Opening a massage therapy business can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching a successful massage therapy business.
Importantly, a critical step in starting a massage therapy business is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template here.
15 Steps To Open a Massage Therapy Business:
- Choose the Name for Your Massage Therapy Business
- Determine the Type of Massage Therapy Business You Will Launch
- Develop Your Massage Therapy Business Plan
- Choose the Legal Structure for Your Massage Therapy Business
- Secure Startup Funding for Your Massage Therapy Business (If Needed)
- Secure a Location for Your Business
- Register Your Massage Therapy Business with the IRS
- Open a Business Bank Account
- Get a Business Credit Card
- Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
- Get Business Insurance for Your Massage Therapy Business
- Buy or Lease the Right Massage Therapy Business Equipment
- Develop Your Massage Therapy Business Marketing Materials
- Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Massage Therapy Business
- Open for Business
1. Choose the Name for Your Massage Therapy Business
The first step to opening a massage therapy business is to choose your business’ name.
This is a very important choice since your company name is your brand and will last for the lifetime of your business. Ideally you choose a name that is meaningful and memorable. Here are some tips for choosing a name for your massage therapy business:
- Make sure the name is available. Check your desired name against trademark databases and your state’s list of registered business names to see if it’s available. Also check to see if a suitable domain name is available.
- Keep it simple. The best names are usually ones that are easy to remember, pronounce and spell.
- Think about marketing. Come up with a name that reflects the desired brand and/or focus of your massage therapy business.
2. Determine the Type of Massage Therapy Business You Will Launch
The next step is to determine the type of massage therapy business you will launch. The four main types of massage therapy businesses are:
- Private: These businesses are typically run out of a massage therapist’s home or office, and services are provided on an appointment-only basis.
- Mobile: This type of business involves going to clients’ homes and providing massage therapy services.
- Spa/Clinic: Massage therapists in this setting typically work as employees of a spa, clinic or other healthcare facility.
- Sports: Massage therapists in this setting typically work with athletes to help them recover from injuries and improve their performance.
3. Develop Your Massage Therapy Business Plan
One of the most important steps in starting a massage therapy business is to develop your business plan. The process of creating your plan ensures that you fully understand your market and your business strategy. The plan also provides you with a roadmap to follow and if needed, to present to funding sources to raise capital for your business.
Your business plan should include the following sections:
- Executive Summary – this section should summarize your entire business plan so readers can quickly understand the key details of your massage therapy business.
- Company Overview – this section tells the reader about the history of your massage therapy business and what type of massage therapy business you operate. For example, are you a spa, clinic, or independent massage therapist?
- Industry Analysis – here you will document key information about the massage therapy industry. Conduct market research and document how big the industry is and what trends are affecting it.
- Customer Analysis – in this section, you will document who your ideal or target customers are and their demographics. For example, how old are they? Where do they live? What do they find important when purchasing services like the ones you will offer?
- Competitive Analysis – here you will document the key direct and indirect competitors you will face and how you will build competitive advantage.
- Marketing Plan – your marketing plan should address the 4Ps: Product, Price, Promotions and Place.
- Product: Determine and document what products/services you will offer
- Prices: Document the prices of your products/services
- Place: Where will your business be located and how will that location help you increase sales?
- Promotions: What promotional methods will you use to attract customers to your massage therapy business? For example, you might decide to use pay-per-click advertising, public relations, search engine optimization and/or social media marketing.
- Operations Plan – here you will determine the key processes you will need to run your day-to-day operations. You will also determine your staffing needs. Finally, in this section of your plan, you will create a projected growth timeline showing the milestones you hope to achieve in the coming years.
- Management Team – this section details the background of your company’s management team.
- Financial Plan – finally, the financial plan answers questions including the following:
- What startup costs will you incur?
- How will your massage therapy business make money?
- What are your projected sales and expenses for the next five years?
- Do you need to raise funding to launch your business?
4. Choose the Legal Structure for Your Massage Therapy Business
Next you need to choose a legal structure for your massage therapy business and register it and your business name with the Secretary of State in each state where you operate your business.
