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How to start a massage therapy business

Updated on September 21, 2015
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Erin Shelby is passionate about living a lifestyle that aims for financial freedom. She writes about personal finance and other topics.


If you’ve passed the state licensing exam to become a licensed massage therapist (LMT), you have two main options to start your career: you can work for someone else or you can start your own business. Here’s what's necessary to be your own boss when you start a massage therapy business.

Expenses of Operating a Massage Therapy Business

Like any business, a licensed massage therapy business has expenses to consider. These are important for weighing the advantages of starting such a venture as well as maximizing the profit earned. Some expenses are flexible, meaning that how much to spend on them can be negotiated. The creativity, resources and business owner’s priorities will determine how much will be spent in these areas. The “required” expenses are the minimum of what the LMT needs to plan on purchasing to begin a business. Required expenses include items such as state licensing fees and a fee for telephone service. Flexible fees include using a more economical pen-and-paper system instead of an online scheduling system that charges a fee.

Typical Expenses of a Massage Therapy Business

Let’s examine the required expenses of operating a licensed massage therapy business. Whether providing services in clients’ homes, renting space in a salon or spa or working as an independent contractor, every LMT needs to pay for these items:

  • State License Exam Fees and Renewal of License Fees
  • Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Fees (varies by state)
  • A medical massage table
  • Clean linens for every client
  • Appropriate coverings (such as neck covers) to fit the massage table
  • Client medical history forms (using a photocopying service or the business’ printer or photocopier)
  • Aromatherapy candles, lotions and oils
  • Business cards
  • A CD player with CDs or an mp3 player with speakers
  • An appointment scheduling system: pen-and-paper or online
  • Rent or room space fee
  • Telephone utility fee
  • Gasoline if travelling to clients’ homes

Next Steps

After evaluating the required start-up expenses for a licensed massage therapy business, you may conclude that this is the right choice for you. The next step: planning how you will promote your business.

As of today, have you attended any massage therapy classes?

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© 2013 erinshelby


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