How to Start a Massage Therapy Business

yummiec00kies, Creative Commons License

Working as a massage therapist is a very rewarding career, and starting a massage therapy business takes that reward to a whole new level. Not only do you have much higher financial rewards, but you get to provide an atmosphere where other massage therapists make their dreams a reality. If you have that magic touch that makes muscles melt like butter, then you may want to consider what it would be like to start a massage therapy business. It might not be as difficult as you think. Here’s how it’s done.

Decide what types of massage you would like to be able to offer your clients. There are a large number of massage styles to learn. Most massage therapists learn 2-3 styles of massage, one of which they will specialize in. Obviously, the more styles of massage you can learn, the more potential clients you will have, so think about the options and how fast you learn new skills, and then decide which options are best for you.

Take classes to learn the styles of massage that you want to offer. In order to work at a massage therapist, you will need to have a certificate from an accredited school. If you are unsure of where to take your classes, call a few massage therapists out of the yellow pages and ask them where they would recommend. Once you have referrals to a few locations, you can investigate each option on your own to determine which seems like the right learning environment for you.

Consider contracting your skills to an existing massage therapy business. Although this step is purely voluntary and can be skipped, there are some very strong advantages to doing this. First, you get an inside look at a competitor’s operation, allowing you to learn a few tricks of the business that they did not teach you in massage school. Second, it allows you to build a list of customers who will likely follow you to your new location, allowing you to have some way of paying all of the overhead associated with starting a massage therapy business.

Select a company name and register it in the state where you intend to do business. Company name registrations can normally be done at either the County Courthouse or directly with your Secretary of State. For more information on how to register a business in your area, contact your local Chamber of Commerce or County Clerk’s office. Either will be more than happy to provide you with information about how to start your massage therapy business.

Choose a location for your business. Location is always key no matter what type of business you are starting. The trick to finding the right location is to think about where your customers are located, and then identify an area that is central to all of them. The closer you can be to potential customers, the more likely they are to choose you over someone who is on the other side of town. Another trick to finding the right location is to remember not to rush it. If the right location doesn’t present itself right away, then keep looking. Never feel as though you have to settle in order to get a place set up quickly.

Address the lighting issue for the massage therapy business you are going to start. There are basically two schools of thought on how lighting should be done. One way is to make everything lit with diffused lighting, to create a dim and relaxing atmosphere. The other is to take the opposite approach, and make everything as brightly lit and clinical as you can. The choice that is best for you depends on the customers you target. Do your customers come to you because they like to feel as though they are receiving a medical treatment, or do they come to you because they want the ultimate relaxation experience?

Consider your options for ambient sound. Soft background noises, particularly running water and soft-spoken birds, can add a new dimension to the massage that your customer receives. You may wish to have a few various options and rotate them, or even give the customer a choice on the matter. Of course, you could also choose to go without ambient sound at all, but it seems to be a highly effective way of adding value to the massage.

Furnish your business. You will need a standard reception area like any business, and probably a waiting area or lounge, in addition to massage rooms. The furnishings that you choose for this area will vary greatly. If your massage therapy business is going for a more clinical, medical feeling, they you wouldn’t want a lot of pillows and drapery. Choose furnishings that are appropriate to the experience you are creating for your customers.

Hire other massage therapists. Hire as many therapists as your location can accommodate. Ideally, you would like to find massage therapists who have skills in different types of massage from one another. This allows you to offer your customers the widest variety of massage styles available. You should also make it a point to have both male and female massage therapists on staff, so that customers can have massage therapy in a comfortable manner.

Advertise the grand opening of your business. If you were smart enough to work at another massage therapy business while setting up your own operation, then you may have a few customers under your belt to get you started. However, you will really need to get the word out to people that your services are available. Take out advertisements in newspapers and local radio, and hand out business cards with a discount on the first massage. Form a budget for advertising and then build a campaign around that budget. Try to find the best way of getting your message out to the largest number of people while spending the most minimal amount of money.


  • You can earn even more money from your massage therapy business by merchandising various products. Acquire many spa like products to use on your customers, suggesting that they may like to buy some to use at home.


  • In most states, when you register a massage therapy business you will be required to also register the business with the local police department. Do not take this personally, because it is not personal towards you in any way. If anything, try to be glad that they are working so hard to keep the riff-raff out of the business.