How to Start a Massage Therapy Business

Setting Up Your Own Massage Therapy Practice

A career in massage is quite an unusual one, in so far as two thirds of all masseurs are self-employed. The actual level of self-employment varies from the part-time worker who visits client’s homes to the entrepreneur who owns his or her own practice and employs several staff members. Both have potential to earn good money as well as the versatility that owning your own business and working for yourself offers. However, as with any business, the success of a massage practice is dependent on how well it is established and maintained. It can be difficult and will require you to undertake various roles above and beyond the role of a masseur.

If you are determined to establish your own practice then you already have one essential ingredient – determination. The initial hard work and long hours that are required to establish a thriving practice can prove too much for some people to bear. Things will get easier in time, though.


Depending on your location, it may be necessary to pass certain licensing laws. The regulations that govern this differ from state to state, and city to city so check all local laws. If you do need to become accredited then your state or city boards will give details of exactly what is required. Generally speaking it is usually necessary to complete a relevant formal education. You will be required to complete a minimum number of hours of educational experience. In most cases this figure is 500 hours, but it can be as few as 350 or as many as 1,000 hours.


Once you complete your training, it is feasible that you could start setting up your own practice immediately. In the case of those working from home or visiting clients’ homes, some research and local advertising will be needed to get under way. However, if you wish to set up a full practice with your own dedicated premises then you will need to find funding. The two most popular ways to find this funding are: 1) submitting a business plan and being accepted for a business loan or, 2) using your own money.

Often the best route is to start out working as a self-employed masseur. Gaining experience through short term contracts or call outs can be an excellent way to build a potential client base, gain valuable experience, and raise some much needed cash.

Business Laws

Every state has laws that govern the establishment and running of a business. You should carefully determine exactly what is required in your area and take the appropriate steps to set your business up properly. These laws are definitely not optional and a failure to adhere to them will see your business fail and potentially see you left with a hefty fine.

Hiring a solicitor can be helpful if you have the necessary funds available. A business solicitor will know of all the necessary licenses but they can prove expensive. Solicitors are also often aware of any grants or government loans that might be available, both of which can prove invaluable to the new business and are certainly worth closer investigation.

Advertising and Marketing

Opening a massage therapy practice demands the same rigorous program of marketing as any other business. If potential clients don’t hear about your practice then they won’t visit. On the other hand, without clients, it can be difficult to pay for a marketing campaign. You should start advertising as soon as possible. Local newspapers, local radio, and even local television stations are all valid and generally inexpensive options. Also, if you do have formal qualifications, then speak to your local physicians, doctors, and hospitals. They may be willing to advise your services to their patients or at least let you advertise in their establishment.

Customer Services

Running a successful business means keeping your clients happy. A happy client will keep returning to your practice and will generally do your advertising for you via word of mouth. Viral marketing, i.e. word of mouth, is among the most powerful forms of advertising available and costs you nothing except good manners and customer satisfaction.

Record Keeping

Businesses accumulate large amounts of data on a daily basis. All of this information will be important in the long run, especially when it comes to tax returns. Ensuring that you keep all the information you need may prove to be a struggle without careful planning. Most courses offered by massage schools also cover many of these aspects of running a business, another reason why you must consider getting your education before taking the leap to practice owner.


Becoming a masseur offers excellent potential, especially to those who wish to run their own business. Setting up any business is difficult without the appropriate knowledge and careful research. Massage schools in California do give the all round knowledge that is needed to run a successful massage practice.