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Massage Business Start-Up Cost: What You Need to Invest In

 

If you're getting the entrepreneurial itch, you’re not alone. 77% of massage therapists describe themselves as sole practitioners, according to a 2021 study conducted by the AMTA. You’re probably wondering, “how much does it cost to start a massage business?” That’s largely determined by what type of massage business you want to start. 

 

In this article, we’ll go over the essential investments required to start almost any massage business, as well as case-specific considerations.

 

How much does it cost to start a massage business?

The short answer: It depends.

 

As a massage therapist, you have a lot of options when it comes to being self-employed. In fact, there are more options available to you than many other professionals. Before you can determine how much it costs to start a massage business, you first need to determine what type of massage business you want.

 

Do you want to work by yourself, with other massage therapists, or inside another healthcare provider’s practice? You can start your own massage business within any of these parameters. You can be “the boss” or just be independent. It’s really up to you and the type of work environment and business you want to create.

 

Regardless of the business model you choose, you’ll need to invest some money to get started. Different business models have different start-up costs. However, there are a few investments you need to make in almost every situation.

 

 

  • Massage Table ($225 - $3,000)
    This will be your biggest investment. There is an array to choose from, including budget options and expensive hydraulic tables.

  • Linens ($160 - $450)

You need at least 2 days' worth of linens to ensure you can get through your workday without having to do laundry. If you plan on using a laundry service, you may need several days' worth of sheets, towels and blankets.

 

  • Lotion ($25 - $85)

You get the best deal by buying in bulk, and a little goes a long way. Buy the biggest container of your favorite oil, lotion or cream you can afford. A single gallon could last months if you’re not sharing it.

  • Clinic Management Software ($29 - $300)
    Investing in software to manage all your paperwork, scheduling and marketing can be the difference between a quick success and a long struggle. Running a business involves a lot more than just giving massages. Choosing affordable software like ClinicSense to manage the business side of things will make your life a lot easier.

  • License (varies by location)

It may be obvious that you need a license to practice massage therapy, but you may also need a business license. Check local guidelines to see what’s required in your area.

  • Website ($0 - $5,000)
    It’s hard to run a business without a website these days. Your potential clients are looking for you online. That’s why it’s important to have an online presence. This could be a free Facebook page, a professional website or anything in between.

  • Liability insurance ($97 - $350)
    It’s unlikely that a lawsuit will be brought against you for malpractice, BUT accidents happen. As a massage therapist, you need to be prepared for this. Massage liability insurance will protect your assets in the event that someone is injured during treatment.

  • Marketing Materials ($25 - $300)
    Advertising is essential to getting started. At a minimum, you need massage business cards. You might also consider massage gift certificates, brochures or even a massage flyer to post around town.

Now that you know what essentials you need, let’s take a look at different massage business models and compare start-up requirements.

 

 

 

How much does it cost to open your own massage clinic?

Opening your own clinic can be the most lucrative massage business model long-term. However, going this route does require a bigger financial investment than other options. It will also take some time to recoup your initial investment.

 

Opening your own business could simply involve renting a room in a group practice or gym. Alternatively, you may opt to rent an entire office space or buy a building. It all depends on where you’re at right now and your plan for business growth. In most cases, the space you work out of will be your biggest ongoing expense. 

 

When determining how much it will cost to start your massage business, consider the cost of the following start-up essentials.

 

Initial investment Requirements

 

  • Massage therapy equipment 

  • Office furniture

  • Down payment + First month's rent/mortgage

  • Signage

  • Website

  • Phone

  • Marketing Materials

  • Clinic Management Software

  • Business License

  • Utilities

  • Liability insurance



How much does it cost to start a massage business out of your home?

If you want to work by yourself, you can eliminate several expenses by working out of your home. However, you will need the right setup. Ideally, clients can get from your entrance to your treatment room without having to walk through your whole house. 

 

You eliminate the cost of rent, but you do lose some privacy. Unless your home is zoned residential-commercial, you can’t put up a sign. This means you have to find other ways to market your home business.

 

Here’s a list of essentials you’ll need to invest in to start a home-based massage business.

 

Initial Investment Requirements

 

  • Massage therapy equipment

  • Website

  • Phone

  • Marketing Materials

  • Clinic Management Software

  • Business license

  • Liability insurance

 

How much does it cost to start a mobile massage business?

If you don’t want to maintain an office space, you could offer in-home massage. Choose a homebase like a city center. Then, set your fees around how many miles you’re willing to travel from that homebase. 

 

While you won’t have the cost of renting an office or paying utilities, you will need a reliable vehicle and fuel. It’s also a good idea to advertise your business on your car - think mobile signage. This is a great way to attract the neighbors.

 

When opening a mobile massage business, consider how much time it will take to travel, ongoing costs and these initial investments.

 

Initial Investment Requirements

 

  • Massage therapy equipment

  • Vehicle

  • Car insurance

  • Signage for your car

  • Website

  • Phone

  • Marketing Materials

  • Clinic Manage Software

  • Business License

  • Liability Insurances