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How Squeeze Massage Helps Franchisees Capitalize on Booming Wellness Market

By merging top-tier customer experiences with unprecedented franchisee support, Squeeze is setting a new standard in the wellness industry. It's not just a massage; it's a revolution in wellbeing.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 1:13PM 09/01/23

The wellness market is surging, and the time has never been better to get on board with a franchise that's revolutionizing the sector. Enter Squeeze — the game-changing massage brand founded by the visionaries behind Drybar. As they eye an ambitious expansion to 500 units by 2027, Squeeze offers an unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs to join “TheFeel-Good Revolution” of the wellness landscape with a world-class massage franchise that offers innovative technology, an elevated guest experience and a people-first culture. 

“We believe those ingredients, paired with our robust onboarding, training and support infrastructure, are the recipe for success that will help franchisees achieve their dreams,” said David Werner, COO of Squeeze. “It’s for those reasons and more that we think we’ve developed the most refreshing guest, team member and operating partner experience in the health and wellness industry.”

A Fresh Take on Wellness

Squeeze is redefining the traditional massage experience from the ground up. "We’ve approached every layer of the experience with the lens of, 'Does this feel good?' and made sure the answer is a resounding yes," said Werner. 

Squeeze goes beyond the traditional massage model, offering a customer experience rooted in modernity and convenience. Utilizing an industry-leading technology platform, for example, Squeeze allows guests to browse therapists, book appointments and even customize their massage preferences, all within the platform. Guests can also review all-inclusive pricing where extras like deep tissue, heat therapy, aromatherapy, prenatal massage and percussion therapy don’t cost extra, as well as a friendly and value-packed membership program with deeply discounted massages, month-to-month commitments and the ability to gift massages to friends and family. 

Each massage is tailored to the guests’ liking including pressure, music and lighting, with no added fees. This also means that the shop team doesn’t have the responsibility of upselling or pushing additional services on guests. Instead, they can focus on delivering a way better massage experience. 

“Once guests come into the shop, the business sells itself,” said Sam Lewis, one of Squeeze’s very first Operating Partners. “The model very much allows for a better experience and we don't have to reach complicated sales quotas to maintain our numbers — it's an amazing experience that is above what you can get anywhere else.”

Not to mention the Squeeze shop design, which is designed to feel “like an oasis versus a clinic," Werner said. “Overall, we believe we’ve developed the most appealing consumer offering across every value layer in the experience.”

Empowering Franchisees from the Get-Go

But Squeeze hasn’t just created a “way better” massage experience for customers —it's also built a “way better” franchise experience for Operating Partners. 

“Even though we are an emerging brand, we really are set up as an established one in terms of our documentation, our training programs and the overarching system that we have set up for every role within the company,” said Brittany Driscoll, Squeeze co-founder & CEO. “We call our franchisees Operating Partners because it’s really important to me that they feel like true partners. I feel very strongly that our support of them is a direct reflection of how they will treat and support their team and their business. The tone starts with us.”

According to Werner, new Operating Partners are enveloped in a "robust and comprehensive onboarding, training and support program." Squeeze's 250-point pre-opening project plan and 450+ page Operations Manual, for example, ensure that new partners are well-equipped to operate their shops. 

“Upon signing, we bring together a cross-functional group of experts to guide real estate, construction, architectural design, marketing, operations and everything in between to find, build, open and operate a shop,” said Werner. “We knew from the outset that maintaining a close connection to the craft was important, so one of the things we’re most proud of is that we’ve built a support team staffed with multiple licensed Massage Therapists who help ensure we’ve got our best foot forward in the topics of recruiting, retention, service development and culture.”

Along the way, Operating Partners will also go through Squeeze School — an extensive training program with flexible, self-paced digital courses administered through a learning management system (LMS), as well as in-person training at the Squeeze flagship location in Los Angeles and at the operating partner's shop pre-opening. 

