Starting A Mobile Massage Therapy Business

Many people enter the field of massage therapy because they want to provide a valued, in-demand service that will help people achieve optimal health and reduce stress, tension, and related illness. Potential massage therapists also enter the field understanding that there is a range of employment options open to them; one of the most enticing employment options for massage therapists is a mobile massage therapy business.

While a mobile massage therapy business can be a very satisfying self-employment option, it is also a very demanding one; before investing in a career as a mobile massage provider, therapists need to evaluate exactly what such a life entails.

The Benefits Of A Mobile Massage Therapy Practice

Like any self-employment option, there are a number of benefits to starting a mobile massage therapy practice. Mobile massage therapists

• Set their own schedules
• Are not limited by location
• Set their own rates
• Do not answer to a “boss”
• Have total control over their practice

Mobile massage therapists also do not have as high an overhead expense as therapists practicing out of an office setting; by running a massage therapy business strictly on a mobile-basis, therapists can save money on

• Office rental/lease
• Furniture and equipment
• Support personnel (receptionists, etc.)
• Property insurance
• Utility costs

Additionally, mobile massage therapists are able to offer additional services and flexibility to their clients. Mobile therapists can offer private couples massages, reach clients who are home-bound or have a disability that might prevent them from traveling to an office, or simply have severely time-restricted schedules.

The Downside Of A Mobile Massage Therapy Business

Of course, there are pros and cons to everything, and a mobile therapy business is no exception. The disadvantages to managing a mobile massage therapy business include

• Full responsibility for taxes (self employment taxes, which are greater) and insurance (including liability, health, automobile…)
• Full liability
• Increased mileage on vehicle
• Extended hours of travel
• Inconvenient client demands on your time (which you can control, but often you’ll need to sacrifice working a strict 9-5 schedule)
• Physical demands of transporting equipment and supplies
• Increased importance on marketing and advertising (since you’ll have little or no visibility from passers-by)

There is a lot to be said in argument of the flexibility and independence a mobile massage therapy business offers; there is also a lot to be said in favor of the security of working as an employee. In the end, there is no simple answer; the best massage therapy position is different for every individual. By weighing both sides of the coin, you can make the decision that is right for your career in massage therapy.

The Essentials Of Massage Therapy Insurance

There are several kinds of massage therapy insurance available for massage therapists. Buying insurance for massage therapy is a must for anyone in the business.

Massage Insurance Regulations

Legally, not all massage therapists are required to carry massage therapy insurance; liability insurance requirements vary by state. There is, unfortunately, no one set standard for insurance for massage therapists. This means that there is also no one set rate, and that costs for insurances for massage therapists can vary greatly by state and/or region. However, even in states where massage therapy insurance is not required, it is always in the best interest of the therapist to carry the protection of insurance so that they do not find themselves in a financial bind should something arise.

Types Of Massage Therapy Insurance

Massage therapy insurance is not limited to liability insurance, although liability is probably the greatest concern for massage therapists. There are a number of optional insurances that are available to therapists for their own personal safety. Other than massage therapy liability insurance, therapists should also consider purchasing

• Health insurance, if self-employed or not employer-provided
• Property insurance for home and/or business (particularly if maintaining an in-home office where clients will be visiting
• Renters/lease insurance if renting office space (to cover loss of equipment and products)
• Business insurance
• Dental insurance
• Automobile insurance (again, particularly important if the vehicle is used for mobile services)
• Disability insurance that will cover expenses should the therapist become unable to work

Buying Massage Therapy Insurance

There are different ways a therapist can purchase insurance for personal and professional purposes related to a massage therapy business.

Local insurance agents may be able to access the different types of insurances needed for personal and professional protection. Many times, though, offerings will be limited and/or very general in nature, and in many cases massage practice insurances will be higher from local agents because they do not have a large number of clients and therapists will be forced to buy massage insurance on an individual basis.

Most massage therapists find it is best to buy massage therapy insurance through a professional organization. Professional organizations and massage therapy associations have the advantage of expertise; this means they know precisely what insurance a therapist can and should carry, including what limits and protections are necessary. Professional organizations also have the advantage of size; larger groups formed by members have larger buying power. This means that policies purchased through professional massage associations are usually the cheapest to be had.

Obtaining the right kinds of massage therapy insurance is essential to both personal and professional security. Insurance ensures that no accident (whether therapy-related or otherwise) causes a business to be lost.

