How to Open a Massage Establishment

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Opening a massage establishment is a rewarding opportunity to combine a passion for helping and healing people with the benefits of owning your own business. Whether you are a new graduate of massage school or an experienced therapist working for another salon, starting your own business allows you keep all of the profits and receive tax benefits reserved for business owners. As you grow your establishment, you can increase your revenue by hiring or renting space to other massage therapists.

Obtain Credentials

Most states require massage therapists to be licensed. Specific requirements vary by state. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states require you to complete at least 500 hours of training and experience from an accredited massage program and pass an exam. Some states have their own exam while others use the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination or the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. If you decide to hire other therapists to work in your business, make sure they also meet state education and licensure requirements.

Business Plan and Financing

Decide whether you will create your own business plan or purchase a franchise. Franchises may be more expensive than creating the plan yourself, but you get the benefit of having proven systems already in place for you. If decide to write your own business plan, you will need to research the market and rates in your area and decide how you will run your own business, set your prices and determine what equipment you will need to purchase. According to, typical start-up costs for a massage business range from $50,000 to $100,000. If you do not have the start-up capital yourself, look into financing for your business. One option designed for small businesses is an SBA loan.

Name and Legal Structure

Many massage therapists operate their businesses under their own names. You can also choose another name for your business if you prefer. The local secretary of state office will help you determine if a name is available. You will need to register your business name and set up the legal structure for your business. Setting up a legal entity helps protect your personal assets in case you are sued. You may register as any structure you choose including sole proprietorship, LLC or corporation.


Choose a location for your business. First, consider accessibility for your clients. You want it to be easy for clients to find you. Make sure parking is available. Also consider your needs for the office. If you are working alone, you may need an office with only one room and a reception area. If you have partners, and will be hiring other therapists or offering additional services, you should scout for larger locations.


Create a marketing plan to get the word out about your new business. You should create a website for your business so that people can find you and see what services you offer. Consider using social media to develop a relationship with the community. Offer incentives for referrals and new customers to continuously increase your customer base.

Massage Therapists salary

  • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $79,150 ($38.05/hour)
  • Median Annual Salary: $43,620 ($20.97/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $22,580 ($10.86/hour)