Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Graham and Ashkahn kick off the New Year by discussing the things to consider when adding a float tank to an existing business. This is a fantastic episode to start with if you’ve already got a service-based business or are a practitioner looking to start up on your own and looking for ideas.
The boys talk about logistical considerations, the built-in advantages to adding on to an existing practice, as well as how nice it is to have a meatball sandwich after chilling out in a sensory reduced environment for an hour (Ashkahn has a serious one-track mind).
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Ashkahn: All right.
Graham: Hey everybody, welcome. I’m Graham.
Ashkahn: I’m Ashkhan and this is the Occasional Solutions Podcast.
Graham: Yeah. Where we occasionally come on the air to talk about float tanks.
Ashkahn: Used to be the Daily Solutions Podcast, slightly catchier name.
Graham: Boy those were the days.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Whew.
Graham: 367 of them?
Ashkahn: But we’re retired now. We just do these occasionally from time-to-time.
Graham: Yeah. And mainly when something strikes our fancy or there’s a news alert that we need to put out to the float world or like today.
Ashkahn: When really nothing important is going on, but we decided to come here anyway.
Graham: We have these microphones why not just get to work.
Ashkahn: Well, so what’s been going on is that we’ve noticed a trend recently a lot of existing wellness businesses, places that are doing different types of spa services or massage or any range of services wanting to add on float tanks to their facilities. So, instead of just brand new centers and completely float-dedicated centers, and things like that, some well-established existing businesses looking to floating as a nice new additional service that can help bring new customers in or attract people that wouldn’t have otherwise come in for their other service. This is to see everything that they’re doing or just make them stand out from the other wellness businesses in town, or for whatever reason, wanting to add float tanks to their establishment.
Graham: And yeah, I guess this is nothing new. We’ve seen wellness centers with float tanks for a really long time and even as long as we’ve been doing the industry report, we see a lot of float tanks being paired up with other modalities and alternative wellness services. But I guess it’s just gotten more so. And it used to be a lot of wellness centers that we’d see who were coming through our trainings, and stuff like that, who are just opening up and they’re planning on building this all out together, like building their yoga studio at the same time that they’re building these float tank rooms.
Graham: And, if anything, I guess we’ve just seen more and more people coming through now who, yeah, have been running a business for a while or I’ve had a practice for 10 or sometimes even 15, 20 years.
Ashkahn: A hundred. 200.
Graham: So, for the last millennia, or so, and just now they’re thinking about adding in float tanks. So, it’s interesting. Anyway, we thought we’d just talk about the benefits of that-
Ashkahn: How to do it.
Graham: … and the businesses… And what?
Ashkahn: And how to do it.
Graham: Oh, yeah. And how to do it.
Ashkahn: And we’re going to be dishing it out. We’re dishing out the information, so hope you brought your sporks.
Graham: And your bowl.
Ashkahn: Yeah, we’re dishing it out.
Graham: Yeah, but they need something to put- They need the dishes.
Ashkahn: The dishes, they would need dishes.
Graham: Yeah, which a bowl is a dish.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Okay. I guess so.
Graham: So, what types of businesses have been adding in float tanks? I guess, is something that we could talk about here on our podcast.
Ashkahn: We’ve seen a lot of banks, classic Italian delis.
Graham: Yep. Yeah. That’s-
Ashkahn: Repo businesses.
Graham: Well, mainly just because they have the float tanks that they’ve taken back. Yeah. Yeah. So, I guess you mentioned a few. Would you say massage and acupuncture. Chiropractors. Repo business.
Ashkahn: Yeah. I mean, it’s a lot of places that already do services, whether with practitioners or they have other devices like saunas or cryo, or whatever else it is. So, people are used to coming there for general relaxation, and wellbeing, and health, and things like that. And so, it fits in very neatly with that model.
Graham: Yeah. And float tanks do just combine well with most things or most services.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Like a spicy Italian sub. That’s what I’m saying.
Graham: Yeah, I mean it really, after that long, just with deprived of your senses, that sandwich tastes really good. I mean, I’ve seen float tank centers in juice bars are ones that even have some small food. I haven’t seen a deli but I’ve seen food options.
Ashkahn: It’s true, yeah. They are surprisingly versatile. We’ve seen them in art galleries, we’ve seen them in colon hydrotherapy clinics, gyms. The range of different places that you can find a float tank is pretty impressive.
Graham: Yeah. We’ve even seen people using it in their counseling business and work with veterans and psychologists who work with them, in addition to just physical, I guess, side of therapy too. There’s this mental aspect that, yeah, float tanks seem to combine well with.
