Starting a Massage Business: The Complete Guide
So, you're thinking of starting a massage business? This guide will tell you everything you need to know to help your new massage therapy business become a success.
Through therapeutic touch, relaxing music and calming essential oils, massage therapists offer people relief from tense muscles, stress, and other challenges of the modern world. While it can be taxing on the body, the rewards are often returned tenfold.
Massage therapy has become an increasingly lucrative business niche in many countries, with rapid industry growth and evolution. However, there’s still plenty of room for those who may be looking to get started with their very own massage therapy business.
Whether you’re a practicing therapist who is ready to branch out on your own, or someone who’s completely new to the profession, starting a massage business can be simple with the right information to ease your way.
While starting a massage business isn’t as complicated as most people might expect, it’s definitely not a walk in the park either. You’ll need to prepare yourself for many of the same obstacles and challenges that other business owners face as you work to build your company from scratch.
With the right preparation, a positive outlook and some help from modern technology, there’s no reason why you can’t build up a successful and fulfilling massage therapy business, be your own boss, and have fun doing what you love.
We’ve broken down the process for you into simple, bite-sized steps below.
In this article, we’ll talk about:
- What you need to get started
- Creating a massage business plan
- Profiling your ideal client
- Building your massage website
- How to market your massage business
So let’s dive right in!
How To Start A Massage Business
Before actually starting a massage business, there are two things that you need to take care of:
Step 1: Get certified
The first thing you need to do before you can open for business is to complete massage therapy training and get yourself certified. In the U.S., most states regulate massage therapy, which means that therapists need to be certified and licensed before they are able to work. You may also need to complete a certain amount of study hours under a board-approved massage therapy school. (You can check this list to find out the regulations and legislative updates for each state.)
Even if you live in a country/area where certification isn’t required, it’s still a good idea to get it done. This can help protect you and your business, and ensure that you have a professional reputation.
Step 2: Determine which services to offer
The second step in starting a massage business is to determine what services you want to offer. There are over 80 different types of massage therapy available, and you’ll want to decide whether you want to specialize in a specific type, or offer a variety of different services to your customers.
Besides massage, you could also consider offering some additional massage-related products for sale as well. This would help you provide more value to your customers, while also allowing you to increase your revenue.
Creating a Massage Business Plan
Once you’re certified and have decided what services you want to offer, it’s time to draw up a detailed massage therapy business plan. This will help you gather your thoughts and ideas about what you want for yourself and your business, and will allow you to keep track of your long-term and short-term goals.
1. Choosing a massage business name
If you’ve been wondering how to start a massage business of your own, well, the first step is to choose a name. Come up with a shortlist of potential massage therapy business names - and then pick the best one. Your business name will be your brand, and will be printed on your massage business cards and clearly stated on your website and social media accounts.
Try to come up with a name that’s unique, yet easy to remember and read. If you need inspiration (or want to know if the name you want is already taken), try doing a quick Google search for ideas.
Some tips for good massage business names:
- Include your name (eg., Saloma’s Calming Massage)
- Use a theme/word related to massage therapy
- Use a theme/word related to the types of massage services you offer
TIP: The name you choose can also be used as your website domain name, so try not to pick something that’s too long or difficult to spell. Before settling on your business name, you’ll want to make sure that the domain name you want is available, so you can buy it later.
If you’re not ready to purchase a domain name yet, that’s fine. Consider setting up your website with Bookible. It’s free and easy to use, and we can help provide a domain name for you (eg., http://mymassagetherapybusiness.bookible.com).
2. Decide where you’ll be working from
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 38% of massage therapists run their business out of their own office, while 32% work from their own home. You’ll want to decide which of these options would be better for you.
Working from an office means that you’ll have to either buy or rent space, which will result in more overhead and startup costs. However, having your own office will allow you to serve more clients at once and possibly turn a larger profit.
On the flip side, working from home allows you to keep most of your profits, since you won’t need to pay for rent or building maintenance. However, you’ll have to make sure that your home has the space necessary for serving your clients and setting up a home office.
Mobile massage business
Besides working out of your home or office, you could also consider a mobile massage business plan. That’s when you bring your massage services to your clients instead of having them come to you.
According to AMTA, a whopping 45% of massage therapists visit their clients in their homes, while 18% go to their client’s workplaces - or wherever their clients may need them to go. While this allows you to save on leasing an office space as well, consider that you’ll still have to spend on commute, and will likely need to invest in a vehicle that’s large enough to transport your massage equipment and supplies.
3. Research your clients/target market
Another thing to think about before considering how to open a massage therapy business is your target market. It’s important for you to know who your customers are.
Ask yourself: Who are my target market? What is my ideal customer like?
You’ll want to perform some in-depth market research and analysis, and work on creating an ideal customer profile. Find out what your customers like or dislike, their average age range, gender, and other useful demographics. This will help greatly once you’re ready to begin marketing your massage therapy business later.
