Business Opportunities for Massage Therapists

Published on August 8, 2020 by arothstein

Massage Therapist providing a client with a chair massage at her business.

Massage therapy has a long history as an effective healing practice with many cultures around the world, that dates back thousands of years. References to this type of healing have been found in the writings of the ancient Chinese, Japanese, Greek, and Egyptian cultures. With a little bit of experience, you can share this ancient healing practice by starting your own massage therapy business. Starting a business is challenging but there are many different business opportunities for massage therapists.

Why Start A Massage Therapy Business?

One of the more challenging opportunities is to start your own massage therapy business. Those that are motivated and self-sufficient are ideal candidates to be business owners.

Being an entrepreneur opens up a world of opportunities. Although it may be intimidating for you if you are just starting your career, there are however many opportunities for anyone willing to take the plunge. Some of the benefits of starting a massage therapy business include being your own boss, following your passion, becoming an expert, and improving massage therapy.

You’re the Boss

You are the person in charge of the business. You’re responsible for setting hours of operation and creating a list of clients. As a business owner, you make the decisions about the products and services you choose to offer. Ultimately, you have the challenge of starting a business and enjoying the rewards of success.

Follow Your Passion

If you don’t want to get stuck in a 9 to 5 and you have a passion for starting a business, massage is a business opportunity with low barriers to entry. If you want to help others and have an entrepreneurial spirit, massage therapy can help you meet your life goals and support you financially.

Become an Expert

Clients will rely on you for a variety of conditions. As you treat more clients, you will learn more about massage therapy. Over time, you can offer a unique experience that will give you a competitive advantage. You can also work with clients’ primary care physicians in developing treatment plans that are unique to their situation.

Improve Massage Therapy

You can work with mentors that have the experience and insight to improve treatments. You can even become a mentor yourself. Sharing new ideas with your peers and clients to aid in the healing process is important. Be open to innovations in the field and continuing education.

How to Start a Business?

There are many different steps to starting a business. You will need a business plan to get financing, business licenses, massage therapy equipment and supplies, a website, a good location, and tax help.

Business Plan

You should draw up a detailed business plan that outlines the objectives for the business and the plans to achieve them. When you’re applying for a loan, the lender must have a detailed plan to determine the loan amount. You will need to show a break-even analysis and explain the risks and barriers to entry. The more detailed the business plan, the easier it will be to get financing.


Learn about all the financing options available, including business loans from financial institutions, grants, and loans that are guaranteed by the government. You can also start a friends and family round of investing or save up enough to buy some equipment and go to a client’s house. A massage therapy business can start on a shoestring, but it can be important to create a client following before starting your own massage business.

Business License

Most businesses, even those that operate from home, need some type of business license. The type of license a business needs depends on the city, county and state in which it’s located, the type of products and services that are offered, and the industry that the business is in. There are also some restrictions for home-based businesses about marketing on the outside of the home and how many clients can frequent the business. Make sure to follow city, county and state guidelines so your business license is renewed each year.

Equipment and Supplies

The equipment and supplies for a massage therapy business include a massage table or massage chair. You’ll also need a supply of lotions and creams, massage and aromatherapy oils, essential oils, and towels. Additional supplies depend on the type of treatments you’ll offer clients.

Build a Website

Your massage business will need a central location for customers to go to understand more about your offerings, find contact information and allow them to interact with your business. Your website will also show up in local search results when a customer searches for massage therapy services on the Internet. The current customer is tech savvy and will take the time to visit your website and view your presence on social media before they decide to engage with your massage business.

Lease for Location

You can lease a commercial property for your business. It’s advisable to have an attorney go over the terms of the lease before you sign. This rule should apply whether you’re leasing an entire building or a room within a complex.

Tax Help

You will earn income that’s taxable. It’s essential to keep accurate records of all business transactions on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Taxes must be paid whether you’re currently a business owner or a part-time employee in a business.

Transaction Services like PayPal or Square

A transaction service like Square or PayPal are a necessity for a new business. Funds are deducted from another source like a checking account to pay for necessary supplies and equipment. A lot of clients like the ease of using PayPal to pay for transactions. If you decide to accept cash payments, make sure to keep track for tax purposes.

Building A Customer Base

When you’re starting a new business, networking with family, friends, and business owners in similar businesses can attract new customers. All businesses should have a website so potential customers can sign up for newsletters and get contact information. One of the most effective ways to attract new business is to have a presence on social media. Facebook is an excellent way to get referrals. Hosting a grand opening with special offers for new customers is also a good way to promote your new massage business.

Nothing is better at creating loyal customers and generating friend referrals like good customer service. Repeat customers is the life blood of any massage practice. Make sure the experience each client receives is special and that they post social media reviews. Happy customers will help you build your client base.

Where Can A Massage Therapist Operate a Business?

If you decide to meet clients where they are instead of opening up an office or joining a co-op, you have many different options. They include a client’s office, convention centers, malls, fitness centers and gyms, casinos, cruise ships, and a client’s own home.

Business Offices

Some companies offer complimentary massage treatments to employees as one of their perks in high-stress environments. Getting a corporate contract is easier than asking each individual if they want a massage. Work with the building manager or company office manager to secure a corporate contract and set up a chair massage at the office for employees to take advantage of.

Convention Centers and Malls

You can set up a booth at a convention center to offer treatments to attendees. Shoppers and people who work on their feet all day can benefit from a relaxing massage. A mall is an excellent location to set up shop.

Fitness Centers and Gyms

Working out at a fitness center or gym means rigorous exercise, which can leave muscles tight. A massage following strenuous exercise can recondition the muscles. Some fitness centers and gyms have a massage therapist on staff. However, others may allow you to work in their facility on a freelance basis.


You can work at casinos to offer guests complimentary neck massage when they’re at the gaming table for an extended time. Contact each casino and get permission to offer massage therapy to guests. Many poker players will sit for hours and request a massage if available.

Cruise Ships

You can work on a cruise ship that provides passengers with massages during their vacation. You will be responsible for keeping an inventory of all supplies, maintaining the treatment rooms, and spa equipment. One of the perks is that you can visit ports-of-call when you’re not working.

Client’s Homes

Working in client’s homes is the most common way you can start a massage business. When you provide home service, there is little overhead, and start-up costs are minimal.

How to Keep Your Clients Coming Back?

The most successful massage therapy businesses provide excellent service for their clients. Whether you’re working the business alone or have a staff working for you, it’s essential to provide each client with the best possible service.

One of the most effective ways to stay in contact with clients is with friendly reminders of their next appointment. Setting up a page on social media is another excellent way to keep in contact with regular clients and for potential customers to learn more about your massage business and the services you offer.

Final Thoughts

The first step in starting a massage business is to get certified as a massage therapist, which is a requirement in most states. You can graduate from a certificate program in less than a year. After passing the exam to be certified, you are ready to work as a massage therapist.

Are you looking for business opportunities in massage therapy? Ready to start a program to become a massage therapist? Broadview University developed the Massage Therapy certificate program with your future in mind. The certificate program is designed to emphasize skills and knowledge for entry-level employment as a massage therapist. The Massage Therapy program at Broadview University prepares students to take the MBLEx licensing exam offered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB). Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible for professional membership in such associations as the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

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