5 Considerations When Starting as a Freelance Massage Therapist

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 03:57 pm

If you have a passion for massage, have you considered turning it into a career? One option is to become an employee in a spa but if you like the idea of being your own boss, you could go freelance.

This entrepreneurial route will likely appeal if you want the satisfaction of putting all of your efforts into your own business rather than somebody else’s. However, there’s a lot more to consider before becoming self-employed. Here are five things you’ll need to sort out before you take the plunge.

1.    Your business premises

You could either work from a spa or run your business on a mobile basis and go directly to your client’s homes. This may be an easy decision. For example, a mobile massage business probably won’t be feasible if you don’t own a vehicle. Or going mobile may be the obvious choice if there aren’t any suitable spas in the local area.

If you’re undecided, start by thinking about the cost of hiring or renting a massage treatment room compared to the cost of running your vehicle during business hours. You’ll also need to factor in the price of the equipment – a spa may allow you to use their massage table, oils and so on, whereas you’ll have to provide all your own equipment for at-home visits.

Demand and competition should influence your decision as well. If, for instance, you can’t hire a space in the spa dominating the local market, it could be better to differentiate yourself with a mobile business rather than attempt to compete via a less popular spa.

2.    Insurance

As enjoyable as massage therapy is, never forget the potential risks that come with the job. Even the most experienced therapists make mistakes from time to time, but these mistakes could have significant repercussions when you’re dealing with the human body. If you accidentally injure a client during a massage, they could take legal action against your business and it may be very costly for you to resolve.

As well as securing professional indemnity insurance to protect you in this kind of situation, there is a range of other covers your business may benefit from. Salon Gold, which provides massage therapy insurance, prioritises public liability cover to insure you against claims related to third-party injuries or property damage, and products liability cover in case a client makes a claim regarding a product you’ve used.

3.    Credentials

Considering the risks associated with massage therapy, it’s wise to do all you can to assure customers that you are qualified, credible, and trustworthy. Presumably, you will already have achieved a relevant qualification (such as the Level 3 Diploma in Massage), so make sure you highlight this and can provide evidence to clients who may want to know more about your background. Aligning yourself with professional bodies like The General Council for Massage Therapies (GCMT) and The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) can help bolster your legitimacy too.

You’ll also have to apply for a licence from your local council to run your massage business as this is considered a ‘special treatment’.

4.    Marketing

Blending traditional and modern marketing techniques can help you attract attention from all angles. Flyers and posters will work to embed your business in your local community, while your website and social media activities will be crucial for building your brand and making yourself known to people actively looking for massage therapists online. Make sure to list yourself on online business directories for this reason too.

You may want to consider hiring professionals like website designers and social media marketers to help you, but it might not be possible to budget for these expenses in the early days of your business. Luckily, there are lots of free design tools and website builders available, and you can see some top social media tips for massage therapists here.

5.    Finances and record-keeping

Keeping track of your income and outgoings will be important to ensure your books are balanced, enabling you to make payments, pay employees, and handle your tax liabilities. The three main records you’ll have to get to grips with will be the cashbook (a record of your cash flow), the sales invoice (a record of what you’ve sold), and the purchase invoice (a record of what you’ve bought).

You must track every payment and expense so make sure you have a logical filing system for storing receipts and invoices, and keep this separate from any personal financial records. Review and report on everything on a monthly basis to help you monitor how your business is performing.

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