Massage Therapist

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? Yes


In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to get stressed. But if you've got experience with massage, plus that healing touch -- you can knead away tense muscles and calm jagged nerves -- then you can make relaxation a reality for people with a massage therapy business. You can see clients on the move by driving to homes or offices with your massage table, soothing oils and restful music in tow. With permission from the proper authorities, you can even set up on the beach, at shopping malls or at airports. The advantages to this business are that startup costs are often minimal, and you get the glow of satisfaction from making the world a more relaxing place for your clients. Some states require massage therapists to be licensed, so check with the American Massage Therapy Association to find out if yours is one of them. To widen your audience, build relationships with human resources departments of large corporations, local small-business owners, health clubs and spas, gyms and fitness centers, retail outlets for athletic wear, nutrition shops and chiropractors.


How much money can you make?

The average base pay for a massage therapist in the U.S. amounts to $43,219, according to Glassdoor, while PayScale reports a massage therapist’s hourly pay at just under $20.

What kind of experience do you need to have?

“I had been receiving massages for many years as part of my recovery from bilateral mastectomies, reconstruction and other cancer-related surgeries. Massage truly transformed my life… I spoke to my husband about the possibility of owning a spa, whereby we could offer the services that have been and continue to be so beneficial and integral in my well-being… From the business perspective, we both felt that my marketing and business background, with its origins in the publishing industry, were well suited for managing a spa, and his background in the finance world was also directly applicable to managing a business.” -Kay Hechler, Hand & Stone and Facial Spa

What’s the most important thing to know about this business?

“Do your research -- a lot of research. I found it most helpful to talk to others who are already in the industry… [and] most importantly, have patience.” -Jackie Martinez, Elements Massage

The Market

Your clients can be overworked executives and home office entrepreneurs, stay-at-home moms, and athletes who've overdone the aerobics workout and even sports rehabilitation clinics. Send sales letters and brochures to the human resources departments or health and safety coordinators of large corporations and small-business owners in your area. Leave fliers or brochures at health clubs and spas; swim, running and biking clubs; fitness centers; athletic shoe and clothing shops; vitamin and nutrition shops; and with chiropractors who can refer you to their patients. Give seminars to professional and civic groups and volunteer yourself as a guest on a local radio chat show. Get yourself written up in local publications. Donate a few sessions to a charity fundraiser in exchange for publicity.

Needed Equipment

Some states require massage therapists to be licensed--check with the American Massage Therapy Association to find out if yours is one of them. You'll need a portable massage table or chair, a selection of scented candles and oils, a stack of clean towels, and a CD or cassette player plus some relaxing music to pop into it.

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