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Franchise Players: The Journey From Massage Therapist to Massage Franchisee

Franchise Players: The Journey From Massage Therapist to Massage Franchisee
Jackie Martinez at Elements Massage
Image credit: Jackie Martinez at Elements Massage

Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. This week, we’re celebrating individuals who worked their way up in the industry from hourly workers to franchise owners. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

When Jackie Martinez moved to the U.S. from Germany at age 18, she found herself working a number of low-paying jobs to pay for college. As life became more hectic, Martinez turned to massage as a way to relax. What was first her outlet became her career, as she started as a licensed massage therapist in 2008. After moving up the ranks, Martinez now owns her own Elements Massage location. Here’s what she has learned about patience by working her way up from the bottom in the franchising industry.

Name: Jackie Martinez

Franchise owned (location): Elements Massage of Salem, N.H.

How long you have owned the franchise: I opened the doors to my first Elements Massage location in December 2013.

Why franchising?

I have always been interested in the health and wellness industry and have used massage therapy to relieve the stresses of everyday life. When looking to open a business of my own, I chose franchising because there is a proven system in place and a team of experts to support you step by step as an entrepreneur.  

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Originally from Germany, I moved to the United States at the age of 18. At the time, I did not speak much English and worked several low paying jobs in order to pay for college. I joined Elements Massage as a client as a time out from my hectic life.

I became a licensed massage therapist at Elements in 2008. Over the course of a year, I was able to move through the ranks to general manager and at one point was overseeing three different locations. After five years with the franchise, I decided to take the leap and purchase a license for my own studio in Salem.

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Why did you choose this particular franchise? 

Elements is a healthy franchise system in the fast-growing massage industry. By working for Elements for five years prior to purchasing my first location, I knew this company well. I, along with a growing number of clients, believe in the benefits of massage as a way to find relief from pain and stress. The franchise has continued to specialize solely in massage services and I am confident that allows us provide a superior service.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

  • $45,000 Franchise License
  • $150,000 Built out
  • $20,000 Furniture
  • $20,000 Massage Equipment and supplies
  • $5,000 Computers and Printers
  • $5,000 Lease deposit
  • $5,000 Advertising
  • $5,000 Lawyers
  • $5,000 Bank Fees
  • Total initial estimate: $260,000

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

I consulted with current franchise owners within the Elements system and elsewhere, spoke with my lawyer and definitely did my homework online. Since I was already an employee with the company, I received a lot of advice from the operations team in the district and was in close contact with the franchise support team at the Elements office. They made the transition as seamless as possible.   But, most importantly, this is a decision I made with my husband, Carlos.

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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

The process takes time. I wasn’t used to waiting on others and it takes a lot more time than I expected to get things done. It was well worth the wait to take the time and do it the right way.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

Do your research, a lot of research. I found it most helpful to talk to others who are already in the industry or within in the franchise you are looking to purchase.

Most importantly, have patience.

What’s next for you and your business?

The Elements business model allows for franchisees to grow into multi-unit owners while studio managers handle most of the day-to-day operations.  I’m working toward a goal of reaching 600 members at my current location so I can open an additional location as soon as possible. 

Related: Franchise Players: How a Martial Arts Franchise Energized This Couple's Relationship

Kate Taylor is a staff writer for Entrepreneur.com.

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