While you can choose to work for someone else at a spa or a clinic after you have earned your massage certification, licensing or accreditation, you will make more money by starting your own business.

Although starting a massage business is not as easy as applying for a job, it can be far more rewarding because your income has no limit. While there may be a limit to how many people you can work on each day if you have more clients than you can handle, you can always either raise your rates or hire other massage therapists to work for you.

You can start your own business in four steps: first, plan your business; second, market your business; third, set up your office; and fourth, begin networking.

Planning Your Business

Begin with formulating a vision of how you would like your business to look like a year from now. Write income and lifestyle goals and a purpose statement.

Marketing Your Business

Once you have a clear goal and some provisional plans, begin thinking about how you can market your business

  • Think about how many clients will you need to begin turning a profit and how much should you charge them?
  • Think about what marketing materials will you need? Perhaps a business card, brochures, and a website.
  • Think about business licenses and creating an informed consent statement.
  • Think about what people in your local area need when it comes massage therapy? You can put a survey on your website, make phone calls, or ask health care professionals and colleagues. Your research may even lead you to specializing in a specific type of massage. If a lot of people in your area are interested in staying fit, you could specialize in sport’s massage.

Set Up an Office

There are two aspects to setting up an office. The first is finding the right location. The second is getting the right equipment.

Finding the right location:

Options for renting an office include renting one from an office building, converting a room in your home into an office, or renting out space from another health care business.

Getting the right equipment:

  1. Sheets and pillows: Look for flannel sheets and pillows in neutral, soothing colors.
  2. Towels: Look for big, fluffy towels that clients can wrap themselves up in and that will absorb excess lotion.
  3. Massage table: Look for a portable massage table for sale
  4. Massage oils: Look for oils with calming scents; for example, cinnamon, sandlewood, jasmine, Ylang Ylang, or lavender.
  5. Music and an mp3 player with speakers: Look for soothing, meditative music to create the right atmosphere.
  6. Candles: Look for unscented candles with no scents and pastel or soothing colors.


When networking for massage referrals you should primarily focus on two groups: those who provide fitness and well-being services, like yoga teachers and personal trainers, and those who provide health care, like Chiropractors and Naturopaths. Join clubs, associations, and Meetup groups where you will be able to network with people who have clients that may need massage therapy.

Now is the Right Time to Start

Although it may feel intimidating to start your own business, the best way to avoid procrastinating is to jump right into it. Use this four-step plan to guide you. In a year, you’ll have a flourishing business of your own.