If you’re looking for a unique way to make money, consider starting your own massage therapy business.

If you dislike a desk job and consider most corporate jobs dull and uninspiring, this is for you.

It’s also a good idea if you don’t relish the idea of launching your own computer-based home business as a freelancer or e-commerce store owner. It’s perfect for you if you’re a people person, like the idea of becoming a healer, and believe that human touch is the best form of therapy.

And, of course, you will enjoy becoming a massage therapist if you’re someone who has always enjoyed getting and receiving massages.

The list of health benefits massage therapy provides is remarkable. People should get massages on a weekly basis to stay in optimal health. And, of course, the money is good, with most massage therapists charging around $60 an hour. Theoretically, you could turn it into a six-figure career once you’ve established a small practice and hired a few people.

Once you qualify as a massage therapist, you have many options available. You can work for a spa or resort hotel. You can work for a clinic. You can work with physical therapists, chiropractors and hospitals. You can work as a freelancer, visiting clients at their home or office with your own portable massage table. Or you can rent an office space and set up your own practice.

Education and Licensing

Your initial cost will be around $6,000 -$10,000 to get the education you need to qualify as a massage therapist, but often this price will include things to get your business started, such as a massage table or chair.

These costs need not be out-of-pocket expenses. You might be able to arrange for some form of funding.

Grants and scholarships are available for people who are interested in pursuing educational opportunities.  For example, if you’re a military spouse looking to get a massage therapy license, MyCAA is a great option. My wife used this to help pay for her massage school. The best part is that if the school isn’t currently set up to accept MyCAA, they can get registered — this will help you and the school. And this goes for any similar program. Always ask questions.

This cost will cover about 500-600 hours of training hours for tuition, textbook, and supplies. Your education will prepare you to get your state license by taking the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) and/or other state-required test.

Once you’re all skilled up and fully qualified, then the next phase of your journey begins.

At this point, you have to commit to a business model. You could start out working for a clinic to increase your experience and then branch out into other options.

Starting Your Own Clinic

Assuming you want to start your own clinic, either doing it alone or partnering up with other massage therapists, your initial concern will be to figure out your business expenses.

There are so many variables involved, from geographical location to the type of clinic you open, that it’s almost impossible to project a ballpark figure. So the only way to figure out how much it will cost is through your own research.

Once you’ve done your research, you can then apply for a small business loan.

What Expenses to Research

Here are 4 categories expenses that you will have to research:

  1. Your capital expenses. These are the things that you will buy initially. You will need to register your business and pay whatever fees are associated. You will need furniture, office equipment, and possibly appliances like a washer and dryer. And you will need massage tables, regular tables, chairs, lamps, and equipment for your clinic.
  2. Your occupancy expenses. This will consist of both big and small expenses. Your big expenses will be rent and utilities while your smaller expenses will include getting a phone line and Internet connectivity.
  3. Your operating expenses. This is the cost of running your business. Think about any professionals you may have to hire, such as a bookkeeper, accountant, and business lawyer. Then, of course, there will be the reoccurring cost of materials like aromatherapy oils, massage oils, gels, and creams.
  4. Marketing expenses. How you market your business will make the difference between failure and success. Even if you do a superb job of setting up your clinic, everything will fall apart if you can’t get enough people to walk in the front door. Your marketing expenses may include website costs, creating marketing collateral like business cards, brochures, and flyers. Advertising in print, online and possibly even the radio are all great options as well..

How to Grow your Business

Naturally, you will go through the trouble and expense of getting an education, licensing, and setting up your practice to be successful. While marketing will get people to walk in through the front door, your primary mission should be to create a recurring client base.

The secret to success is to provide superior customer service. You’d be surprised at how many people miss this obvious step. They start our doing everything right and then and then do thoughtless things that prevent their business from turning a profit.

What is it that people want from you? How can you get people to know, like, and trust your business enough to become regular clients and create word-of-mouth business for you?

While, of course, you might have some idea already on how to provide excellent customer service, also supplement your knowledge by reading business books and attend business seminars.

It does take some time, money and energy to get a massage therapy business going, but once you have everything together, it can be a fun and rewarding way to make a living, full-time or part-time.