Massage Therapy Business Tips

How To Start A Mobile Massage Business

updated on

April 25, 2024

How To Start A Mobile Massage Business

Starting a mobile massage business offers a unique blend of flexibility and personal client care, setting it apart from traditional spa settings. For many aspiring massage therapists, the allure of bringing therapeutic services directly to clients' homes is not just appealing but a viable business model. This article guides you through the essential steps to establish a successful mobile massage business, from obtaining the right certifications to marketing your services effectively.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to secure necessary certifications and insurance.
  • Tips for creating a comfortable, portable massage setup.
  • Strategies for marketing and growing your mobile massage business.

Let's explore the essentials of starting and operating a mobile massage business that not only meets but exceeds client expectations.

Setting Up A Mobile Massage Business

Starting a mobile massage business? Start by securing the right certifications and insurance to build credibility. Invest in quality portable equipment and create a comfy, mobile setup. Launch a user-friendly website and engage on social media for visibility. Network in your community and consider special offers to welcome new clients.

Obtain Proper Certification & Insurance

If you want to start a mobile massage business, the first thing you need is a license to practice massage therapy. The requirements for getting a massage therapy license varies by location, but you’ll need that before starting a massage business.

In addition to the required credentials, you may also need to obtain a vendor’s license with your state and register your business with your city. Check with local jurisdiction to learn what’s required in your area.

Before you start seeing clients, you’ll also need to obtain the right kind of insurance. At a minimum, you’ll need massage therapy liability insurance and a good auto insurance policy. Talk with your insurance provider to better understand your options and needs.

Create A Business Plan

Next up, creating a massage therapy business plan. Don’t jump into business without this. Take some time to think through the reasons you want to start a mobile massage business. What are your goals? What do you ultimately want to achieve?

Once you’re clear on your mission, map out how you’re going to get from where you are now to where you want to go. Your business plan will be a roadmap that guides you towards reaching your goals. 

Answer these key questions in your business plan:

  • Who’s your target market?
  • What’s your service area?
  • How will you handle scheduling?
  • What are your standard operating procedures?
  • How will you market your services?
  • What’s the start-up cost for your massage business?
  • What are the estimated monthly expenses for your massage business?
  • How will you price your services?
  • How will you manage the practice?
  • What are your long and short-term goals, and when will you reach those milestones?

Keep in mind, a business plan isn’t a one-and-done deal. As your practice evolves and your business grows, your business plan needs to evolve too. Review it at least once a year to measure your progress and make changes where necessary.

Create these 5 SOP's for your mobile massage business

Choose Your Services

As a mobile massage therapist, your service offerings might be more limited than if you were renting a massage room or starting a home-based massage practice. That’s because you have to bring all your supplies with you.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Massage add-ons like aromatherapy or CBD oil don't add much weight to your gear. You could also offer different massage modalities, or choose to specialize in one form of massage therapy. Ultimately, you should choose services that you’re good at, enjoy doing, and your clients need.

Pricing Your Services

The cost of mobile massage services is typically higher than if clients come to you. When pricing your services, ensure that your fee is high enough to cover your expenses and make a profit. Keep in mind, your expenses include a lot more than 60 minutes and a little lotion. Your fee should also cover the cost of gas and the time spent on your commute.

Research the going rate for massage therapy in your area. Then, determine your service area based on how far you’re willing to travel. Set your rates based on that coverage area. Also, don’t discount the value of the convenience of in-home services. That’s a luxury worth paying for.

If you plan on doing regular sessions at a client’s home, consider offering a discounted rate if they provide their own massage table. Many clients are willing to do this. A good strategy for promoting this arrangement is to offer an initial massage package that includes the cost of the massage table. You deliver it, and it’s theirs to keep. Then, give them a slightly discounted rate for eliminating the hassle of lugging all that equipment in and out of their house.

Purchase Equipment and Supplies

Once you have everything planned, it’s time to buy supplies. Create a list of essentials, and then shop around for high quality equipment within your budget.

Your massage therapy equipment checklist should include things like:

  • Massage table
  • Sheets and blankets
  • Bolsters
  • Massage stool
  • Massage creams, lotions, or oils
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Music subscription
  • Reliable car

Get Scheduling Software

Scheduling software is essential for mobile massage therapists. When you don’t have a receptionist and you spend your day on the road or with clients, you miss A LOT of phone calls. Playing phone tag is bad for business.

Offering online scheduling makes it convenient for clients to book appointments any time. Plus, you’ll have easy access to your schedule on your phone, so you can get clients to rebook before you leave their house. 

Using scheduling software also helps ensure you don’t waste your time driving to someone’s house when they’re not home. The software will send automated sms appointment reminders, so clients don’t forget. If you integrate your square account with your scheduling software, you can even store payment information to make checkout easy and to enforce your cancellation policy.

Create SOPs

Make a plan for how you’re going to manage the day-to-day operations of your mobile massage business. There’s a lot of paperwork involved in treating massage clients. You’ll need consent forms, intake forms, and a SOAP notes template. A place to store all those client files, and a system for staying organized.

