As the market for massage services increases, so do the opportunities for the massage therapist with an entrepreneurial spirit, ready to take advantage of a new business opportunity in a field they love. And unlike salon, spa and clinic work, a mobile massage business offers the flexibility of a portable set-up, professional autonomy, and doesn’t require the ongoing stress of paying rent or managing an office.
For clients, the benefits of massage - and therefore many different areas of speciality or “niches” that a massage business can occupy:
- Back, neck and shoulder pain
- Muscle tension
- General stiffness
- Soft tissue issues and injuries
- Carpal tunnel
There are additional services that can be provided, such as:
- Assistance in alleviating insomnia
- Lymphatic drainage
- Treatment of mental health issues
- Alleviation of anxiety and stress
- Boosting the immune system
- Assisting in the treatment of other chronic diseases
There are so many reasons you might be exploring setting up a mobile massage business, but there are several important steps you’ll have to take to get started. We’ve compiled a list of the top 12 things that’ll take your business from a bold idea to a profitable reality. Read on to get started!
1. Ensure your qualifications are valid and display them for the public to see
According to Massage Australia (you should also look up your local massage standards), in order to be eligible to register with a health fund, it’s essential to have accredited qualifications. Registered training organisations (RTOs) in Australia offer the standard Certificate IV in Massage Therapy Practice and the Diploma of Remedial Massage.
More important than health fund status, of course, is having the appropriate skills and training experience prior to meeting with clients. Learning the correct technique not only leads to a better service, it also means your service will be safe and at industry standards. If done incorrectly, massages can lead to serious long-term damage, so make sure you’re confident in your practice before getting started.
2. Consider registering with an association
While not essential, joining an association offers several benefits, like the opportunity to grow your network, access to special rates for insurance, up-to-date education, and an opportunity to connect with industry specialists and experts.
Non-profit organisation Massage and Myotherapy Australia is a representative body for Australian massage therapists, as is The Massage Association of Australia, which offers low-cost liability insurance, business listings and education.
3. Get an ABN, register your business and register a domain name
According to business.gov, there are some key decisions to consider when starting any Australian business. These include selecting a business structure, choosing a business type and considering a trademark. If you do not already have one, you will also need to obtain an ABN.
Choose a business name: something catchy that captures the essence of your business
Register your business name: check if it’s available online
Register a domain name: something as close as possible to your business name
Register your company: and ensure your business details are up to date
4. Write a business and marketing plan
The key to writing a good business plan is to start with extensive research. The plan is a way for you to map out your future business, so it’s important to research before committing to any decisions.
Things to include:
- Business summary
- Business description
- Market analysis
- Organisation structure, including staffing requirements
- Marketing plan
- Financial structure
- Other notes/appendix
Business.gov.au has a template that offers a great starting point, which you can view here.
Pro Tip: if writing a business plan the traditional way isn’t right for you, we love Lean Stack’s Lean Canvas, a one-page plan that takes less than 20 minutes to create. Read all about it here.
5. Map out your financial plan
As an extension to your business plan, consider in more detail your budget and how you’ll manage any financial assistance you may have secured. This should also include determining your service pricing.
6. Choose your services and focus on a niche
There are so many different types of massage services you could offer, depending on your business structure, qualifications and the type of client you plan on servicing. The most popular type of massage services are:
- Hot stone
- Deep tissue
- Trigger point therapy
- Lymphatic drainage
When writing up your services list, keep in mind special considerations like pregnancy, illness, injuries, severe pain and frailty, as well as the cost associated with some of the more specialised treatments.
7. Determine your location
As a mobile business owner, while you won’t have to worry about renting a space, you will need to decide how far you’re willing to travel to meet clients. The associated costs of this include petrol, vehicle wear and tear, as well as the time and income lost during travel.
Pro Tip: one of the advantages of having a mobile business is the ability to visit and service people in their place of residence or common area. This may include regularly visiting a retirement home, rehabilitation clinic, local gym or other business.
8. Register with health funds
Each health fund has its own set of requirements, but according to Blys, most companies only consider therapists who have a Diploma, not those with just a Certificate IV. You’ll need to join an association and obtain provider number. Read more about the requirements for registering with a health fund here.
9. Purchase equipment and materials
Once you know what kind of services you’ll be offering, it’s time to start buying equipment! Ideas of where to start, include:
- An adjustable massage table
- Towels, a bed cover and blankets
- A foot roll
- Oils and creams
- A speaker for music
- Cleaning products and sanitiser
- A vehicle and storage options
- A bag, suitcase or mobile storage option
- A uniform
- Marketing materials, including business cards
10. Set up your scheduling software
Scheduling is one of the most significant parts of setting up your business, but even more so for a mobile business owner, who doesn’t have the advantage of walk-ins and office advertising.
Cogsworth enables you to set your hours and start taking bookings straight away, as well as:
- Create recurring services
- Set up customer reminders
- Add staff
- Accept payments
- Add your logo and company details
For example, you can easily create staff profiles with available hours by visiting the Staff & availability tab and filling in the details.
Visit our homepage to try it FREE.
11. Start advertising
There are so many ways to advertise today, particularly with the ease of social media and paid advertising. Be clear on your budget and test different types of ads, content and strategies regularly, making changes as you go. Not sure where to start? Create a Facebook business page, invite your contacts and ask them to share your launch content with their friends.
12. Book clients and start your business!
Starting a business is always an intimidating prospect, but it’s also an exciting experience that will change your professional life and give you a rewarding and challenging goal to work towards. You’ll learn so many new things along the way, and can continue to optimise your business and make changes as you grow and expand your services. So what are you waiting for? Your mobile massage business awaits...
Top 10 tips for starting your own massage therapy business
Sage Institute of Massage
The Ultimate Guide to Setting Up a Massage Business
Discover Massage Australia
What Are the Different Types of Massages
Types of Massage
What Equipment Will I Need for My Massage Business?
Discover Massage Australia
Better Health Channel
What are the Common Massage Therapy Techniques?
The Association of Professional Therapists
Massage & Myotherapy
Don’t Write a Business Plan. Create a Lean Canvas Instead
The Massage Association of Australia
Massage Association of Australia
Why join a massage therapy industry association?
Melbourne Institute of Massage & Myotherapy
Starting a business guide
7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan
How to write a business plan
The Blys Guide To Health Fund Rebates For Massage Therapists In Australia