Alexander Rosan has been erasing clients’ muscle pain and promoting wellness for over a decade—and these days he’s doing it on Thumbtack. The San Francisco-based massage therapist (who’s also a classically trained opera singer) practices a wide range of bodywork, from structural integration and myofascial release to deep tissue and Swedish massage. Alexander credits Thumbtack with growing his business and helping him tap into a wide base of repeat clients in his area. Here’s what the five-star massage therapist told us about finding the ideal customer on Thumbtack.
How did you get started?
I was working at a spa and realized that I just wasn’t going to be able to do the more intense bodywork that I knew I was capable of. I work with stored emotion and trauma in the body. A lot of people who came to my table started thinking that they wanted something nice and relaxing, but in the process of the massage a lot of emotions can come up. I wanted to create a space to help people work through that.
Where did you find clients when you first struck out on your own?
A lot of clients I worked with at the spa and at the yoga studio I also worked for followed me when I started my own business. A lot of my business was just word of mouth. I’m naturally a good networker; I love meeting new people and I’m always talking about my work and what I do.
Has Thumbtack made a difference for your business?
When I found out about Thumbtack I was in the process of looking for more clients in new areas of San Francisco. Work has been up by 20 to 30 percent in the last year thanks to Thumbtack.
Do you remember what you thought when you first heard about Instant Match?
I got the email and thought, “I don’t know. Thumbtack is already working for me the way it is. I don’t know if I need that…” Then I actually called Thumbtack to make a suggestion about fixing something (a suggestion they took) and the support team asked if I was interested in trying Instant Match. I ended up convinced that Instant Match would be a really great idea for my business.
How is Instant Match different?
It saves so much time, time that I would have spent copy and pasting the same estimate over and over again. Now I can focus on the people who have already taken an interest in my service, so I’m not wasting time reaching out to customers who have no intention of hiring me.
I’m also saving quite a bit of money. I was spending more sending quotes myself than I am now that Thumbtack just charges me when a customer responds to an estimate that’s sent automatically based on the preferences I set.
Did you have success with Instant Match right away?
When I first started, it didn’t seem to be working, so I asked myself, “If I were the one looking at my profile for the first time, how would I feel about it?”
I realized I actually wouldn’t trust certain aspects of my messaging or that another part of my Q&A could maybe be interpreted wrong. I made some tweaks here and there to make things for accessible to people who were new to massage and that alone made a pretty drastic shift in the number of responses I got.
How do you follow up when a customer reaches out to you using Instant Match?
I usually say something like, “Thank you so much for your interest. You can go straight to my website to make an appointment, and to get all of the info you need to schedule a visit. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me here or on my phone and I’m happy to answer anything else for you.”
How do you price your services?
My pricing was a natural progression. I started at $145 because that was the general going rate for a private 90-minute massage. Over time I realized that I offer a lot of services that other bodyworkers don’t and decided to try bringing my price up.
It’s also a more fair way to charge for my time. I always ask people to come in 10 minutes early so I can chat with them, do a little postural analysis, and make sure everything’s in order before getting started. They still get the full 90 minutes on the table, and then I like to give them stretches or exercises to do at home and talk to them about how they felt during the massage. So even though it’s a 90-minute massage, the appointment is more like 100 or even 115 minutes.
What do you think it takes to be a Top Pro?
I also think it’s all about being as accommodating as you can, but also—and no one really likes to hear this—I really think that by establishing boundaries and rules, you create a safe space for people to walk into. And that’s something everyone should want. So if you ask people to arrive ten minutes early, it’s a boundary but one that actually makes people feel more secure about working with you.
Any tips for asking for reviews?
After I finish a session with a client, while were working out the payment I’ll say something like: “Thank you so much for this. I would really appreciate a review on Thumbtack. It really helps my business and it’s actually better than a tip, so if you wouldn’t mind taking the time to review me I would be super grateful.”
Then I usually send a follow-up email saying, “I hope everything went well for you and looking forward to working with you again. And please, if you wouldn’t mind leaving me a review, I would be very appreciative.”
It’s hit or miss whether or not it works. But reviews are important enough that you have to keep trying.
Read more stories about how pros are succeeding on Instant Match.