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Starting a chair massage business can be exciting and a little nerve-wracking. However, for the dedicated massage therapist, it can be a dream come true. The ability to have flexibility with scheduling, make good money and have their own business can be very appealing to many massage therapists. It is also a way to help a greater number of clients than with traditional table massage, as the massage comes to the client and not the other way around. With a little foresight and planning, this can be a satisfying venture.
Obtain marketing materials beforehand. Have pamphlets printed describing the benefits of massage therapy as well as business cards. It is important to appear professional and grow the business.
Consider location, whether you will set up in your own space and/or perform massages in other sites. Many massage therapists go to office buildings, corporations and even hospitals to work on employees during the employee lunch break. If possible, approach the business owner or manager to obtain permission to set up in their space. Some employers will even pay for chair massage for employees once or twice a month as an employee benefit. Others don't mind having a massage therapist in but consider it the employee's responsibility to pay individually. Be clear on what is expected. Speak with as many businesses as possible and distribute your pamphlets and business cards. Another option is offering massage services to sports teams or at local events. Always obtain permission to do so from the appropriate people.
Visit your local county offices or contact them online to find out what the local municipality requires as far as licensing and registering of a business. There are also websites, like Business.gov, to help someone starting a new business navigate the waters for their own particular state. It's also a good idea to invest in tax software for small businesses and keep meticulous records of income and expenditures. Registering the business ahead of time means that it will be possible to pay estimated taxes quarterly instead of paying all the taxes at the end of the year.
Collect the needed supplies. A massage chair is the most versatile choice. For those on a tight budget, massage schools often sell used chairs for a discount. There are also sometimes used massage chairs available on-line from Ebay.com or Amazon.com.
If you will spend most of your time working on clients in offices, there are also portable headrests. A client sits backwards in a chair and leans on a table in front of him, his head cradled in a specially made headrest. This is less expensive but relies on someone else providing a table and chair.
Disposable face rest covers should also be purchased in the interest of hygiene. If there will not be a sink available, a bottle of hand sanitizer or wipes are good to clean the hands between clients. It is also advisable to have wipes available to wipe down the chair between each client with sanitizing wipes or cleaning spray and paper towels.
Wear comfortable, professional clothing or scrubs. Long hair should be tied back, nails should be cut short and filed so as not to scratch clients and perfume should be limited or nonexistent, as some scents can bother clients.
Pack a few bottles of water to remain hydrated and a healthy snack for quick energy between clients if desired. Always show up on time and remain professional.
- Mayo Clinic "Massage: Get in Touch With Its Many Benefits." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020
- National Institutes of Health. "The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health "A Regional Analysis of U.S. Insurance Reimbursement Guidelines for Massage Therapy." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- Healthcare.gov. "What Marketplace Plans Cover." Accessed Feb. 14, 2020.
- Wear comfortable, professional clothing or scrubs. Long hair should be tied back, nails should be cut short and filed so as not to scratch clients and perfume should be limited or nonexistent, as some scents can bother clients.
- Pack a few bottles of water to remain hydrated and a healthy snack for quick energy between clients if desired. Always show up on time and remain professional.
Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.