Industry sector:

Aromatherapist: Cash sales

'Cash sales' means all income from your main business activity that is received at the beginning or immediately after a course of treatment, whether this is spread over one or several appointments. While some of your clients may pay you in cash, remember that Cash sales also include:

  • debit and credit card payments
  • cheques
  • vouchers (for example, those you sell yourself which are often popular as gifts or those generated through your participation in a 'daily deal' website like Groupon or Wowcher)

To prepare your cash flow, you need to estimate how much income you will receive over the next 12 months, including VAT (if appropriate). To do this you will need to work out how many clients you are likely to treat, how much you will charge them and when you will receive the money. Give some thought as well to any other complementary therapies you might offer and how much you will charge for them.

There are a number of things to consider when you make your estimates:

Your practice

  • where will your consulting rooms be. Instead of having your own premises you may decide to work from home, from a complementary health centre or from a beauty salon
  • will you visit clients in their own homes
  • will you need to employ staff such as a receptionist or other therapists
  • what will your working hours be. Will you consider working in the evenings or at weekends

Your services

Aromatherapy - the use of healing essential plant oils - is used to treat a wide range of complaints, ailments and conditions. The oils are most commonly massaged into the skin but they can also be inhaled, used in cold compresses or in hot baths. Decide on how you will use them and also whether you will specialise in offering treatments for a particular condition, for example stress or emotional problems. Think about other health professionals you might be able to work with such as GP practices, NHS and private hospitals, hospices and so on - aromatherapy is currently used to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients, for example. If you or any employees have the necessary skills, there may be other therapies that you could offer such as reflexology, ayurvedic (Indian) massage, shiatsu (Japanese massage therapy) or allergy testing.

Your fees

  • how will you set your fees (don't forget you must be able to cover your costs, overheads and drawings)
  • how often will you review your price list
  • will you offer discounts, for example if clients pre-book a course of treatment
  • if you also sell bottled aromatherapy oils and other products to clients, how much mark-up will you add to the cost price

To help with your decisions, click on the checkpoints for guidance. Once you have worked out a Cash sales figure add it to the relevant field in your cash flow forecast.