“Squeeze School has course tracks for each role in the shop, with specific curriculums for General Managers, the front desk team and massage therapists. We leverage this framework for continuous education post-onboarding, as well. When an operating partner or their team needs support, we have a group of talented specialists ready to jump in.”

In terms of operational support, the brand’s proprietary technology platform gives operating partners and their teams everything they need to know about a guest, all in one place, allowing seamless shop management. 

"Our centralized Guest Experience team ensures consistent customer service quality while allowing operating partners to maintain both a lean staffing structure and focus on the in-shop experience," Werner said.

And while no business is entirely free from challenges, Squeeze has a proactive approach to overcoming obstacles. Whether it’s the intricacies of finding the right location or the complexities of staff recruitment, Squeeze has thought of it all. 

"We’ve partnered with real estate specialists with national reach who have access to the best data and tools to inform our search," said Werner. “We’ve designed the most robust recruiting and retention playbooks in the industry alongside comprehensive local marketing guidance with tactical instruction in a paint-by-number format.” 

As for staffing, Werner proudly mentions, "As it relates to operating a Squeeze, we sell nothing but people’s time, so recruiting and retaining massage therapists is key. We’re proud to have developed the most comprehensive playbook in our industry with step-by-step guidance on where to recruit, how to connect with therapists, how to effectively onboard and train, and finally, how to help them thrive in a long career with Squeeze. It’s why we have a 4.8 rating on Glassdoor and 9 out of 10 Squeeze therapists would recommend us as a great place to work.”

This all-in-one support model sets Squeeze apart in the franchising landscape. “I could not be happier about the support we receive at the corporate level,” said Lewis. “My father in law is a franchise broker himself and he has told us many times how good we have it at Squeeze. We have weekly calls and they are always just a text away with any questions that we have. They’re all here to support us.” 

Financial and Growth Opportunities

Squeeze is in a unique “Goldilocks place” in terms of its growth trajectory, Werner says.

“While we’ve experienced rapid growth over the last couple of years, with over 80 units under development and new shops opening nearly every month, we still have available territory in a number of highly desirable markets,” said Werner. 

This creates significant opportunities for potential multi-unit franchisees, especially as the demand for health and wellness services continues to grow post-pandemic.

“As we exited the most serious phases of the pandemic, interest in health and wellness has only continued to grow, and massage is something consumers know and love,” said Werner. “But, they want a better experience than what exists on the market, and we think our 82 NPS score suggests we’re doing just that. We’re not under the impression that we can rest on our laurels, though. We’re constantly monitoring the trends and changes in the industry to ensure our service and approach are at the cutting edge, and we enjoy the benefit of being a more nimble system than many of our competitors due to our size and structure. We’ve been intentional on this point and expect that advantage to exist for years to come.”

Who Is the Ideal Squeeze Franchisee?

The key to Squeeze’s success doesn’t just lie in its innovative model, but also in the people who run the show. "Culture is everything to us because we know we will only be as good as the energy we cultivate in our shops," Werner said. "We’re looking for leaders that have strong operating and people management experience. At the end of the day, we are in the people business.” 

Moreover, potential franchisees need to be community connectors — individuals with a rich network that can help strengthen the brand’s market presence. In summary, a Squeeze franchisee is someone who resonates with the company's values, dubbed "The Feels," and aims to provide an unparalleled customer and employee experience.

“I always had the philosophy, which Squeeze aligns with, that if you have happy team members, the team members will take care of everything else,” said Lewis. “So that is very much what we operate by. I have always tried to take care of my team and make sure they feel heard, respected and treated well. I want them to only have great things to say about Squeeze, and that’s what I deem as successful.” 

Looking ahead, the Squeeze team aims to sign nearly 100 units by the end of 2023, with the long-term vision of growing to 300-500 units in the next five to seven years. Current target markets include Florida and Texas.

The investment ranges from $543,645 and $889,521 to open a Squeeze franchise, which includes working capital and initial franchise fees of $60,000. For more information about owning a Squeeze franchise, visit https://1851franchise.com/squeezemassage

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