Massage Addict just can’t get enough of that sweet business growth that has seen it jump from six franchises in 2012 to currently over 40 in 2015.
The company started in 2008 in Halifax, NS and began franchising soon after in 2009. But, CEO Fraser Clarke explained during a recent interview from the company’s headquarters in Toronto, Massage Addict didn’t truly start growing until after the then-owners appeared on the television show Dragon’s Den, which sees entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a small panel of venture capitalists in the hopes of getting financial backing.
The owners appeared on the show in mid-2012 and received offers from three of the venture capitalists on the show and agreed to the deal offered by Jim Treviling. Ultimately, though, after the show aired, the business owners found they were receiving so many inquiries about franchising from across the country that they didn’t need the backing from Treviling and opted to go it alone.
Now, the company has 41 clinics up and running with their first Manitoba clinic set to open in Winnipeg in June, and two more following shortly after. Port Coquitlam, BC will be opening in June as well, which means Massage Addict will be in every province except for Quebec, which it has plans to enter in 2016. “Our expectation this year is to open between 25 to 30 locations within the next eight months,” Fraser outlined.
Location opportunities are currently available in every province except for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, which are both fully accommodated with Massage Addict clinics.
The business has roughly 400 Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) across their 41 clinics offering massage therapy in a unique way. “It’s a membership-based business,” Fraser explained. “A client initially comes in for an introductory 1-hour massage for only $49.99. And then we look to convert that individual into a member. And, as a member, they commit to one massage per month and in return get preferred pricing for themselves and their family members.”
Fuelling the company’s growth is Canadian’s increasingly better understanding of the health benefits of massage, Fraser noted. Stress relief, injury recovery, pain management and pure relaxation are just a handful of benefits that people are now starting to attribute to massage. It can help with chronic headaches, anxiety and depression, he said, and this is all backed by an enormous amount of research. “People are starting to understand that a lot more,” he observed.
Employers are also offering coverage for a certain amount of massage therapy with their health benefits, Fraser added. And Massage Addict is there to fill the gap in the industry to provide clinical level massage therapy at convenient locations with affordable prices so people can capitalize on the health benefits of massage.
The Ideal Franchisee
The desired franchise owner for Massage Addict is not necessarily an RMT, Fraser said, as only about 10 percent are. But, franchisees have to be passionate about healthcare and wellness and have a background in customer service and membership management and must have strong leadership skills. From Fraser’s perspective, the most important quality from an owner is their ability to hire and lead great RMTs and the administrative team to allow them to create a strong culture around customer service and top quality massage. “Having these skills is critical,” he said.
Having franchisees with those skill sets also helps differentiate the company from its competition. Fraser listed three ways that Massage Addict sets itself apart. The first is its size. It’s the largest massage franchise and has the most locations across the country. It’s also the fastest growing and is already over four times as large as its closest competitor.
To illustrate the company’s already large reach, Fraser said Massage Addict performed 30,000 massages in April. “We help a lot of Canadians and our plan is to help many more,” he said. The second thing that sets it apart from its competition is that it is membership based and it offers a stronger value proposition to clients because of the affordable pricing, which makes their health insurance stretch further.
Finally, the quality of the RMTs involved with the company helps it to create the highest quality of service and treatment in the industry.
Training the Team
To ensure they can quickly and easily start contributing to the culture of success at Massage Addict, new franchisees receive a week of training in Toronto and then an individual from the training team will support that franchisee to their clinic in their first week of opening. Ongoing training consists of regular conference calls and ad hoc training for specific items that franchisees may want help with in their clinics. The company also has an annual national conference for all franchisees and corporate employees, plus the corporate team keeps franchisees up-to-date on operational and marketing initiatives, clinic performance with ongoing communication such as reports and a monthly dashboard to help them focus on areas of opportunity within their clinics. “We’re quite active and we’re committed to helping and supporting our franchise
partners,” Fraser said.
One of the best ways the company supports its franchisees is with site selection.
It has invested in software that takes transaction-level data from customers and determines who the most profitable customers are. It then builds a profile of the type of household those profitable individuals live in. The software determines how many of those types of households your clinic need within your trade area location to make your clinic profitable.
Based on that information, this software can determine neighbourhood’s across the country that can support a Massage Addict clinic. It not only maps the entire country based on available space and territories, but it also scores the potential sites based on how likely they would be to support a Massage Addict.
With all that going for it, it’s no wonder the business has become addicted to growth.