Below are the five most common legal structures:
1) Sole proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is a business entity in which the owner of the massage therapy business and the business are the same legal person. The owner of a sole proprietorship is responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. There are no formalities required to establish a sole proprietorship, and it is easy to set up and operate. The main advantage of a sole proprietorship is that it is simple and inexpensive to establish. The main disadvantage is that the owner is liable for all debts and obligations of the business.
A partnership is a legal structure that is popular among small businesses. It is an agreement between two or more people who want to open a massage therapy business together. The partners share in the profits and losses of the business.
The advantages of a partnership are that it is easy to set up, and the partners share in the profits and losses of the business. The disadvantages of a partnership are that the partners are jointly liable for the debts of the business, and disagreements between partners can be difficult to resolve.
3) Limited Liability Company (LLC)
A limited liability company, or LLC, is a type of business entity that provides limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners of an LLC are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The advantages of an LLC for a massage therapy business include flexibility in management, pass-through taxation (avoids double taxation as explained below), and limited personal liability. The disadvantages of an LLC include lack of availability in some states and self-employment taxes.
4) C Corporation
A C Corporation is a business entity that is separate from its owners. It has its own tax ID and can have shareholders. The main advantage of a C Corporation for a massage therapy business is that it offers limited liability to its owners. This means that the owners are not personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the business. The disadvantage is that C Corporations are subject to double taxation. This means that the corporation pays taxes on its profits, and the shareholders also pay taxes on their dividends.
5) S Corporation
An S Corporation is a type of corporation that provides its owners with limited liability protection and allows them to pass their business income through to their personal income tax returns, thus avoiding double taxation. There are several limitations on S Corporations including the number of shareholders they can have among others.
Once you register your massage therapy business, your state will send you your official “Articles of Incorporation.” You will need this among other documentation when establishing your banking account (see below). We recommend that you consult an attorney in determining which legal structure is best suited for your company.
5. Secure Startup Funding for Your Massage Therapy Business (If Needed)
In developing your massage therapy business plan, you might have determined that you need to raise funding to launch your business.
If so, the main sources of funding for a massage therapy business to consider are personal savings, family and friends, credit card financing, bank loans, crowdfunding and angel investors. Angel investors are individuals who provide capital to early-stage businesses. Angel investors typically will invest in a massage therapy business that they believe has high potential for growth.
6. Secure a Location for Your Business
Having the right space can be important for your massage therapy business, particularly if you’d like to meet clients there. When looking for a space, you should consider how much space you need, how many massage tables and chairs you will need, how accessible the location is to potential clients, whether it has ample parking and how much it costs.
To find the right space, consider:
- Driving around to find the right areas while looking for “for lease” signs
- Contacting a commercial real estate agent
- Doing commercial real estate searches online
- Telling others about your needs and seeing if someone in your network has a connection that can help you find the right space
7. Register Your Massage Therapy Business with the IRS
Next, you need to register your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which will result in the IRS issuing you an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Most banks will require you to have an EIN in order to open up an account. In addition, in order to hire employees, you will need an EIN since that is how the IRS tracks your payroll tax payments.
Note that if you are a sole proprietor without employees, you generally do not need to get an EIN. Rather, you would use your social security number (instead of your EIN) as your taxpayer identification number.
8. Open a Business Bank Account
It is important to establish a bank account in your massage therapy business’s name. This process is fairly simple and involves the following steps:
- Identify and contact the bank you want to use
- Gather and present the required documents (generally include your company’s Articles of Incorporation, driver’s license or passport, and proof of address)
- Complete the bank’s application form and provide all relevant information
- Meet with a banker to discuss your business needs and establish a relationship with them
9. Get a Business Credit Card
You should get a business credit card for your massage therapy business to help you separate personal and business expenses.
You can either apply for a business credit card through your bank or apply for one through a credit card company.
When you’re applying for a business credit card, you’ll need to provide some information about your business. This includes the name of your business, the address of your business, and the type of business you’re running. You’ll also need to provide some information about yourself, including your name, Social Security number, and date of birth.
Once you’ve been approved for a business credit card, you’ll be able to use it to make purchases for your business. You can also use it to build your credit history which could be very important in securing loans and getting credit lines for your business in the future.
