7 Considerations When Starting a Massage Business

January 22, 2016 5 min read


7 Considerations When Starting a Massage Business


Starting out as a massage therapist can seem either simple or daunting, dependent on your circumstances and your intentions for the business. Starting a business of any kind means there are some processes to follow, but it’s not always totally clear what they are. It is worth thinking about how you plan to advance your business effectively, and avoid the pitfalls that may trip you up if you haven’t educated yourself about things like legal requirements and good marketing. Whatever the case, there are a few basics that should be considered if you are hoping for a smooth process.

1. What is your business going to be?

First you’ll need to be clear about your plans for your massage business – if not, you could end up investing in the wrong equipment, wasting precious time on marketing, or losing profit through missed opportunities. Will you be a mobile therapist, or would you prefer to be mainly home based? If you like the idea of renting commercial premises, there is even more to think about. Even with home-based massage, there are considerations that may not have occurred to you.

If you decided to be home based, you would need to inform both your mortgage provider and the house insurance provider that you are using your home for business purposes. The local council will also require you to register them and apply for a license. Where will your clients park when they arrive? If they have to use street meters this could deter them from coming to you. If your therapy room is upstairs, how will you manage disabled or elderly clients? Will the hours you work bother your neighbours or people that you live with?

Mobile therapists will be required to report their new circumstances to their car insurance company because they want to know how far you travel each day. Will you have a phone number for your personal life and one for business? It would be very easy to come across in an unprofessional manner for new clients if you’re using your personal phone for work. It’s important to differentiate and have control over your work interrupting your social time and vice versa.

2. What will you call your business?

There’s a lot in a name. It is very easy to choose something clichéd, but you won’t stand out if you do. On the other hand, it’s not easy to find something catchy and clever, and it’s surprising just how many combinations you come up with will already be taken, even when you’ve spent hours thinking of different options! It is worth persevering though, and it best to aim for something relevant (so that it’s obvious what you offer), memorable, clever if you can manage it but not too pretentious. It may take some time, but at least this part is fun!

Once you have decided on a name, be sure to check with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) that the name you chose is not registered to someone else. One point to note is that companies that have names beginning with the earlier letters of the alphabet will feature first in listings and directories. As a client, if you’re looking to make a quick appointment somewhere in your local area and there are pages of listings, you’re going to go with something on the first page if possible.

3. Have you got the correct insurance?

Yes, it’s tedious, but it needs doing. Insurance for massage therapists is a very important consideration; it is as much for your own protection as it is for your clients, and you will need to have both public and product liability insurance, as well as professional indemnity. Don’t forget that copies of new qualifications need to be submitted as and when you attain them in order to covered for all eventualities.

4. What is your budget?

This one is obvious. Every massage therapist, whether setting up a therapy room or starting a mobile massage business will need some massage equipment, and when first starting out, cost is a major consideration. What equipment do you own already? What are the basic items you will need, and what extras can you afford? If you are on a restricted budget, you may be tempted to go for low cost items, but this can sometimes be a mistake.

For example, when buying a massage table, there are lots of cheap options on Amazon and Ebay, and of course they look great in the pictures. The problem is that the materials are low quality and they break and wear out quickly, costing you more in the long run. At Massage Warehouse we have a range of entry level tables for therapists on a budget; we recognise the need to have a high-quality item at a low price, so we designed this range with that in mind. Advertising (covered below) can be costly, so you might need to consider the price of any printed materials and advertising bills.

What products will you use? Will you buy in bulk from a quality wholesaler or pay more in installments from high street suppliers? Drawing up a budget and allocating costs according to priority before you start spending is very sensible.

5. Who are your competitors?

It is prudent to check out other massage therapists working in your area, what services they are offering and what prices they are doing the same services at. Dig out their websites and keep an eye on which products, treatments, promotions and offers they are advertising. It is important to try to have a USP (Unique Selling Point) and make this information clear to your potential customers.

6. How will your reach and attract customers?

Which methods will you use to pull in clients? Will you use newspapers, leaflets, magazines and social media? You will need to think about creating a strong brand and ensure you’re your target audience knows exactly what you offer and why they should come to you. Having a website and internet presence are among the most important methods of making yourself known, but posters and leaflets in the local area can be useful too.

Building a website is simple these days, although you will need to dedicate some time to doing it properly and there will be at least some costs involved. There are many templates on the web that are free to use and can be a good starting point until you know how far you want to take your business.

7. What support will you enlist?

There are many professional bodies in existence and their presence has several purposes: a directory of therapists, community, support, an information and training source and even a symbol of trust for your clients. The FHT is one organization that many massage therapists choose to register with, and in fact it can be difficult to secure insurance if you are not registered.

At Massage Warehouse we are qualified, experienced therapists and we know that many of our customers are massage students or newly qualified therapists. We are more than happy to advise on the right equipment for your needs and anything else we can possibly help with – just give us a call!

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