Starting a massage therapy practice is a goal for many therapists. However, it can be expensive and time-consuming, requiring careful planning and budgeting.
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Opening your own massage therapy practice is an exciting venture for your professional career. It allows you to broaden your clientele, has greater control over business operations, and most importantly, boosts your revenue. However, it also incurs significant responsibilities that you need to learn how to manage. These responsibilities range from creating a relaxing environment for your patients, handling administrative processes, and staying on top of finances. When you are deciding whether or not to open your own massage therapy business, the most important aspect you need to factor in is front-up costs. Although this process is fairly expensive, with the right type of budgeting and planning, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to establish a successful business right off the bat. In this guide, we’ll outline the various expenses you can expect, so you can be informed and ready to handle whatever financial hurdles come your way.
When it comes time to plan the necessary expenses for your massage business, it is a good idea to categorize your growth into different stages.
The initial start-up stage is arguably where you need to be the strictest with your finances. Starting any new business will always have financial risks, so it is important that you keep your costs to a minimum. We’ll go over what expenses are typically included in starting a massage business shortly, but this period will likely include you working individually and either operating from home or renting a cheap space.
The growth stage occurs after you have established your business. You will want to focus on broadening your clientele and attracting new patients, which will mean investing in marketing and expanding to a bigger space. In addition to these expenses, you may also want to consider hiring new staff, including other massage therapists and administrators.
After you have been established for a certain number of years and have a regular clientele, there will be fewer expenses. You will be able to rely on a steady flow of income, with little risk of unexpected costs. Additionally, it is likely that you will have paid off the majority of your investments or loans, allowing you to focus on boosting profit.
The renewal stage occurs at the very end of your career when you decide to retire. Deciding what to do with the business that you have grown from the ground up can be a massive decision that has a significant impact on your retirement. Depending on what you want to do, you can either sell the business or let other staff manage it while you remain the owner.
Typically, expenses related to starting your massage business are going to cost the most. There are definitely ways that you can keep these costs to a minimum, but you should be prepared for the likelihood of having to dig fairly deep into your savings. The most important start-up areas that require investment include the following:
To work as a massage therapist in most states, you need to be qualified and own a license. The length and cost of this training are largely dependent on where you live but you can expect to pay somewhere between $3000-$8000.
Depending on what state you live and work in, the massage therapist license and application have an associated cost of around $100. These generally expire after 2-3 years, meaning this is an ongoing expense.
Rent is undoubtedly the most expensive cost associated with starting your own massage therapist. The actual price of rent is highly dependent on your geographical location and the size of your facilities, and you may decide to work from home in the early days of your career so as to save costs.
Having comprehensive insurance is an absolutely essential component of owning your own massage therapy practice. This will protect you in the unfortunate event of malpractice suits, and can potentially save you money in the long run. Insurance can cost anywhere between $200-$600 annually.
Marketing your massage therapy practice is the best way for you to spread information about your services. The specific type of marketing that you invest in will differ, but it is definitely a good idea to look into generating referrals and reviews as a method of attracting new clients.
It is probably a good idea to invest in a new landline specifically for your business, in addition to using your mobile. Although this is a smaller cost, it will still influence your budget and so needs to be accounted for.
Processing credit card payments incur costs for businesses. Whilst you may choose to primarily offer online payment options (which is a good way to cut unnecessary costs), it is also important you are as flexible as possible in order to cater to patient preferences.
As a massage therapist, there are a number of different types of equipment that will help ensure your business is successful and increase your customer retention rate. In addition to massage tables, oils, towels, and sheets, you may want to consider investing in massage therapist software to help streamline certain practice management tasks.
Accounting can either be done in-house or with the help of an outsourced accountant/bookkeeper. Both of these options are suitable, and each will incur its own expenses. Accounting is an extremely important aspect of helping your business reach success, so it is important you spend a bit of time perfecting this process and ensuring you have effective protocols in place.
After you have budgeted the expenses required to start your massage business, it’s time to think about how much you will charge for your services. Wrapping your head around how profit and tax deductions work may take a little time, and because revenue is always in flux, it is essential that every dollar either spent or received is recorded. Setting prices usually begins with your target demographic - you want to make sure that your prices are affordable but without risking losing money. One of the best ways to attract clients to your practice if you can’t afford to lower your prices is to introduce loyalty programs. These may be a limited 2-for-1 deal or a membership program that gives discounts to members. Another important aspect of defining your prices is to look at the competition. Typically, a customer will scope out all of their options before selecting the one that is reputable and affordable. Investigating what competing businesses are selling their services for will help indicate the margins that you need to be working within, and you can go from there. One of the hardest parts about defining prices is assigning a numerical fee to your expertise and training. At the end of the day, there is no one way to go about this, and as long as you are attracting customers and maintaining a profit, then you are doing something right! The last thing you should keep in mind is that things change - you’re not locked into anything you do, and if you think the prices you’ve set aren’t feasible, they can always be altered.
Starting your own massage therapy business is a daunting but exciting prospect. Financially, there are a lot of factors that you need to consider before committing to anything, and the best way to account for these is to plan! Develop a thorough budget that outlines all of your expected costs, and work from there. Once you have gathered this information, you can begin to look at other areas, including developing your business brand, reducing no-shows, and establishing a loyal client base. Despite the hard work that is required, all of these processes are extremely exciting, and allow you to build a successful and reputable massage business.