Ashkahn: So, you know you want a float tank and now what? What are you going to do?
Graham: Well, you came to the right place. We love answering questions like this.
Ashkahn: So yeah, I mean, probably the first thing to think about is your space.
Ashkahn: There’s a lot to know about how to properly install a float tank. And that is one of the things that is especially worth considering when you have an existing facility because you don’t get the luxury of just being able to choose a place specifically suited to how you want your float tanks to be set up. You have to be a little bit more creative and use what you have.
Graham: And using what you have can be difficult with float tanks. It’s not like a lot of other services like massage where if you do have an empty room you can take that over and turn it into a massage room without too much extra work. And we talk a lot about this in other podcast episodes. So, if this is one of your first times tuning in, definitely go check out some of the other information that we have on the site.
Graham: But building a float tank room is crazy. Soundproofing and waterproofing end up being the two craziest parts of it. But because you’re taking two showers per float tank and because of all the salt water, you’re going to have to do some plumbing work, which often involves digging trenches because sound is such an issue and you’re trying to eliminate all of it.
Graham: Often just the built-in walls that you have in whatever center that you’re building these, or adding these float tank rooms onto just isn’t enough. You need something a little more heavy duty, which often involves tearing out existing walls or at least tearing out one of the facing sides of them that go inward, and that can lead to other space concerns. And it cascades from there.
Graham: So, a lot of people when they’re thinking about adding in a float tank, really do just picture buying this device and putting it into this existing room that they have. So, I’d say that’s one of the biggest things that can go wrong really, is not realizing what a big feat it is.
Ashkahn: And probably what’s going to work best for you is grouping these float tank rooms together as much as you can. It’s going to be way easier to turn a whole area into a floaty zone than it is to have these scattered across your businesses in different rooms with different things in between them.
Graham: Yeah, just different buildings.
Ashkahn: Yeah, different countries. Just one driving around. But, because a lot of times when you’re trying to do things like soundproofing, it’s almost going to be easier to isolate the whole perimeter of the area with two or three float rooms in it than it is going to be to necessarily try to totally isolate every single float room.
Ashkahn: So, you get some benefit from having float tank rooms next to each other and it also is just going to help you, in terms of cleaning, and where you want to put slip-proof flooring, and what sort of areas you’re going to be expecting to have water and salt on them, and all that sort of stuff. The more it’s bundled together, the better you can plan for it and the easier it’ll be to operate.
Graham: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s very sound advice. I was just trying actually picture a center that had float tank rooms on opposite sides of it and trying to make sense of it.
Ashkahn: I’ve seen it. I’ve been to like a wellness center like that. They had two different float areas and they were both on the same floor. It was a two floor place, but they were just separated on different sides of the floor. They were definitely not right next to each other and that is just more, each of those rooms had to then be soundproofed and deal with the noise concerns around it, and all that sort of stuff.
Graham: Yeah, I know. It sounds crazy. I guess another thing to take into account just on the space side of things is that float tanks also take a little bit more in between care than a lot of the other services that you might be having. There’s a lot of things that go in the room from neck pillows, robes, towels.
Graham: In the wellness industry you’re probably used to the laundry side of things, but maybe not the “needing-to-rinse-everything-off-of-salt” side of things that comes into contact with the float rooms. So, some big utility sink area where you can actually not only wash things off but have room to store them, and dry them, and let them drip down into something that’s not your floor is just something you’ll need to take into account is all the behind the scenes stuff that needs to be done as well.
Ashkahn: Yeah. There is maintenance and operations and what you need to do to clean, not just on a daily basis but cleaning filters once a week and replacing UV lights, and stuff like that. And a lot of that stuff can be wet. If you don’t have a back room already that’s set up for dealing with dripping wet things and having a big utility sink, and stuff like that, those might be some things you need to upgrade to make the maintenance on your float tanks a little easier for you.
Graham: Yeah, yeah, for sure. All of this said, these are just some of the early things to look into and some good questions to ask. Definitely just like, “is my space ready for a float tank?”, I think is a really good question. I will say that, as we delve a little deeper into these things, also keep in mind, I totally think that it’s worth it as well.
Graham: There’s a reason that a lot of places are adding on float tanks and it’s this cool edge that you get in your business over other businesses of the same type, and there’s this barrier to entry too. All of the things that make a float tank difficult to offer well, actually creating a soundproof room, and getting it set up right, and creating this nice float experience, is also something that it’s hard for another business to copy or just throw in like you can with, for instance, an infrared sauna. You don’t need the extreme setup that you do for a float tank.
