With the market for massage businesses booming, some independent practitioners are choosing to set up mobile operations, a model that offers far lower overhead than renting a studio or opening a full-fledged spa according to Bryant Cruz, Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of Innerpeace Mobile Massage in Marion, Texas. It’s also more convenient for busy customers who’d prefer to have someone come to their home or office than drive across town.
Here are a few tips for starting a mobile massage business:
- Get the proper credentials. Every state has different rules and regulations when it comes to licensing; some cities do, too. What’s more, many places require that mobile massage therapists have off-premise or out-call permits. Check with authorities wherever you’d like to practice to find out what credentials and permits you need.
- Buy the right equipment. Because you’ll be lugging your equipment with you, you’ll want to purchase gear that travels easily. A mobile massage table with a face rest is a must, and if it doesn’t come with a carrying case, you’ll need a luggage cart to transport it. According to Cruz, you may prefer a portable massage chair, depending on the types of massages you offer. He carries one for elderly patients who aren’t comfortable lying down, and for his corporate clients. You’ll need fresh sheets and pillows for each client, along with an ample supply of oils and lotions if you use them, and a timer or watch to keep track of time. You’ll need to be able to take payments on the go. Remember to bring a portable music player so you can create a relaxing atmosphere. Your appointment book, business cards, and client health questionnaires will also have to travel with you.
- Develop a specialty. While it’s perfectly acceptable to be a generalist, many massage therapists build a loyal clientele by specializing in a specific area. For example, you could concentrate on sports, maternity/infant, senior citizen, celebrity, or corporate massage, or specialize in a massage technique, such as Swedish or hot stone massage.
- Market your services. You can be the best massage therapist in the world, but you can’t build a successful small business if people don’t know about you. Set up a website that offers online booking, and then start a word-of mouth marketing campaign. Approach companies in your community to see if they’d like to offer employees on-site massages. Talk to the concierges at upscale hotels in the area and ask them to send you referrals. Make your services known to local doctors, who sometimes refer patients to massage therapists. Finally, check out sites such as Serve Me Here and In-Home Massage, which allow you to post information about your services and book appointments via their site for a monthly fee between $10 and $30.