how to start a massage business

How to Start a Massage Business: The Ultimate Guide

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Most people become a masseuse because they want to help people feel better and move more freely. But not every massage therapist is destined to work at a spa for someone else.

Sometimes it’s more fun to start your own business and be in charge of your rates, clients, and hours. But starting a business isn’t exactly the easiest task.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could find yourself out of business before you even start. Which is why we’ve developed this guide.

We want you to start the ground running in the right direction. With that in mind, here are the steps to take if you want to know how to start a massage business.

Step One in How to Start a Massage Business is to Get Certified and Licensed

It doesn’t matter if you already know how to start a massage therapy business. Without proper certification and licensing, you can’t legally conduct business.

Begin by completing all necessary courses for the type of massage work you want to practice in your business. You can receive your certification through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).

Even if you plan on specializing in a specific form of massage, it’s imperative you first learn the basics. You also will need to practice your craft at a clinic in order to get the hands-on experience you’ll need to start your business.

Most U.S. states require both certification and licensing in order to register as a certified massage therapist. Only Alaska, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming do not regulate massage therapists.

Form Your Business on the State and Federal Levels

You can’t legally have an open massage business without filing the proper paperwork at both the federal and state levels. But you can’t even do that until you figure out what type of business you want to own.

If you’re planning on being the only employee, then it makes sense to either form a sole proprietorship or an LLC (limited liability company). A sole proprietorship is less expensive and easier to form. However, you’re personally vulnerable should anything happen within the business.

An LLC is more expensive and takes more time to create. However, if someone ever sues you, they can only sue your business and not your personal assets.

Another choice, if your dream is to build a spa and employ dozens of people, is to consider forming an S or C corporation.

You’ll also have to contact the IRS to get an EIN number for tax purposes. This is easy to set up and doesn’t cost any money.

Determine Your Niche Client Base

If you want to start a massage therapy business, you have to first figure out who your client is. And no, “everyone” is not the right answer.

Not everyone is going to be a perfect client. Your goal is to attract customers who love your business, pay on time, and keep returning. You do not want customers who will never be satisfied with your services, no matter how hard you try to please them.

You do not want customers who complain about your prices and you certainly would prefer repeat business over one-time customers. It doesn’t even matter if you’re focusing on a specialized type of massage therapy or not.

Not everyone is your perfect customer. Spend some time doing research on the type of customer you want to attract.

Determine their age group, what type of work they might be in, and where they’re geographically located. The more you know and understand the types of people who will most likely become your clients, the easier it will be to find them and market to them.

Get a Website

Opening a massage business takes a lot of work, especially when it comes to marketing. You’ll need a way for people to find out about you.

A website is a great first step in letting people know that you’re open for business. Your website doesn’t have to be huge, but it does need to pertain specific information. Learn how to optimize your site for best SEO practices.

Make sure you choose colors that are comforting and appealing. Avoid having too much clutter on any of your pages.

Make sure you list your businesses location often and in easy-to-spot places. Make sure your contact information is also highly visible.

Include professional photographs and even a video or two that highlights your abilities. And unless you’re also a professional web designer, photographer or videographer, hire professionals.

Your website needs to reflect that you’re serious about your business. Posting poor quality photography or having a site with misspelled words only shows potential customers that you don’t take your own business seriously.

Click here to learn more about what a good massage website looks like.

Create a Budget

Opening a massage therapy business takes money. You’ll need to figure out whether you want to buy space or lease it.

You’ll need to determine how much money you want to spend on marketing your business. You’ll also need to remember to pay yourself a salary.

You may also have to purchase items like massage tables, waiting room chairs, and linens. Then there are the fees for licensing and forming the business.

If you plan on hiring employees, you’ll need to determine what costs are associated with that process. You’ll also need to remember to set aside money in order to pay your taxes.

Creating a budget will help you determine all of your ongoing expenses. It will also help you figure out how to price your services. However, people in service-based industries also have a terrible problem with not valuing themselves enough.

However, it can also be a simple matter of not knowing how to price your services properly. Be sure to charge what you’re worth.

Learn More Here

Even if you think you know how to start a massage business, there is always something new to learn. Join a massage therapy association for additional information.

Ask others in the massage therapy business about how they found success. Take courses on running a business.

And keep reading our blog. Our business posts are filled with tips and ideas on how to build a successful business. Click here to start learning.


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