Graham: So, it gives you this both really nice service to offer your customers and also a reason to go to your business as opposed to another clinic on the other side of town.
Ashkahn: And it should, I think for a lot of people, the other nice thing is that it fits pretty well into the existing infrastructure of their business. For us, running a float tank center, we look at our biggest expenses, things like payroll, and stuff like that, and rent, and in a lot of cases, people will be able to not really increase their costs on those things when they want to add float tanks in. Right?
Ashkahn: I mean, if you already have an existing wellness business and you’re already of someone working the front desk and taking appointments and answering calls, and stuff like that, huge win, right? That’s no increase in that cost to have these extra services on.
Ashkahn: The maintenance will be a little bit different. So, that just depends on how much downtime somebody has. If they do have the time to take about… We usually say the in between floats takes maybe five minutes for one person to clean a room and turn it over to get it ready for the next person to go in.
Ashkahn: So, you can see if that flexibility already exists with your staff and if it does, huge win, right? I mean, you’re not increasing your payroll costs and you’re adding these other services on. And that is the cool thing about float tanks is, as long as you can get the cleaning and that part done, the floats, there’s nobody in there having to run the floats right? The floats are just people sitting inside of the float tank, which is really nice.
Graham: Yeah. What other lessons? I was just trying to think of what things I would want to impart on young us, which is a subject that we’ve talked about at length in other podcast episodes too. But for wellness centers specifically?
Ashkahn: Yeah, I mean, I would just take stock of what you have in your business that would make noise and consider keeping your float tanks very far away from it.
Graham: Yeah, no, that’s solid, for sure.
Ashkahn: There are other devices out there that often are pretty big and sit on the ground and while it may not even sound that loud to you when you’re sitting next to it or using it, it might be creating a lot of vibrations that go through the ground and that you would totally be able to hear in a float tank.
Ashkahn: So, if you do have a lot of other unmanned services, or we’ve heard things like… One we’ve heard a couple of times with people having trouble with those chiropractor tables that click down.
Graham: Oh, yeah.
Ashkahn: They click up into a position and the chiropractor, like WWE wrestling slams down onto someone and clams down into position. I haven’t experienced this but pretty much sure that’s how it goes.
Graham: Good mental image.
Ashkahn: Those are really loud. Any big clunking sounds and things like that, those are super-hard to soundproof against. And even things like where your washing machine and dryer are, Those are things that are just going to be continuously making noise, especially vibrational noise and are things you’re going to want to consider keeping it a distance from your float tanks.
Graham: Yeah. I guess also keep in mind, unless it’s not obvious, or in case it’s not obvious, that every room is going to have a shower in it as well. And that will possibly put more demands on your water supply and hot water heaters and possibly even the supply coming in from your city, depending on what you’re rated for, for the amount of water you usually use in a month.
Graham: And if you’re just adding on one float tank, it’s actually, it’s not too bad, but people are taking two showers for every float. So, over the course of a day you really can, if you’re filling that thing up, go through quite a lot of showers, which again, just depending on what type of business you’re in, if you’re in a shower relaxation business already, then people just come to your shop specifically to take relaxing showers, then you’re probably-
Ashkahn: You’re set.
Graham: Yeah, you’re done.
Ashkahn: Just put some float tanks in. Also buy your float tanks. Don’t try to build them. That’s something that you may or may not have heard that we’re pretty adamant about.
Ashkahn: Or you want to start a float tank company.
Graham: Yeah. Other than that, definitely go float. Don’t just take our word for it. Go hop in float tanks, and if you can, go hop in a bunch of different types too. Start checking out different centers and really just get a sense for it, and-
Ashkahn: Yeah. It is really cool. I mean-
Graham: Did you not hear the and at the end of my sentence? I was about to say a second part-
Ashkahn: And, it is really cool. I was picking it up. I got you. I got you. It’s really nice. People have really good experiences-
Graham: I was going to say that-
Ashkahn: … floating and doing other services, right? It’s really enjoyable to float and get a massage, or float before you go and do chiropractor work. Or float, and then, do acupuncture or vice versa-
Graham: Eat that sandwich.
Ashkahn: Yeah. Float and have a big meatball sub. These are great experiences. So it is a really nice thing. It’s not just that you’re adding one other service. It’s like you’re building a whole other rally range of what sort of complementary services you can do. And I’ve heard that. We don’t do that at our place and we have heard that from other places that people really like going to float centers where they can get a massage and float and just have a super, super relaxing day.
