Thinking Of Starting a Massage Business? Here's How To Start

Whether you're looking at starting up a business alone or are considering massage franchises in the UK, the setup procedures are fairly similar. Here's a guideline of what to expect when starting a massage business UK.

Consider starting up a massage franchise UK

How to Start a Massage Business?

Interested in getting in to business ownership? Massage therapy, beauty and mobile salon businesses are a prime example of a service in constant demand. From luxury spa retreats to urban wellness centres, the massage therapy industry is thriving. With consumers becoming increasingly health conscious and recognising the benefits of massage, there has never been a better time to start your own massage business. Whether you are a certified massage therapist with a passion for entrepreneurship or you’re simply drawn to the wellness industry, owning a business is a great way to take control of your career.

The massage industry is an integral part of the booming health and wellness sector, with an estimated worth more than £10bn in the UK. It is a sector that continues to grow year on year, marked by the fact that almost a fifth of the adult population has had at least one massage in the past year.

Starting a massage business can be a rewarding venture, providing professional satisfaction and the potential for financial success. However, like any business, it requires careful planning, hard work, and a dedication to providing excellent service. Let’s dive into the comprehensive guide on how to start a massage business.

Massage Franchise Or Startup Venture?

One of the first questions to ask yourself is whether you plan to go down the route of starting up a business yourself, or choosing the franchising route. Franchising lets you use an existing brand and business model, providing you with full training and support. For an upfront franchise investment, you get access to partners, suppliers and the franchisor’s supportive framework. Many of the points below apply to both franchising and startups. For example, you’ll want to carry out full due diligence before you invest in either venture. For example a marketing plan and analysis of the demand and supply is both ideal regardless of what route you choose.

Lets take a look at the steps involved.

1. Research and Planning

Before you can start trading, you should start planning. It’s crucial to begin with detailed research and a solid plan.

Market Analysis

Begin by researching the local demand for massage services. Evaluate competition — who are your local competitors, and what are their strengths and weaknesses? Identify market trends. For instance, is there a growing need for a specific type of massage or for at-home services? There’s not necessarily anything wrong with competition, but you need to be aware of this and that you may need to set out certain methods to ensure you win over the competition.

Again, both franchises and startups each have their own benefits.

  • Franchises will usually demand a royalty fee each month. This could be a percentage of your turnover, or a set amount each month.
  • Startups don’t involve a monthly franchise fee, but you also miss out on the group purchasing power / buying power, as a result, franchises may be able to sell their services at lower costs than you.

Explore the market, see how much your competitors charge, and see if it is a viable opportunity.

Identifying Your Niche

The key to standing out in a crowded market is to find your niche. This could be anything from specialising in a certain type of massage, such as sports therapy or aromatherapy, to catering to specific client demographics or providing unique experiences like sound therapy or floatation tanks.

Also think about how are you going to deliver your niche? Will you be running a mobile, owner operated business or running a premises based salon? The former is obviously cheaper in that you won’t have staff. Your overheads will be lower.

Business Plan

A well-crafted business plan will function as your roadmap to success. It should outline your business model, target market, marketing strategy, financial projections, and an analysis of your competitive landscape. A thorough business plan is crucial for securing funding or investment and will also guide your decision-making as you get your business off the ground.

2. Legal and Regulatory Requirements

Navigating the legal and regulatory aspects of starting a massage business is a critical early step.

Licensing and Permits

You will likely need insurance. Public liability insurance helps to cover the costs if you are taken to court as a result of injury to one of your clients. Unfortunately these things happen – maybe massage has triggered muscular pains or joint damage, or upset a health condition a client failed to disclose. This can all lead to severe implications for your business and by ensuring you have effective cover the damage from this can be minimised.

Understanding Local Regulations

Certain localities may have additional regulations for massage businesses, so make sure you do your due diligence and comply with all legal requirements. Familiarise yourself with laws and codes concerning sanitation, health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA) compliance, and business registration.

Insurance Considerations

Protect your business and your clients by securing the appropriate insurance. As mentioned earlier, liability insurance is a must for any massage practice and can provide coverage in the event of accidental injury or negligence.

3. Setting Up Your Business

The setup phase is where your business starts to take shape in the physical world.

Choosing a Location

The right location can greatly influence the success of your massage business. Consider factors such as foot traffic, accessibility, local demographics, and the proximity of competitors. If you’re offering a specialised experience, make sure the location complements your unique value proposition. You will want to maximise your online presence by using Google My Business and Facebook. Make yourself known within local groups on Facebook, and consider the costs of advertising in local media.

Designing and Furnishing Your Space

A well-designed space can enhance the therapeutic experience for your clients. Create a calm, inviting atmosphere that reflects your brand. Neutral, soothing colours, comfortable furniture, and soft lighting can all contribute to a tranquil environment. If you’re running a mobile salon, consider the costs of vehicle running and insurance. Use a vehicle with a light carbon footprint – this lowers tax.

