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    16 Replies Latest reply on Mar 13, 2014 9:18 AM by Moderator Melinda

    How to start a massage business?

    daizyfish Wayfarer

      Hi I am 28 years old and have been a licensed massage therapist for two years. I am planning to start my own massage business soon and looking for any information related to starting this type of business. For example, do you hire someone to build a website? How do you associate yourself with the doctor's/chiropractor's offices to get referrals? Thank you for your help.

        • Re: How to start a massage business?
          LUCKIEST Guide

          You start a massage business like you start any other business.

          The first step is always to have a Business Plan.

          The Bus Plan is like a road map to success.


          It would also be helpful to give us more info about yourself.


          Best of luck and have a successful New Year.



          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: How to start a massage business?

            Hi Daizyfish,

            Welcome to our forum and thank you for introducing yourself to the community. Please peruse our forum and offer us your business opinions so that we may gain direction and guidance from each others experiences. I am sure that many of our community members will appreciate your expertise and value what ever information you can offer us.

            If you would like some guidance for writing a good business plan, try this link. Building Your Business Plan

            You may also want to get yourself a great accountant to ask about needed paperwork and licensing.

            Question that I have is where have you done your hands on practicing to receive your license? Can you start by word of mouth there? Have you tried to contact gyms to set up shop there? You could leave your business cards in several doctor's offices. Many of them have bill boards in the hallway.



            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: How to start a massage business?
              daizyfish Wayfarer

              Hi LUCKIEST and Melinda, thank you for your comments and suggestions!


              I completed my 500-hour massage therapy program at the Alhambra Medical University and became certified as a Massage Therapist. In the past 2 years, I have been gaining hands-on experience at various spas, body/foot massage stores, and acupuncture clinics. My specialties include Shiatsu, deep tissue, swedish, reflexology, and circulation massage.


              Do I need a business plan regardless of the scale of my business? i.e. even if it's just setting up a few massage chairs in the open areas of a mall? Thank you!

              • Re: How to start a massage business?
                chicagocio Scout

                Hello daizyfish!


                A business plan certainly makes sense.  You'll certainly need to think about things like marketing, location, etc.  One of the other things you'll need to think about is what sort of information technology you need.  Getting started you don't necessarily need a lot, but you do want to set yourself up so that if you get busy, your IT solutions will still work for you. Biggest thing is to make sure that IT/software solutions are a part of your business plan because these can be a part of how you distinguish yourself and compete.

                • Re: How to start a massage business?

                  Daizyfish, there is another area that maybe even untapped as far as massage therapy is concerned. I know of some companies that pay or allow their workers to receive massages at the work place during work hours in order to insure their workers health. The one that sticks out in my mind is the local sewing factory. I don't have to describe what it's like to sit behind a sewing machine for 8 hours on end. The owner offers "free" massage services twice a week while the woman are doing there assigned work stations. Most prefer to have their back massaged for 15 minutes. Some woman ask for a more in-depth service during their 15 minute break and have their hands and feet massaged. You might want to look into office work as well. Sitting behind a computer and typing away for hours can take a toll on a persons back and hands.

                  • Re: How to start a massage business?
                    Tran Nguyen Tracker

                    Hi Daizyfish,


                    Sorry for chiming in so late -- I just got out from under the stack of tax returns =)


                    Many entrepreneur think of a business plan as a packet of paper that outlines the business from start to finish. To be completely honest, I started my accounting firm with a cocktail napkin and the word "Operational-Cost Accounting" written on it.


                    One helpful thing to use instead of making a complete business plan is to do a SWOT Matrix. That is Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat analysis. Where it looks as such

                                            "S - W

                                             O - T"

                    The idea being, you list your strengths -- personal & business. Then the weaknesses that you and your business will have. Then using the strengths, you come up with opportunities that play into your strengths. The "threat" is generated by your weaknesses and they can be both internal (ie. limited cash flow) and external (ie. saturated market).


                    That will give you a great idea of where you currently stand with the ability to start a business.


                    Business Format

                    One thing to consider is the type of business and setting you want. Doctors and physicians are rather unwilling to send referrals to massage therapist with a mall operation. It is not because the lack of skill -- but instead, the presentation and atmosphere.

                    If you want referrals from doctors -- consider working directly with them. Several of my most successful massage therapists come to the doctor's office. They are covered under their own insurance and because the doctor is paying them -- they can still charge it to the insurance as part of the doctor's visit.

                    Several others have established a "massage collective" where everything is shared. Doctors send referral and if one therapist is busy, another can take the client and it becomes a bit faster flowing with higher growth.

                    How to get referrals

                    This is always the hard part. Considering that referrals have to be earned, doctors aren't always willing to give them out. But, you can always call up and ask other therapists if they have a client they don't like dealing with and you are willing to take them off their hands -- who knows, the client might just mesh better with you.

                    Consider going to networking functions like Chamber of Commerce or condo complex. In St. Louis, a lot of massage therapists setup shop at restaurants with long wait time. All they need then is a chair and a sign -- plus, the endorsement of the restaurant.

