Life is easy when you work for someone else. They provide the equipment, supplies and clients you need to make money. However, most massage therapists crave independence and control over their schedules. So, the majority of therapists opt to be self-employed. If you’re branching out on your own, you need to buy a few things. Here’s a list of massage therapists' must-haves to get you started.
Essential massage therapy equipment
The first items on the list are obvious. You need this equipment to do your job, but you don’t want just any equipment. Choosing equipment that will hold up to regular use and fit your type of practice is important.
Invest in the best one you can afford. Most reputable brands drop-test their tables with heavy weight to ensure they will hold any size person. They also come with a lifetime warranty. Don’t buy a table that has a low weight limit or no warranty. This is your most precious piece of equipment.
If you have a big budget and consider a hydraulic table. This can make giving massages much easier on your body. Hydraulic tables allow height adjustments while a person is on the table. That means your table is always at the perfect height for whatever you’re doing.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a portable table, even if you’re not moving it around. They are comfortable and are designed for daily use. Plus, they don’t take up much space. That’s important if your massage room setup is in a small space.
If you’re just starting out, offering chair massage at events or in corporate settings is good advertising. Even if you don’t plan to offer chair massage in your practice, it’s a good thing to have.
There will be occasions when a client can’t lay down. They may be recovering from surgery, experiencing vertigo, or their pain is increased by lying down. In these situations, a massage chair can be a life saver.
Look for massage chairs with a high weight limit and a warranty. Massage chairs aren’t as sturdy as massage tables. So, most have a lower weight limit than massage tables. Do your research before choosing one.
You’ll probably want to sit down while you’re working at some point. You’re gonna need a stool. This is a massage therapist must-have. So, choose something that's comfortable.
Just like the other equipment on this list, choose something meant to last. You’re going to be parked on this stool for hours every week. Well, maybe not parked. Your stool should have wheels so you can move around quietly and without notice.
Massage therapist must-haves for running a successful practice
Running a business these days requires technology. Massage therapists must have a way to schedule clients, market their business, and monitor finances. Before you open your doors to the public, have a system for handling all admin tasks.
Clinic Management Software
The difference between using software to manage your practice and doing it by hand is like day and night. Having this one thing in place will drastically eliminate your workload. It’ll also provide a smoother, more accommodating experience for your clients.
Software like ClinicSense, allows clients to book appointments online. Then send appointment reminders automatically. It gives you a place to record your SOAP Notes. You can send invoices and generate reports. You can even create and automate email marketing campaigns.
Choosing an all-in-one software can save you both time and money. When your calendar, appointment notes and billing are all integrated, you can automate a lot of tasks.
These days, virtually every business has a website. Potential clients are searching online for massage therapists. If you don’t have a website, they likely won’t find you that way.
Even when you get new clients with referrals, they’ll most likely visit your website before committing.
Design your massage website to reflect your brand's values and promote your services. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to look professional. Use a template or hire a designer to create it for you.
Tracking all the money coming in and out of your business is not optional. You need a system to keep track of everything and do the math for you.
Bookkeeping for massage therapy businesses is pretty straightforward. Not keeping it up to date can be disastrous. There are a ton of accounting software options available to business owners. Good clinic management software will even track the numbers for you. Explore your options, and do a free trial before committing.
Credit Card Processor
Most people expect to be able to use their credit card to pay for services. This is true, even for mobile massage therapists. So, you need a way to process credit card payments.
It’s easy and often free to obtain a credit card reader. Companies like Square and Stripe make it easy for small business owners to process credit cards. You can use an app on your phone and tablet or process payments online. Simplify the checkout process by linking your credit card processing account with your online schedule. That way, you get paid upfront.
Essential Massage Therapy Supplies
These massage therapists' must-haves are things that will be replaced regularly. Buying in bulk can save money and decrease the frequency of purchases.
You need enough sheets to last you at least a couple of days if you do laundry on site. If you use a service to launder your linens, you may need a week or two’s worth.
Choose the best quality sheets, blankets and towels you can afford. The feeling of these linens on bare skin is part of the massage experience. They should be soft. They also need to hold up to frequent washing. They might be thrown in the washing machine on a daily basis. That’s a lot!
Buy massage oils, lotions and creams in bulk. It will save you a significant amount of money, and you won’t have to worry about running out.
It’s a good idea to have more than one kind. Odds are, you’ll use your favorite most of the time. However, people have allergies to all sorts of things. You need to have options for those with sensitive skin and noses. Not everyone appreciates fragrances, but some people love them.
You’re going to do a lot of cleaning. The surfaces of your treatment room need to be wiped down between sessions. The bathroom needs to be cleaned every day. The whole clinic needs to be swept, dusted and sanitized. And don’t forget about all that laundry!
Choose products that are gentle on your equipment and are compliant with CDC guidelines. It’s worth buying in bulk if you have room to store it. Don’t forget about things like paper towels and hand soap too.