Guidelines for Running a Freelance Massage Business

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If you’re a massage therapist at a salon, spa, or similar establishment, chances are the facility provides your space, equipment, and supplies for you. If you’re a freelancer, or running your own massage business, you have to buy your own. While many massage schools teach the importance of doing well in your massage business, they don’t often give specifics.

Where to Buy Equipment and Supplies

Ideally, you would go to a store that specializes in massage tables and supplies, and try “test driving” things before you buy them. Unfortunately, some areas don’t have those types of stores.

If you don’t have a massage store in your area, you should check with an online retailer like Massage Table Outlet. Even if you do have a store nearby, it couldn’t hurt to check out the products in-person, then shop online to see if you can find the same table at a better price.

Your Location

Do you plan to work from a set location, or do house calls? Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Many therapists opt for doing house calls because the overhead is substantially lower than it would be for renting a space. One of the disadvantages of doing house calls is that you have to carry all of your supplies and equipment with you. Safety can be another issue.

The advantage to having a set location is that don’t have to transport everything, but it can be expensive – especially if you’re just starting out. If you opt to work out of your home, there are also safety issues to consider.

Some therapists work out agreements with other medical professionals, like physical therapists and chiropractors, for a dedicated space in exchange for offering services to their patients.

The Type of Table

Whether you tend to make house calls, or work out of a set location will determine whether they type of equipment you purchase.

·  If you plan to do mostly outcalls – even if you also have a set location – you would benefit from a light-weight portable table and a sturdy bag with ample pockets for carrying your oils, sheets, and anything else you need.

·  If you plan to work out of a set location, and have a dedicated space, you should purchase a permanent table with storage drawers.

·  If you plan to work out of a set location, and don’t have a dedicated space, you should purchase a portable table that you can put away when not in use, and invest in a cabinet for storing your oils and other supplies.

Pricing

The prices you set are up to you, however you should do research on what other therapists are offering. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not a good idea to seriously undercut your competition. It might get you a decent number of initial clients, but it can also lead a lot of people to wonder why your services are so cheap.

Not to mention that when you seriously undercut your competition, you are also setting yourself up for failure. You had to spend a certain amount of time and money to learn your profession. You have to expend a certain amount of time and energy when you give a massage. All of that is worth something, and when you underprice your services, you also devalue your work.

To set your prices, consider using a similar strategy that artists and craftspeople use to price their work: determine the cost of your supplies, your labor, gas and mileage, laundry and any miscellaneous costs for each massage, then determine your markup.

Advertising and Marketing

Marketing and advertising are some of the most important considerations for any new business, and often the hardest. If you are just starting out, chances are you don’t have much money and can’t afford traditional advertising.

Associating yourself with a medical professional can give you the credibility, and air of professionalism, and expose you to clients who could really benefit from your work.

Volunteering sports events, like marathons or bike races, can give you exposure to the athletic gym set.

Working corporate events can get you exposure to the business world, and even put you in position to set up a lucrative corporate chair massage business.

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