Procuring Equipment and Supplies

Invest in high-quality massage tables, linens, oils, and other supplies. Do your homework to find the best equipment that fits your budget and offers the durability and functionality you and your clients deserve.

If you’re investing in a franchise, equipment and supplies will usually form part of your initial franchise investment. And then ongoing when you purchase further supplies, you get these from the franchisor’s partners. Usually at a competitive rate thanks to the buying power than comes with franchising. As every franchisee uses the same suppliers, the supplier in turn rewards them with more competitive prices, faster shipping and better loyalty.

4. Building Your Team

Even in a business centered around relaxation and wellness, the team you build is crucial to your success.

Hiring Qualified Massage Therapists

Look for licensed therapists with the skills and values that align with your business. Consider therapists with specialised training if it fits with your niche. If you’re doing this yourself as an owner operated business, consider researching training nearby. Again if you’re investing in a massage franchise for sale, training and support will be provided as part of the investment. The franchisor will work with professional qualified massage training providers to ensure the best levels of training.

Training and Certification Requirements

Ensure that all therapists meet the necessary certification requirements and qualifications. Consider additional training opportunities to further develop their skills and services.

Establishing Employee Policies and Procedures

Create a set of policies that outline expectations for conduct, client interaction, scheduling, and any other important workplace standards. These will help to maintain a professional and consistent standard of service for your clients.

5. Marketing and Promotion

Even the best massage services need to be marketed effectively to attract clients.

Creating a Brand Identity

Your brand is more than just a logo; it’s the promise of an experience. Develop a cohesive visual identity, voice, and mission statement that resonate with your target market and sets you apart from the competition. When you purchase a massage franchise business, you immediately have a brand that is recognised and established. Bare this in mind. Would you prefer to start a brand from the ground up, with no reputation? Many entrepreneurs have found that the ongoing royalty fees and monthly service fees associated with franchising justify the brand recognition and identity. Definitely take time to consider which you’d prefer.

Developing a Website and Online Presence

In the digital age, a professional website is essential for any business. Make sure your site is user-friendly, mobile responsive, and optimised for search engines to attract online clients. Again with franchising you’ll likely get a web presence as part of your investment. Whether its a full website or a page on the franchisor’s main brand website, buying a franchise means you immediately benefit from a ranking website. You don’t have to wait for SEO to kick in. Leading on from this point, the franchisor’s website will likely have national coverage meaning you’ll have your own page and anyone that uses the site will be directed to your profile.

Implementing Marketing Strategies

Utilise a mix of online and offline marketing strategies to reach potential clients. This can include search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, social media, email campaigns, networking, and traditional advertising. Consider offering promotions or memberships to incentivize repeat business.

6. Financial Management

Keep your business in the black with sound financial planning and management.

Setting Up a Budget

Establish a detailed budget that includes all startup costs, ongoing expenses, and potential income. Be sure to account for marketing, rent, utilities, insurance, and employee salaries.

You’ll get access to profits and losses assumptions based on existing franchise performance if you were to consider investing in a franchise. So you can immediately and clearly see where your profits and expenses lie.

Pricing Your Services

Determine your pricing strategy by considering your costs, the local market, the competitive landscape, and the perceived value of your services. Don’t undervalue your work, but also make sure that your prices are fair and justifiable.

Managing Cash Flow and Expenses

Consistent cash flow management is essential for a successful business. Implement a system for invoicing, payment schedules, and tracking expenses. Consider leveraging software or hiring an accountant to help with these tasks.

7. Providing Outstanding Customer Service

To keep clients coming back, prioritize exceptional customer service.

Creating a Positive and Welcoming Environment

Your space should be a sanctuary for your clients. Ensure that the environment is clean, relaxing, and free from distractions.

Delivering Exceptional Massage Experiences

Emphasise the quality of your massages. Encourage feedback from clients and therapists to continually improve your services.

Building Customer Loyalty and Referrals

A loyalty program can encourage repeat visits. Also, ask satisfied clients for referrals and consider referral incentives to help grow your client base.


Starting a massage business is an exciting journey. It’s a chance for you to share your passion for wellness with others while building a profitable enterprise. By following the steps in this comprehensive guide, you can set a strong foundation for your business and start on the path to becoming a leader in the massage therapy industry.

Remember, success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication, hard work, and the willingness to adapt and grow. Keep learning, stay connected to industry trends, and most importantly, continue to provide value to your clients. With a focus on excellence, your massage business can not only thrive but can also make a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of your community.

Start your massage business journey with confidence, and may your touch bring comfort and healing to all those it encounters.

Franchise Planet is a directory of franchises for sale in the UK. There are many massage franchises out there, why not explore the opportunities to help you choose between franchising and starting up alone.

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