How to Open a Private Massage Therapy Practice

massage therapy practice

Simple Steps to Success in Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has become mainstream and available everywhere in the US. Though the types of massage therapy varies, the steps for opening a private practice are straightforward.

  1. Complete an education in massage therapy. You must learn how to perform at least one type of massage therapy as well as learn the protocols for offering massage therapy in a clinical setting.
  2. Become a licensed massage therapist. Nearly all US states and territories require licensure for people to practice massage therapy. Passing the examination also allows you to call yourself a “licensed massage therapist.”
  3. Select a location. The structure must be zoned for commercial use, so check with your local municipality. Ideally, your location should have a waiting area, public restroom, and private changing area/massage room. Your home may be suitable with a few modifications; however, you should have a good location and separate entrance from your living space.
  4. Obtain a business license. Again, this goes through your municipality.
  5. Get insured. You should have insurance both for liability, in case someone gets hurt and also for your business, in case you become hurt or something damages your building or equipment.
  6. Set up your practice. Choose a soothing decor theme. Elements such as soft lighting, colors and sounds can evoke relaxation. Consult with an interior decorator if you need help. Turn on utilities and high speed internet access.
  7. Purchase equipment and supplies. These will include lobby furniture, a massage table, accent chair, bathroom supplies, and, for your office, computer, printer and desk. You’ll also need supplies like massage oil, diffuser, essential oils, towels, and patient drapes.
  8. Market the business. Since you’re not part of a large office, marketing is life or death for your business. Get a website, list your business on social media, update social media weekly, consider bulk mailing ads, post handbills on community bulletin boards and encourage friends and family to spread the word. Order business cards and brochures and pass them out everywhere. Offer initial clients a discount for clients they recommend. Promote the business at festivals, fairs and other events.
  9. Use the media. Send press releases to the news department (not advertising) of media outlets (newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations) within an hour’s drive of your location. About once a month, send another release with news of what you’re doing. You must have a hook, contact information and details on the business. Then make yourself available to media when they contact you.
  10. Join organizations. The local chamber of commerce, massage therapy organization, local business groups, and health-related organizations are among the few that could help you network.