Whether you’re already a qualified therapist or on the way to becoming one, owning and running your own massage business is an exciting and challenging project. Working for yourself brings the kind of satisfaction you simply won’t get in any other workplace, no matter how good it may be.

While setting up a massage business is by all means possible, you need to be informed and prepared before you decide to take the plunge.

There are many things to consider before opening up your own clinic. Your brand, the therapy room and clinic’s design, the employees you’ll hire, materials and equipment, OHS guidelines, marketing, and customer satisfaction, amongst others. There’s also the setting: are you prepared to rent a place to set up your clinic, or would you prefer to set it up at home?

These points are basic considerations you’ll have to carefully consider and sort out before you can decide if running a massage business is something you’d be willing to do.

Once you’ve made the decision, you can use this comprehensive guide to setup every element of your massage business.

Chapter One:

Important Things to Consider Before Setting Up Your Massage Business

To start with, let’s focus on a few crucial key points you’ll need to sort out before setting up your massage business. You’ll need to get an ABN (Australian Business Number) in order to pay tax; register your business name; consider relevant insurance policies for client injuries or accidents; and keep up with industry news by aligning yourself with massage associations. Involving yourself with massage associations will also help build your credibility. Another important point are health funds rebates: are they a worthwhile extra to include in your massage business? Do you really need them?

Chapter Two:

Designing your Massage Rooms

The design of the massage rooms within your clinic is crucial for your client’s massage experience. Relaxation and comfort should be what you strive for, followed by tranquility, plenty of storage room, screening and minimalistic decorations. Size is important as well - the massage room should be large enough to accomodate a standard massage table and still have enough room for you to comfortably move while doing your job. The ambiance (helped along by sounds, or lack thereof) and smell are also important. The type of floor is also important, as well as installing mirrors and getting the lighting right.

Chapter Three:

Hiring employees for your massage business

Team members are the face of your brand and business; even more so when it comes to a small business. The employees you hire will play a significant role in business productivity as well as culture of your clinic. In order to successfully hire employees for your massage business, you’ll need to a have a comprehensive recruitment process. This should entail knowing exactly when to hire, having a clear profile of the desired employee, mapping out the interviews’ goals and questions, any employee benefits you could provide, contracts and hire arrangements, team building, motivational activities and more.

Chapter Four:

Stocking your clinic with the right materials and equipment

You’ve got the knowledge - but to put in into practice properly, you’ll need to stock your clinic with the necessary equipment and supplies. Some examples of vital equipment are a quality massage table, a proper storage unit to maintain all materials in good condition, speakers and music equipment, and maybe even a monitor to show instructional videos.

Having the right materials in your clinic is also important. Items such as towels, massage table covers, foot rolls, lotions, sanitisers, massage bolsters, polo shirts and most importantly, high-calibre therapeutic oils, are essential for your business.

Chapter Five:

Making sure your massage clinic is set up following OHS guidelines

Before you can work on people’s bodies, you need to ensure your clinic follows all OHS guidelines and legal procedures. While some of these rules and regulations can seem a bit daunting at first, they go a long way in making your clinic trustworthy, safe and high quality.

Following the OHS guidelines from obtaining the right qualifications, abiding by the code of ethics, forming a professional client-therapist relationship, and signing up for insurance to staying informed in the industry will allow your business to earn a strong positive reputation.

Chapter Six:

Things to consider if you’re setting up your business at home

One incredible benefit of being a qualified massage therapist is having the option to set up your business at home. Having your clients come to you in the comfort of your home can be a huge bonus, especially if work-life balance and family life are a personal priority.

As with any decision though, there are a few things to keep in mind. Working from home means you won’t have much interaction with other therapists, so staying well-informed about massage therapy is a pressing concern. Other considerations include allocating the right amount of space to set up your equipment and materials, furnishing the clinic, and making sure the ambiance is right.

Chapter Seven:

Marketing your massage business and attracting customers

This step is crucial for the livelihood of any business. At the end of the day, customer satisfaction, as well as gaining new customers, should be your primary focus. Thankfully, there are many tools at your disposal for you to market your business, including social media. Having a strong social media presence will take your credibility and visibility to the next level. Not only will it give you the chance to get to know your current and potential clients, but it will allow you to track engagement. Alternative ways of attracting new customers include but aren’t limited to giving out freebies, optimising your website, and positioning yourself as an expert.

Chapter Eight:

Methods for retaining your existing clients

Once you’ve got clients, making them happy should be your priority. While the best way to do so is to do your job to the best of your ability and let your work speak for itself, there are small extra things you can do to retain your existing customers.

Examples include personalising your services, trying to connect with and remember details about each customer, offering beverages with the service, being accommodating, giving small gifts and being open to feedback. Little touches like these will make a huge difference for your client and increase client retention rates.

It’s time to get started

Setting up your own massage business is an exciting but challenging time. There are so many things to think about, and important decisions to make before you decide if it is the right path for you. We hope this resource shed some light on any questions you may have on the topic and will guide you in making these big decisions.

Serious about setting up your very own business? If you like to help people feel better and more relaxed, are looking for a hands on (literally) occupation, and the idea of flexibility sounds appealing, a career in massage therapy could be for you. Once you’ve got the qualifications, anything is possible, including setting up your own therapy clinic.

Take a look at some of the fully qualified courses we have here at Discover Massage Australia today.

Need products for your massage business?

Take a look at our range here