Software is your best friend here. Instead of using a printable massage therapy SOAP notes template, use software for online SOAP notes. With massage therapy software, you can get all your forms online and share them digitally, no filing cabinet required. Plus, you can access your notes from anywhere because it’s all securely stored in the cloud.

Aside from paperwork, you also need a plan for managing your time and clients. This includes everything from how you set up in someone else’s space to dealing with difficult clients and setting boundaries. When you have policies in place for common scenarios, you won’t waste time thinking or stress about what to do.

Market Your Business

Once you’re set up and ready for business, it’s time to start marketing. Your business plan should include a marketing strategy outlining how you’ll promote your massage business. This plan will evolve over time. Your initial marketing efforts will likely include some trial and error, as you learn what works best. Choose a few strategies you can stick to consistently. Test them out for a few months, and revise your strategy based on results.

We’ll dive deeper into marketing your mobile massage business in the section.

Ways To Grow Your Mobile Massage Therapy Business

To grow your mobile massage therapy business, focus on enhancing your online presence through a professional website and active social media profiles. Invest in local SEO to attract nearby clients, offer referral discounts, and network with healthcare providers for referrals. Prioritize client experience to encourage repeat business and positive reviews.

5 steps to build a strategic massage marketing plan

Connect With Your Personal Network

For mobile massage therapists, starting with people you know is your best bet for getting new clients. Inviting a stranger into your home can be intimidating. It’s easier to establish trust if you have a shared connection (and that trust goes both ways). 

When you’re just starting out, your initial clients might be:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Acquaintances
  • Neighbors
  • Your partner’s colleagues
  • You kids’ teachers or coaches

Those initial clients will become ambassadors of your brand and a trusted source of referrals. Invest time in attending community events and volunteering locally to meet more people. Building your referral network will be key in growing your massage business. Connect with other healthcare providers and wellness businesses in town to build your referral network.

Create A Website

Everyone expects your business to have a website. Potential clients want to be able to look you up  online and learn more about you before booking an appointment. Design a massage therapy website that showcases your services and expertise - and makes it easy for clients to book online.

These days, it’s easy to build your own website. You’ll need to buy a domain name and hosting from a site like Wix or SquareSpace. Most hosting plans include a free website builder with templates you can easily customize. Just choose a layout, pick your colors, and add your photos and copy. You might be surprised just how easy it is. Alternatively, you can hire someone to do it for you, but that can be expensive.

Get Listed In Local Business Listings

Once you have a website, register it with local business directories. This helps ensure that when locals are looking for a massage therapist nearby, your name shows up. The most important business listing you can create is a Google Business Page because it’s the number one search engine consumers use. Your business page is what will show up on Google maps and a place where you can start collecting Google Reviews.

There are tons of places to advertise your massage business online. We created a whole list of places to list your business in this: Top 20 Websites To Advertise Your Massage Services How-To Guide

Create Social Media Profiles

Setup social media profiles for your business to increase visibility online. Use social platforms to educate people about the benefits of massage and connect with people in your community. Add your online scheduling link to your profile, so people can book an appointment without leaving the platform.

Need social media posts ideas? Just talk about the things you know. Answer questions clients often ask. Share fun facts and research. Join community groups and just talk about what’s going on around town. The main thing is that people see you. 

There’s also the option to create massage advertisements on social media. Facebook ads give you the ability to target specific neighborhoods, demographics, and people with specific interests. Keep in mind, if you want to screen your new clients, ads might not be the way to go.

Email Marketing

Once you have clients, it’s important to keep in touch with them. Your existing clients are your greatest asset and the easiest people to sell to. That’s why you need email marketing

Sending a monthly email newsletter can provide value and keep your services top of mind. Doing wellness check-ins is a good way to ensure your clients keep up with their regular appointments. Sharing weekly availability summaries really helps clients who need a last minute appointment (and helps keep your books full). You can do all that with email, and with massage therapy software you can automate it.

Consider Joining A Massage Association

Your reputation matters when building a mobile massage practice. You can increase your credibility, get access to valuable resources, and be listed in professional directories by joining a massage therapy association.

Depending where you live and practice, there are a variety of options available. The two biggest and most reputable massage therapy organizations are the Canadian Registered Massage Therapist Association and American Massage Therapy Association.

Offer A Referral Program

As a mobile massage therapist, your business will rely heavily on referrals. A good way to incentivize referrals is to start a reward program. Reward your existing clients with a small discount for referring new clients to you. Consider offering the new client a referral discount to encourage them to try you out.

Take extra business cards with you to clients' homes, and encourage them to give them to their neighbors. Share the details of your reward program with clients via an email newsletter and mention it when you’re at their house. 

Streamline Your Mobile Massage Business With ClinicSense

You can run your whole mobile massage business with ClinicSense. This software is designed specially for massage therapists. It has everything: scheduling, client communication and marketing features, financial reports, and customizable SOAP notes and intake forms. It’s everything you need, accessed from anywhere - whether you’re at home or on the go. Sign up for a free trial.

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