Graham: Yeah, for sure. And if you end up floating before you do another service, it tends to just get your body all relaxed for it and get your brain all mellowed out. And it’s just really this nice preparation. We’ve heard, even from massage therapists too, that getting their clients floating before a massage just makes doing the massage so much easier because the float tank did the hard work of getting all the muscles relaxed and loose and ready to go, and they can just hop straight into more of a deep massage.
Graham: And then, for after, it’s really nice because it sets in whatever work got done. If you get a chiropractic session, and then, you just go back out into the real world, you have gravity pushing down on you and it’s really easy to slip right back into your habits versus hopping into a float tank.
Graham: You have this period of 60 or 90 minutes where you’re removed from gravity and removed from all the stresses of the world, and the work that you just got can set in. So, I’ve heard it both directions too, as far as benefit for before or after, whether you hop in a float tank.
Ashkahn: Also you get to float for free, so secretly, that’s probably why you’re actually even wanting to do this in the first place, so might as well just come out with it. You just get to have a float tank that you can float in yourself.
Graham: Which is pretty cool. Yeah. Getting to go on really long late night floats is also just very satisfying at your own center.
Graham: Cool. Well we could keep talking about this, so let’s do that. No, but we like to keep these episodes digestible. Maybe we’ll even come back and revisit this a little bit more. We haven’t done this in a while, but if you have any questions specifically about, yeah, opening a center with other wellness practices in addition to floating.
Ashkahn: I don’t even remember the website.
Graham: It’s floattanksolutions.com/podcast.
Ashkahn: Oh. That does sound familiar.
Graham: Yeah, go. We still have a question box up there. We occasionally still get questions and mostly spam offers for strange pills from overseas, but yeah.
Ashkahn: We’ll do an episode on that pretty soon.
Graham: Yeah, go send us your questions if you have any and happy as always to answer them. Yeah. We’ll have a ton of great resources in the show notes too, so definitely go to that website page that I just described. floattanksolutions.com/podcast was that website page and, yeah, there will be a bunch of extra resources that you can look up there.
Ashkahn: Cool. Keep it mellow.
Graham: As we always say.
Ashkahn: Yeah. That’s how we end every episode. Keep it mellow.
Graham: All right, bye everyone.
Recent Podcast Episodes
Grashkahmn are back to talk about the latest product they’ve been putting together during quarantine: The Buoy Project, a social media toolkit designed specifically for float centers.
Beyond just a shameless plug, the boys use the episode to explain the nature of the project and what they hope it can turn into in the future with the help of the industry.
Graham and Ashkahn round out the end of the year by talking about all the naughty and nice things about having business partners.
It’s a shorter compilation today, which gives you plenty of time to talk to your own business partners about what you think about them!
The holidays are a busy time for float centers and it often means lots of new customers asking questions. This means it can be a really great time to brush up on the facts about floating. Fortunately we’ve formed a folio of fantastic studies for you to fancy. Feliz Navidad!
In every service business, there’s a running joke that someone likes that’s usually somehting along the lines of “this job would be great if it weren’t for all the customers!” (*cue laugh track and uproarious applause*), well, the boys have not shied away from talking about the difficult sides of running a shop like ours. We’ve got episodes about handling negative Yelp reviews, customers too intoxicated to float, and even what to do when it’s time to 86 a problematic client.
You can tell this episode was recorded a little while ago, really close to after we all got back from the Conference. The boys are a little tired today, but they still have lots to talk about.
Grashkahmn share their initial reactions to the Conference now that it’s being run by the industry as a non-profit. This is a nice episode especially if you’re looking for some insights on their behind-the-scenes perspective on this big industry event and how it has changed this year.
Latest Blog Posts
Even before experiencing a global crisis, float centers have had a hard time navigating social media, marketing, and just generally keeping their customers engaged. That struggle is even more real in the wake of the COVID pandemic. We’ve spent the last two months (in...
As our communities begin reopening amidst this pandemic, float centers are straddling a line between wanting to run floats and making sure they’re keeping their customers and staff safe. The collective social fatigue and stress are palpable, and it’s apparent to many...
In the first episode of Improving Your Float Center from Home: the Bathrobe Chronicles, Ashkahn and Graham covered the special deal that they're running at Float On during their closure. Watch the full episode below:For the deal, they're offering 25% off floats, and...
These are challenging times for all of us, and many float centers (ourselves included) have decided to temporarily shut down to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Our team got together yesterday to figure out what we need to do to put our shop into hibernation mode,...