10. Get the Required Business Licenses and Permits
In order to operate a massage therapy business, you will need to obtain a number of business licenses and permits. Some of the most common licenses and permits needed include:
Business License – This is a general license that all businesses must have. It is usually issued by the local government and allows you to operate your business in a specific location.
Health Department License – In order to provide massage services, you will likely need to obtain a health department license from the local health department. This license will allow you to operate a massage therapy business in compliance with local health codes.
Zoning Permit – Zoning permits are required for businesses that operate in specific areas (e.g., commercial areas vs. residential areas). If your massage therapy business falls into a specific zoning category, you will likely need to obtain a zoning permit from your local government in order to operate.
Tax ID Number – In order to open a bank account for your massage therapy business or hire employees, you will need to obtain a tax ID number from the IRS. This number is used to track your business’ payroll tax payments.
Nearly all states, counties and/or cities might also require:
Fire Department Approval – a process by which the local fire department reviews and approves the installation of a fire alarm system.
Depending on the type of massage therapy business you launch, you will have to obtain the necessary state, county and/or city licenses.
11. Get Business Insurance for Your Massage Therapy Business
When you’re starting a business, it’s important to protect yourself and your business with business insurance. There are a number of different types of business insurance that you may need for your massage therapy business. Some of the most common types of business insurance include:
General Liability Insurance – This insurance protects your business from any lawsuits that may arise from accidents or injuries that occur at your business.
Professional Liability Insurance – This insurance protects your business from any lawsuits that may arise from mistakes or negligence on the part of your employees.
Property Insurance – This insurance protects your business property in the event of a fire, theft, or other natural disaster.
Business interruption insurance – This insurance helps protect your business income in the event that there is a disruption in your operations (e.g., a fire destroys your office building).
Find an insurance agent, tell them about your business and its needs, and they will recommend policies that fit those needs.
12. Buy or Lease the Right Massage Therapy Business Equipment
In order to provide massage therapy services, you will need some basic equipment. This equipment may vary depending on the type of massage therapy business you launch, but typically includes:
Massage table – This is a must-have for any massage therapy business. Look for a massage table that is comfortable and adjustable.
Massage oils – These help lubricate the skin and provide a soothing experience for the client.
Towels – You’ll need plenty of towels to keep your massage area clean.
Therapist sheets – These keep the therapist from coming into contact with any bodily fluids from the client.
Some other items that you may want to consider purchasing include:
Pillows – You’ll want to have plenty of pillows on hand to support the client’s head and neck during a massage.
Back supports – These help the therapist keep their back healthy during long massages.
13. Develop Your Massage Therapy Business Marketing Materials
Marketing materials will be required to attract and retain customers to your massage therapy business.
The key marketing materials you will need are as follows:
- Logo: Spend some time developing a good logo for your massage therapy business. Your logo will be printed on company stationery, business cards, marketing materials and so forth. The right logo can increase customer trust and awareness of your brand.
- Website: Likewise, a professional massage therapy business website provides potential customers with information about the services you offer, your company’s history, and contact information. Importantly, remember that the look and feel of your website will affect how customers perceive you.
- Social Media Accounts: establish social media accounts in your company’s name. Accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and/or other social media networks will help customers and others find and interact with your massage therapy business.
14. Purchase and Setup the Software Needed to Run Your Massage Therapy Business
Software you need to run your massage therapy business will depend on the type of business you are starting. However, some common software programs used by massage therapists include:
- Scheduling software to manage appointments
- Bookkeeping software to track income and expenses
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software to store client information
Make sure the software you choose is compatible with your computer system and that it provides all the features you need to successfully operate your massage therapy business.
Research the software that best suits your needs, purchase it, and set it up.
15. Open for Business
You are now ready to open your massage therapy business. If you followed the steps above, you should be in a great position to build a successful business. Below are answers to frequently asked questions that might further help you.
How to Finish Your Massage Therapy Business Plan in 1 Day!
Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your Massage Therapy business plan?
With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!
Click here to finish your Massage Therapy business plan today.
How to Open a Massage Therapy Business FAQs
Is it hard to open a massage therapy business?
