the routine they taught in massage school.
So I’ve looked around, and the only REAL competition is Bodyscape. They’re great! They have good therapists right there, so you could get a massage even on short notice (which is hard for us). They charge $80. And the owner, Holly Lynn, has been in this area for over 15 years. So has her website… she’s on page one, right on top, for all relevant keywords.
Instead of seeing her as an enemy, I made her my friend. We frequently get together to discuss strategies and learn from each others mistakes.
These conversations also made it clear to me that Bodyscapes is amazing for pregnancy massages. We, on the other hand, specialize in pain treatments.
So instead of fighting each other, we refer business to one another.