Tips to starting your own massage business

Jun 17, 2020

Massage therapy is a widely utilised service, which means there’s great potential to start your own successful venture. If you don’t like the idea of working for someone else, massage therapy is a perfect sole trader gig without too many associated overheads.

Yet before you untie your shoes and jump in the deep end, have a think about what you might need to consider first.

Qualifications and associations

We’re sure you already know this, but before you head out, you’ll need adequate qualifications before this discussion even begins.

Do extensive research on what type of qualification best suits you, as there are a variety of viable options depending on the type of massage you want to specialise in. If you can, find a niche in a crowded space to corner the market.

Not only do you need the requisite qualifications, you should also be joining relevant associations. Such memberships can be proudly displayed on your website and bring credibility, but the benefits of joining associations includes collecting industry contacts and receiving up to date knowledge that may affect you.

A couple of different associations include the Massage Association of Australia and the International Institute for Complementary Therapists. You will also need to get your Professional Indemnity Insurance. You certainly don’t want to be operating without it.

Also ensure you have achieved sufficient accreditation to qualify for health fund rebates. This is important and will expand your appeal to customers looking to maximise the use of their health funds and receive discounts.

Where will you operate?

This is an extremely important consideration. Will you be opening up a physical clinic where clients can uptake your massage services? Will you be centered upon home visitation? Alternatively, you may prefer to create a space at home and invite clients there instead.

All options have potential benefits and drawbacks and you must decide on what suits your style and works best monetarily.

Obviously, the home and mobile services will come with much lower overheads and rid yourself of burdens such as leasing and clinic fit out. But on the other hand, professionalism and growth can be achieved with a massage clinic that is kitted out and fit for purpose.

Software

If you want your massage business to run smoothly with the least amount of admin humanly possible, don’t think you’re more efficient than software. Automated technology will win every time.

You will need a variety of solutions including:

  • booking/client management software
  • ecommerce solution
  • POS (point of sale) software
  • cloud accounting app

These are the minimum when it comes to the platforms you will need to run a successful massage operation. Better yet, look into extremely useful integrations between your apps and software to create a unified solution which radically reduces time spent, errors and legwork. Let your solutions chat to each other and share information.

For example, you can integrate your booking software, POS and ecommerce solutions with your accounting app to get real time insights into your financial position.

Equipment and branding

You will, of course, need professional equipment to achieve your massage business goals. If you’re on the road, you’ll certainly need a high-quality portable massage table. If you’re in house or on premise, you can splurge on a proper table or chair.

Then you’ll need towels, hand sanitisers, lubricants and coverings. Don’t cheap out here – impressions are everything.

Think about your brand too. Can you order some towels with your logo on it? Can you brand your table or use brand colours to increase the impression you impart to your client?

What about what you are wearing? Can you brand yourself tastefully as well with a logo or tagline on your shirt?

While your equipment is an integral necessity in your role, you can also use it to promote your services and create recognition and loyalty. It doesn’t take much effort either.

Be pandemic minded

As many allied health professionals know, the industry has just begun recovering from a forced shutdown due to COVID-19.

To put it lightly, things have changed.

You now need to think about the fresh fears and trepidations in your clients’ minds, as well as how you can shape your own business response.

This may well be the time to think about becoming more flexible in your model. Perhaps you no longer need an expensive on premise fit out? Or perhaps you need to simply diversify in order to provide services that may insulate you from future shutdowns or limitations on movement and gathering?

Your hygiene response and client messaging will need to change too. Incorporate safe hygienic practices into your work and ensure your marketing is replete with commitments to COVID-19 safe practices to allay concerns.

You should also consider embracing contact free payment options, online booking and a mobile-first mentality.

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