How To Write a Massage Therapy Business Plan To Create a Thriving Practice

By Carol Wiley

How to write a massage therapy business plan

You want a successful massage practice. Your first step is to create a massage therapy business plan.

If you think business plans are tedious, look at a massage practitioner business plan as a living guide to get you from where you are to where you want to go. You can change your plan as your practice develops, but without a guide to building your business, you could become one of the many massage therapists who quit the profession in less than five years.

Massage Therapy Business Plan Sample

Here's a sample massage business plan template with suggested topics. Change or add to this template as needed to suit the type of massage practice your want.

Business Definition and Overview

What’s your massage experience and education? If you have experience, how will you use it to build your business? If you have no experience, what type of massage practice do you want? Also ask yourself:

  1. Who is your ideal client? (It’s OK to have more than one, but you cannot be everything to everybody.) For example, do you want to work with people in serious pain or with a serious illness or do you prefer generally healthy people?
  2. Will you accept insurance?
  3. Where do you want to work? Your own office? Mobile? Rent space from a chiropractor or other healthcare provider? A spa?

Positioning Statement
How do you want people to see your massage practice? Do you offer massage therapy to relieve stress and promote well-being and health? Do you help people who have been in accidents return to pain-free functioning? Do you offer comforting massage to people with serious illness?

Services Offered
What types of massage do you offer? Do you offer other services, such as spa treatments?

Philosophy
What’s your approach to massage? Why are you in this profession and what’s important about it? How do you interact with clients?

What’s Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
What makes you different from other massage therapists? Differentiating your massage practice with a USP for massage makes it easier to market your services.

Purpose, Priorities, Goals


 What do you want in your life and in your massage business? It’s a good idea to set both one-year goals and three- to five-year goals. You can always change them as your life changes, but it’s important to start by pointing yourself in a specific direction.

This sample is an excerpt from the one-year goals and priorities I set in one of my early massage therapy business plans:

1. I continue to set a strong foundation for my massage therapy career success and build a strong client base. I spend at least eight hours a week marketing my business.

2. I provide professional and superior massage therapy.

  • I am fully present and provide the appropriate modalities for my clients’ needs.
  • I keep appropriate records and review my client’s file before each session.
  • My equipment is in excellent condition.

3. I continually improve my skills through reading and attending workshops, making use of available massage therapist business resources.

4. I earn sufficient income to meet my wants and needs.

  • I gross at least $xx from massage this year.
  • I make and keep a budget.
  • I review my finances on a monthly basis.

5. I maintain the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, ethics, and compassion.

  • I have clear, written business policies.
  • I use appropriate client forms and do an intake interview with each client, asking clear, open-ended questions without judgment.
  • I only practice within my scope of knowledge, abilities, and the law.
  • I maintain confidentiality.

6. I actively educate people about massage.

  • I send a quarterly newsletter to my clients.
  • I write articles for publication.

7. I take care of myself, including receiving frequent massage, eating healthy, and exercising regularly.

  • I practice proper body mechanics.
  • Every day I do at least one thing just for me. Self care is vital to having a long massage career.
  • I establish regular working hours and have at least one full day off per week.

8. I have an excellent marketing plan.

  • I actively market my practice at least eight hours per week.
  • I participate in cooperative marketing projects and develop strategic partnerships.
  • I review/update my marketing plan monthly.
  • I read books and articles on practice building.

9. My office systems are efficient.

  • I ask for client feedback.
  • I update Quicken and my tracking sheets at least weekly.
  • I am part of an ongoing business support group.
  • I set up procedures to ensure my personal safety.

Financial Considerations

For the financial section of your massage therapy business plan, look at your startup costs and how you will pay for them. Startup costs are likely to include:

What are your ongoing expenses? For example, rent, supplies and phone, marketing costs, continuing education, and licensing.

How much money do you need to bring in each month to live comfortably? Be realistic. Financial stress is one reason so many massage therapists quit. Make sure you budget for taxes, including self-employment tax.

If you have trouble dealing with money and numbers, get help from someone who understands the massage business.

Massage Marketing Plan

A detailed massage marketing plan is an essential part of your massage therapy business plan. Educate yourself about how to market massage, find what you are good at, and make it fun. Here are a few massage marketing tips to get you started:

  • Decide on your target market (you can have more than one, but each gets a different marketing message). The biggest marketing mistake massage therapists make is lack of focus.
  • Find out what your targeted market wants. Medical massage attracts different clients than spa massage. Pregnant women want something different in their massages than do professional athletes.
  • Put together a marketing message to appeal to your target market. Think benefits, not features. How you help relieve some of the discomfort of pregnancy or help injuries heal faster is a benefit; your training or how long you have been in practice is a feature.
  • Go where your target market is. Athletes are at athletic events and read sports publications; pregnant women are at childbirth classes and read parenting publications.
  • If appropriate, give a brief free sample of your work. Or offer a free consultation.
  • Ask for the appointment.
  • Ask for referrals.
  • Be reliable. Always be on time. Return calls and respond to e-mails promptly.
  • Learn about massage marketing techniques, and discover your marketing style so that you can choose what works for you. An e-book you might find useful is Ignite Your Massage Therapy Business by massage therapist Amy Roberts.

Keep Your Plan Up-to-Date

Now that you have a massage therapy business plan, set aside time once every month or two to review it and assess where you are. Make changes as appropriate.

Treat your business like a client: Take the same approach to your business as you do to treating your clients and you’ll have a happy, healthy practice.

Want immediate access to this article and much more information on building a massage business? Click here to get my ebook Massage Business and Marketing 101.

› Massage Therapy Business Plan