                    This kind of approach would not diminish your appearance as you are there only on special occasions and also advertising. A perfect example would be myself. One of the high-end cigar & scotch lounge I frequent have come to know me simple as "The Accountant". It is a place where strangers and clients alike come to discuss their financial situation and to get financial advice.

                    I do not charge and it gets my name out to everybody that is there. I do not mind because I enjoy the talk and the company. But overall, it is great free marketing.

                    The point is, there are a lot of ingenious ways to find referrals and get your name out there.

                    I hope this helps!

                    Tran Nguyen


                    • Re: How to start a massage business?
                      Lucy Adventurer

                      28 years old is a very amazing age,I am the same age as you,I have registered the company last year for the exports,as all the suggestions that creat a website is very important,you know what make the sales become easy which it is the B2B or B2C business,so u can't ignore this steps,regarding to hire the employ,if you have the funds to afford it and you wana ur business become stronger,u can do industry is DC DC converter

                      how about yours?

                      • Re: How to start a massage business?
                        crifjohnson Tracker


                        According to my view How old are you?? Don't play a major role in any type of business, The things matter that is related knowledge and skills for the business, age never help to grow-up business.I also agree that a website is needed, It just work as a information System for the client.

                        • Re: How to start a massage business?
                          brentjohnson Newbie

                          I think first of all you must create the website from for your business.The website should be self descriptive about your business.Promote your business online in social media or advertisements .Initially provide some discount offers on the therapies.boca raton web designer

                          • Re: How to start a massage business?
                            QuantumHealth Newbie

                            Hello Daizyfish...congratulations on starting your business!


                            As a business coach for 20 years, I've coached many people who are starting as you are.  The most important things are...


                            1.  Write your business plan i.e., what do you want your business to look like in 1 year, 2 years, 3 years?  It won't grow overnight.  If you plan a big enough future, you'll have more clarity in making some of these business decisions.

                            2.  Measure for PROFIT.  It's not enough to bring in income.  You want to plan to pay yourself a salary, pay expenses, pay taxes, and still have money in your account at the end of the year.  How much do you want to have?

                            3.  Design your Sales Plan to fit your plans for Profit.  For instance, if you want to have $10,000 in savings by the end of the year and pay yourself a salary of $60,000, you must have Gross Revenue of $70,000 plus the amount of taxes (about 30% of your salary), plus any Overhead Expenses i.e., rent, utilities, phone, auto, gas, sheets, laundry, insurance, etc.

                            4.  Define your Target Market.  Who is your ideal client/customer?  What are their demographics - age, location, male/female - pregnant women, people healing from cancer, women going through menopause, people who are injured (work related injuries), baby boomers interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

                            5.  If you share an office, you may not need a website right away.  The doctor may already have one that you'll be added to as part of their team.   

                            6.  Your work is very personal in nature.  People don't generally come to you because of your website.   Build your clientele by personal introductions.  Make a list of 10 people to talk with daily.  If they are not ready to work with you, ask them who they know (refer back to your ideal client/customer)?  Grow your list of contacts.  And, just because someone said "no" doesn't mean it's "no" forever.  Call again in a few weeks or a month to give them an opportunity to experience greater health.


                            These are questions you want to answer - write them down - before interviewing any doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists - about sharing their office.  Remember, you are not looking for a J-O-B.  You are establishing your own business.  Anyone you share an office with must be a fit for your vision and be willing to support you in your SUCCESS!


                            For a complimentary business design session, see

                              • Re: How to start a massage business?
                                attard Adventurer

                                Although I strongly believe businesses should have websites, that would not be the top of my priority list for your business.

                                As several others have mentioned, you should write a business plan. It can be fairly simple, but you need one to be sure you understand what will make the business successful, and to use as your road map as you going forward. It should also be reviewed during the year and every year to see if there are changes you need to make in the plan to reach your goal.


                                One point I didn't see anyone so far mention, is that you need to look into getting insurance for the business. You will need insurance that will cover you and legal fees if someone sues you or your business (or both) saying that you injured them in some way with your massages. If you will also need business insurance that covers against things like slips and fall, and other similar injuries. A business insurance broker will be able to help you identify the right products. Chances are, you will be required to carry and show proof of that type of insurance if you rent space in a mall. I would expect that corporations are likely to require proof of insurance, too, to protect themselves If you injure their employees.


                                If you'd like some checklists and general guidance for getting started, you can find a startup checklist, cost calculator and business planning worksheet here:'ll see links to all of those  if you scroll just a little bit down that page.

                              • Re: How to start a massage business?
                                mmaur604 Wayfarer

                                Dear Daizyfish,


                                A good friend and colleague I trust, Ms. Lily Starling, has created a program specifically for massage therapist seeking to start or to fill their practice profitably and systematically run it as a business.  Lily struggled with the same issues in her practice, solved them and then wanted to help other massage therapists find success.  You can go to her site and investigate and even receive a free success guide.
                                Fill Your Holistic Practice | Marketing for Massage Therapists, Acupuncture, and Holistic Practitioners

                                (I receive no compensation for this referral, I am not an affiliate, just a friend)

                                Hope that helps,