Have you ever had a good massage? It’s pretty relaxing, right? Just about everyone loves to be messaged in one way or another, and that demand can be turned into a fun, profitable, and highly rewarding career.
If you enjoy working with people and aren’t afraid to use your hands, then perhaps you should consider a career in massage therapy. It’s easier than you think to start your own business, and the rewards are pretty great. I don’t massage people for a living (just words,) but I can tell you one thing: it’s obvious why people spend so much on massages each year.
Just look at these numbers…
Massage therapy is a popular career choice and the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) estimate that there are about 350 accredited massage therapy schools in the United States and about 300,000 massage therapists. Most schools require a high school diploma.
As a career choice, there are many paths you can take after graduation. Since massage is physically demanding, full time work is considered to be about 17 hours of actual massage work. The rest of the time can be spent on running the business, doing things like billing, scheduling, and finding new clients.
Since career choices are flexible, incomes vary greatly. Massage can be practiced in a variety of locations like a massage office, a medical clinic, a hospital, a chiropractic office, a health club, a spa, a resort, or a cruise ship.
The AMTA offer the following statistics about career choices:
- 69% of massage therapists are sole practitioners.
- 48% of massage therapists work part time at client’s homes.
- 27% of massage therapists work in health care (hospital, clinic, chiropractor’s office)
- 25% of massage therapists work in a spa or resort.
- 17% work at a client’s health center.
Education and Training
There are three steps to becoming a massage therapist:
First, complete education and training at an accredited massage therapy school.
Second, after graduation, meet municipal or state licensing or credentials.
Regulation and licensing requirements vary by states. Massage therapists need to pass either the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
Third, create your own business or contract your services to an existing business.
7 Steps to Start Your Own Business
As an entrepreneur, you can work independently or an independent contractor. As a massage therapist, you can offer a variety of services, ranging from therapeutic massage to sports massage.
When you go into business for yourself, you can accept insurance or direct payments from the client.
7 Steps to Setup Your Own Business:
- Decide what type of services you want to offer and whether or not you want to work alone or as a subcontractor in an established health care business. You may, for example, decide not to focus on getting clients but work at a health care center with a chiropractor or orthopedist that already has clients. However, if you have a knack for business, you will earn more working for yourself.
- Take action by either leasing office space or contracting out your services. If you are starting your own business, look for quality massage chairs for sale, as well as sheets, towels, lotions, and other equipment you will need. Although candles, décor, and a musical system are not necessary, they add ambiance to your office.
- Pick your business name, and then go through the steps to register it with a state agency or county office. This registration process will include doing a fictitious name search or a DBA (Doing Business As) search, requesting a name, and filling out the application forms.
- Decide on whether you want to set up a sole proprietorship, a corporation, or a limited liability company, and then file a state incorporation document. You can hire an attorney to write the incorporation documents if you don’t want to do it yourself.
- Go to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website, find the Employer Identification Number (EIN) application, and apply for an EIN. You will need this number to open up a business checking account and to hire employees.
- If you have savings, you can finance the business yourself or you can find a list of lenders on the Small Business Administration (SBA) website. In order to get approved for a commercial loan, you will need to present a formal business plan and prepare a pro forma statement. The lender will probably ask for a down payment and collateral. The down payment can range from 10% to 40%, and the collateral may be waived if the lender is satisfied with the down payment.
- Finally, get insurance. Speak to a licensed insurance agent. They will be able to tell you what type of insurance you will need to protect your business from malpractice and liability. If you are hiring someone, also find out about health and dental insurance.
Massage therapy is a caring profession that enhances the well-being of clients. While there are hoops to jump through—going through a formal education, getting licensing and credentials, and then establishing a business—it is a worthwhile pursuit. The rewards depend upon diverse factors, including what you choose to specialize in and where you choose to work.
For instance, a massage therapist working on a cruise ship will not make as much money as someone running their own business. On the other hand, the massage therapist on the cruise ship will get free room and board, as well as a change to see the world.