Building a Massage Business

Building a massage business can be a rewarding experience whether you’re a massage therapist who wants more freedom or one who knows you can do better on your own. While the process of building a practice can seem overwhelming, it’s manageable when approached step by step. If you’re committed to following through with a solid plan and determined to go the distance, you’ll be on your way to realizing your dream of building your massage business sooner than you think.

First Steps When Building a Massage Business

  • Make sure you’ve got what it takes. While building a massage business may be your goal, be honest about your strengths and abilities.
    • Do you have enough confidence and experience to work alone?
    • Are you willing to ask for support or help when necessary?
    • Do you have the financial resources to support yourself through business slowdowns?
    • Can you hold yourself accountable to following through on details?
    • Do you have the abilities to market yourself to new clients?
  • Conduct a market analysis. An assessment of local massage businesses can help you determine the best location, pricing and format for building a massage business. With this data, you can determine if your vision is practical.
  • Select a name and legal structure. Based on your market analysis, you can begin planning what you will offer in your new business. Decide on your legal structure, whether you will be the sole owner or a partner in a joint venture, since this will affect how you proceed. Select a name to give your new venture an identity so you can register your business.
  • Write a business plan. A record of your business’ definition and goals will help when making important decisions in building a massage business. It also can be useful to demonstrate your plans to prospective financial lenders.

Following Through on Building a Massage Business

  • Secure the right credentials. Before you act on your dream of building a massage business, obtain the credentials necessary to perform massage therapy on your own. Requirements differ by location. In some cases, both state and local licenses may be required. You may need the following:
    • Massage therapy license from your state and local governments
    • Business license from your county and/or city
    • DBA (doing business as) license from your state and/or county if you are using a name other than your own for your business
    • Sales tax permit if you plan to sell products
    • IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Local fire, police and health permits
  • Identify the Right Location. Based on your business plan, consider the best location for building a massage business that will succeed. Look at details such as parking, public transportation access, safety and nearby competition. Consider if you were a client, would you travel to your prospective location for massage therapy?
  • Secure the Right Insurance. Ensure that you have the right type of liability insurance to protect yourself, your business and your personal assets from personal injury or damage claims by clients. Understand what’s covered, what’s not and what’s at risk in building a massage business.
  • Secure appropriate funding. Whether it’s money supplied by friends and family or a local financial institution, ensure you have the capital necessary to get your business off the ground. If not, you may need to make concessions until you can afford to do so. Starting out with a mobile business may help you establish a solo reputation in which banks will be more likely to invest.

Supplies You’ll Need When Building a Massage Business

With the keys to your new location in hand, you’re ready to fill your space with the supplies every massage therapist needs when building a massage business. Your list of supplies may vary depending on the services you offer, your business model and your personal style. Here are some basic requirements:

  • Signage
  • Office furniture and fixtures
  • Lighting and decor
  • Computer system and software
  • Insurance billing software
  • General office supplies
  • Paper towels, tissues, toilet paper
  • Hand soap or sanitizer
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Coffee or other beverages
  • Bottled water
  • Massage tables
  • Massage chairs
  • Mats and pads
  • Blankets
  • Hot and cold therapy supplies
  • Music
  • Massage books
  • Massage videos
  • Anatomical charts
  • Towels
  • Oils
  • Aromatherapy supplies
  • Creams and lotions
  • Massage tools
  • Laundry service or detergent

Finding Clients When Building a Massage Business

Planning a strategy for finding clients is a significant consideration when building a massage business. With everything in place, you need to ensure a steady stream of revenue to offset your expenses. Some suggestions for securing clients when building a massage business are:

  • Advertise in local newspapers that target your prospects.
  • Offer discount introductory sessions via local mailings.
  • Place brochures at healthcare facilities, gyms and other health-related businesses.
  • Join local business groups to network with professionals who may be sources of referrals.
  • Present seminars at local community organizations or businesses to introduce the benefits of massage therapy.
  • Offer current clients a premium for referring new clients, since word-of-mouth recommendations are key when building a massage business.

Resources for Your Practice


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