How To Market Your Massage Therapy Business
Now that you’ve got the basics of your business set up, it’s time for the fun part: telling people about it!
You could have the best massage business in the world, but it wouldn’t matter if nobody knows it exists - which is why it’s important to allocate some time, money and effort into marketing your business and building your customer base.
Here are some marketing strategies that you can use to help get your massage therapy business on the map:
Build a massage website
In today’s market, it’s essential for businesses to have a website and a strong online presence. Many massage therapists use their website as a way to communicate with clients, manage bookings and appointments, and inform people about their products and services.
According to Rehan Fernando, the CEO of Eight25Media, studies have shown that over 70-80% of people will research a company on the web before making a purchase decision, usually by visiting its website. “Even having a one-page website can establish credibility,” he says.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a programmer or web designer in order to build your own website these days. Anyone can do it, thanks to website-building platforms - like Bookible.
Bookible is probably one of the best free platforms out there for helping you set up your personal massage website and blog. Not only does it come with beautiful, ready-made massage therapy templates, it’s also incredibly easy for even complete beginners to use and customize.
It also incorporates a free online booking system and appointment scheduling software to help you easily keep track of things like massage sessions and other activity bookings. If you’re interested, you can visit this page to find out how we can get your website and booking system set up.
Get on social media
After a website, the second most important thing you’ll need is a social media presence. More than a third of Internet users say they go to social networks when looking for more information about a brand or product, and over 50% of marketers who implement social media tactics in their marketing have reported improved sales.
It’s a good idea to get active on several different social media channels - especially the ones where your potential customers hang out most. Create and share great content with them that informs, entertains and encourages engagement, and get people to like and share your posts.
Here are some suggestions:
Facebook - A great platform for running ads and engaging with new and existing customers. You can also reach a wider audience through influencer marketing campaigns, and build your social network.
Twitter - Best used for cross-promoting your website and other social media channels. You can also run promoted Tweets to promote your sales offers and events.
Instagram - One of the best places for brand marketing, and Instagram campaigns/challenges. Make full use of hashtags so people can find you!
Pinterest - A very effective network for ecommerce conversions. More than 40% of active Pinterest users (pinners) tend to purchase items/services advertised via promoted pins.
The key to effective social media marketing is cross-promotion. You’ll want to link and share your website and content across all your social media channels, and vice-versa. This will make it easier for customers to find and learn more about you - no matter which social media platform they’re on.
If you use Bookible to help create your website, you’ll easily be able to set this up. Our platform can help you to integrate and cross-promote any page from your website to social media - so you can share all your awesome content, promotions or events with your social media followers in just a few clicks.
Register with various health funds in your country
Many of your clients will want to claim their massage therapy with their health funds so that they can receive a rebate. By providing them the option to do so, you’ll make your business more appealing, and can keep them coming back for your services.
To make this possible, you’ll need to contact your local health funds and other organizations that offer discounts to their clients, and fill out an application form. You’ll then receive a unique provider number that you can use on your clients’ rebates to allow them to claim their massages.
Offer exclusive incentives
Adding incentives like promotions and discounts to your marketing campaigns can be a simple and direct way to boost your reach and retain your existing clients. Through offers and exclusive deals, you’ll be able to encourage people to continue using your services, and build up loyalty and trust.
Some ideas you can try are:
- Free massage sessions - Many massage therapists offer free 30-minute massages or other treats for first-time visitors.
- You might also consider setting up something like a points/credits system for members or recurring customers, so people can claim free massages or discounts.
- Referrals program - Set up a referrals program which rewards customers when they refer your business to their friends or family members.
- Rewards could be given out in the form of discounts, vouchers/coupons, or additional products/services.
Not sure how you can set this up? Well, Bookible has some handy additional sales features which can help you set up things like special offers, gift vouchers and coupons on your website, which you can then advertise on Facebook for your customers. Our platform also includes lots of other useful marketing features, which you can take full advantage of to help your massage therapy business succeed.
Final Step: Go Out And Succeed!
When it comes to starting a massage business, the key to a successful outcome lies in good planning, proper preparation, and the implementation of effective marketing techniques.
Here’s a quick recap of the steps you need to take to make things work:
Most states require you to have proper certification and a license in order to practice massage therapy. Being certified can also help boost your professional reputation and help protect your business.
Determine what services you want to offer.
Do you want to specialize in a particular type of massage, or would you prefer to offer a variety of different services to your customers?
Create your massage business plan.
Set up the basics of your business, such as choosing a business name and deciding whether to work from home or from an office.
Market your massage business!
Once you’re all set up, tell the world about your massage services and products through your website and social media. Offer promotions and discounts, and keep your customers coming back by providing them the option to claim their massages.
If you’re just getting started and need some help setting up your business, consider using Bookible. It’s the perfect all-in-one website, booking system, and business scheduling software that can really help your fledgling massage therapy business take flight.
Visit this page to learn more about the benefits of Bookible for your massage business and get started with a free trial!
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