Basic Massage Therapy Supplies For The New Massage Therapist

Good massage therapy relies on the use of a number of massage therapy supplies. New massage therapists will need to invest in a good stock of basic massage therapy supplies to get their practice started.

Massage therapists may be self-employed or find employment as part of a larger massage therapy business; additionally, a masseuse may be employed as part of a larger establishment such as a gym, fitness center, or sports team or facility. In some of these arrangements the new massage therapist’s supplies will be provided by the business they are working for, but in many instances massage therapy supplies are the responsibility of the masseuse. Even in situations where supplies are provided by the parent organization, many therapists choose to purchase their own stock of supplies to be able to operate on their own outside the facility.

By and large, most massage therapists find a need for a base of supplies and massage therapy equipment; though basic massage therapy supplies and equipment are enough to get a new therapy business started, there are several essential supplies any new massage therapist will need.

• Massage therapy table
A massage table is the most basic and most important piece of equipment. There are many options for new massage therapists, but often the most versatile choice is a portable table that can be folded and carried from office to office or client home. The benefit of a portable table (besides being able to make ‘house calls’) is that the table can easily be moved to a new office if the therapist decides to move on—as is often the case in the beginning.

• Oils
Massage oils serve a number of different purposes in massage therapy; some are used mainly for aromatherapy to relax and rejuvenate the client; others are used to treat certain conditions or relieve muscle tensions, and still others are used to reduce friction and enhance the experience. A basic set of massage therapy oils often includes almond oil, grapeseed oil, apricot oil, avocado, jojoba, wheat germ, hazelnut, and holy oil. Other creams and lotions may be preferable depending on the service offering and type of massage.

• Carrying/Display Case
Of course, a therapist will need a way to transport those oils if they are offering traveling services; a sturdy case that allows for secure transport is needed. If therapy services are offered only in an office, a display case is needed for access and for sales of oils offered to clients.

• Towels and Sheets
Comfortable towels and sheets are necessary for client privacy and hygiene. An investment into a good stock is one of the most essential massage therapy supplies.

The hands being the most important tool for a new massage therapist, only relatively few massage therapy supplies are needed to get a new business rolling. The massage therapy supplies suggested here provide a fairly comprehensive base that can be built upon as the business grows.

Best Buys For Massage Therapy Liability Insurance

Massage therapy liability insurance is critical for the protection of massage therapists and their businesses; in the majority of states in the U.S., liability insurance for massage therapists is required in order for a therapist to legally practice.

The regulations that cover massage therapy liability insurance vary from state to state; and since massage therapists comprise a relatively small portion of the working population, finding good insurance coverage at good prices locally can be very difficult. Local insurance agents do not usually have the experience and expertise to know what types and limits of coverage are needed, and their access to insurance for massage therapy liability is very limited in many cases; limited availability translates into increased price and decreased value.

To meet the variety of liability insurance needs of massage therapists, professional associations and organizations offer insurance coverage. In the vast majority of cases, a professional massage therapy organization or association is the best place for a massage therapist to buy massage therapy liability insurance.

Therapists who buy liability insurance through professional organizations benefit from

• Knowledge and expertise—professionals who know what types of coverage are needed to not only meet state liability insurance requirements, but also provide adequate additional insurance for the protection of the therapist, his or her business, and his or her property
• Large group buying power—with insurance, the larger the group, the lower the liability insurance rate; professional organizations are able to combine members into one group and negotiate the best rates available to massage therapists for massage therapy liability insurance.
• Ease and convenience—it is much easier to purchase an established, detailed insurance policy through a group than to spend hours educating local agents as to your professional liability needs and regulatory requirements. Buying massage therapy liability insurance through a member organization is a fast and simple application process. In some cases, liability insurance is included in membership packages.
• Exceptional coverage—the insurance requirements of states are not always realistic in the event of a claim against a massage therapy business. Insurance offered through professional organizations is usually better than average and will provide very good protection.

Therapists should be aware, however, that they need more than the required malpractice insurance for the best protection of themselves, their property, and their business. Professional liability will protect in the event that treatment results in a lawsuit; general liability may also be necessary, and will afford protection in case a client is injured on the therapist’s property. In addition, it may be prudent to purchase product liability to cover product injuries and reactions for both product used and sold by the therapist. Renter’s insurance and personal/advertising injury insurance may also be beneficial.

The cost of massage therapy liability insurance is relatively low (starting normally under $200). The protection, however, is well-worth the price if a client should claim injury or negligence, and so massage therapy liability insurance quickly proves its worth in the event of an unfortunate circumstance.