No, it's not hard to open a massage therapy business. You simply need to purchase the necessary equipment and software, and set up your business according to the law.
If you follow the steps above, you should be able to open your massage therapy business without too much difficulty.
How can I open a massage therapy business with no experience?
If you're looking to start a massage therapy business but don't have any experience, you may want to consider getting a massage therapist certification. There are many different programs available, which will teach you how to provide massages, how to work with clients and how to run a successful massage therapy business.
Alternatively, if you have some experience providing massages but don't have any formal training, consider taking some courses or workshops on how to start and run a massage therapy business. This will help you learn the essential skills needed to be successful in this industry.
What type of massage therapy business is most profitable?
Some of the most profitable massage therapy businesses are those that offer a variety of services, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and aromatherapy. Additionally, businesses that are located in high-traffic areas or affluent neighborhoods are often more profitable.
How much does it cost to open a massage therapy business?
The cost of opening a massage therapy business can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the type of business, the location, and the equipment and supplies needed.
Costs include renting or purchasing space, purchasing equipment and supplies, and hiring employees (if necessary).
If you're looking to start a massage therapy business on a shoestring budget, you may want to consider starting small. You can offer your services to friends and family members, or to local businesses. Once you have a few clients, you can then start marketing your business more aggressively.
What are the ongoing expenses for a massage therapy business?
The ongoing expenses for a massage therapy business can vary depending on the size and scope of your business.
Some of the common ongoing expenses for massage therapy businesses include rent/mortgage payments, phone bills, advertising costs, utilities, insurance premiums, and employee salaries (if you have employees). You'll also need to factor in the cost of purchasing new equipment or supplies as needed.
How does a massage therapy business make money?
A massage therapy business can make money in a variety of ways. The most common way to make money is by charging clients for services rendered. You may also choose to offer package deals or discounts to attract new clients. Additionally, you can sell products such as massage oils, lotions, and other related items. Finally, you can offer workshops or training classes to teach other people how to give massages.
Is owning a massage therapy business profitable?
Yes, owning a massage therapy business can be very profitable.
Yes, owning a massage therapy business can be very profitable. This is because there is a high demand for massage services, and people are typically willing to pay a premium for quality services. Additionally, the cost of running a massage therapy business is relatively low, which helps to keep profits high.
Massage therapy business owners can earn between $50 and $150 per hour depending on the type of services they offer. Additionally, massage therapy businesses can enjoy high profit margins due to the low cost of operating the business.
Some of the key things you can do to make your massage therapy business more profitable include:
- Offering a variety of services
- Charging a premium for your services
- Offering package deals
- Selling products
- Offering workshops or training classes
- Optimizing your website for SEO to increase online visibility
- Targeting a growing niche market that you can expand into in the future
- Providing outstanding client service
Why do massage therapy businesses fail?
There are a number of reasons why massage therapy businesses can fail.
One of the main reasons that massage therapy businesses fail is a lack of planning. This can include not having a detailed business plan, not doing research on the industry, and not targeting the right customers.
Another reason is a lack of marketing and sales skills. This can include not creating a sales process and not have a clear and strong value proposition.
The last main reason is a lack of financial management skills. This can include not having a realistic budget, not tracking expenses, and not investing in the business.
Who are key players in the massage therapy market?
The massage therapy market is made up of a variety of different players, including small businesses, large enterprises, and even individuals.
Some of the key players in the market include:
- Massage Envy
- Heavenly Massage
- The Healing Arts Institute
- Massage Retreat & Spa
However, there are many other players in your specific target market, and it is important to research the market to identify the key players that may have the most direct influence on the success of your business.
How much should I charge for my massage therapy services?
Massage therapy fees can vary depending on the type of massage therapy services being offered, as well as the size and scope of the project.
However, some common massage therapy fees include:
- Swedish massage: $80 - $120 per hour
- Deep tissue massage: $90 - $150 per hour
- Sports massage: $100 - $200 per hour
- Hot stone therapy: $90 - $125 per hour
- Prenatal massage:$70 - $125 per hour
The best way to determine the right fee for your massage therapy services is to research the rates of similar businesses in your industry, and to also consider the value that you will be providing to the client.