Massage Practice Location: Where Should You Open Your Massage Business?

Are you ready to open your own massage practice? In this article, I’ll share some things to consider when opening your own massage business. When looking at location, you’ve probably already started a business plan and started researching massage prices and how much to charge.

And in that, there are some bullet points that you’d want to answer for your massage business:

What type of massages will you offer? What is your ideal class size? These questions will determine what size your massage business needs to be. In addition to figuring out your class size, also think about your target audience.

Target Audience

The biggest thing to consider is who is your target audience and where do they live? If you’ve lived in your town for a while, you’ll get an idea of who you want to target and where they might live.

Do you want to serve stay at home moms who want to stay in shape after they drop their kids off at school? Or maybe the hipsters looking to strengthen their core and want to go to class after they get off work at night. Maybe you want to focus on the empty nesters who’ve decided to meet after a massage to go have coffee somewhere to catch up on everything.

Depending on who you want to serve, you’ll start looking for buildings in these areas.

Many look to open a spot near a bustling neighborhood that will make it easier for their clients to find them.

There have been several studies done on just how long someone will travel to a local business. For yoga studios and massage, most people won’t travel more than 12 minutes to get to your business. Make sure that you find a spot as close as possible to them.

Interesting side note, if you’re targeting women, then they will drive 3 minutes longer to go to a massage business. So for women, you’re looking at max travel time of 15 minutes.

The folks at Brightlocal put this great infographic together on distances.

Driving Times to Local Businesses Infographic

But once you know the area that you want to open your studio, you still have a few other items to make sure you have on your checklist:

Parking

Parking is super important. Is there enough parking for a whole class. Thinking about parking in our downtown area, I’d never open a massage business in our downtown simply because the parking is horrible. Too many people would leave frustrated after trying to find a parking spot.

There’s plenty of parking for the whole class. It’s also close enough for many to ride their bikes.

Square Footage

When you create your business plan, you’ll know more about the details, but you’ll want to figure out an ideal square footage you’ll need to keep your massage practice in business. Ideally, you want 30-35 square feet for each person in a class.

Depending on your ideal class size, you’re looking to have 300 square foot studio for 8-12 students and 600 square feet for 15-20 students.

Most buildings lease by the square foot so look for buildings where the total expense won’t be more than 20% of what your massage practice brings in.

Rent or Lease Costs

After you find the ideal location for your target market and kept in mind having the right parking, you’ll also want to look at your rent or leasing options for the building. Your ideal spot of town might not be the most cost effective. You will have to look for areas where you can keep your costs down so you’re not as stressed in the beginning to grow your studio.

You also want to pick a location where you don’t have to do much construction to change the layout. That’s too much up front costs and will delay you opening your studio.

Think about using alternative buildings, where you can strike up a deal with the building owner.

If you’re just wanting to rent out space from a larger alternative health center, then you can discuss that with the owner as well.

Typically, you have dedicated room and dedicated hours that you can perform massages for your clients when you do it this way.

Ambiance

Speaking of delightful. Aside from all the business aspects of finding a location for your business, you’ll also want to make sure the building is right for massages.

What kind of massages will you be offering? Do you need a large space or multiple rooms? How is the acoustics in the building? Is it one big echo chamber? Can you hear all the traffic going by?

Here are a few other questions that you might want to consider if opening a studio in your town will be difficult.

Can You Open a Massage Business in Your Own Home?

Check with your city requirements to see if you can offer massages out of your home. Then, look at converting your garage or an unused room into a massage area.This probably wouldn’t be ideal for several years, but when you’re just starting out, it might be the best way to get things moving.

If the city allows it, you can create a separate entry that will be used only for the massage clients. This will help you keep a bit of separation from your home and sanity.

Opening a Massage Business in a Small Town

Along with knowing where to open your massage practice, you’ll need to know how many people you’ll likely need to keep your business going. Typically you’ll expect to want between 5 to 50 people coming 1 to 2 times a month in order to stay in business. This is a rough estimate and we’ll cover this in more details in another article.

If you live in a small town, is it large enough to meet those back of the napkin calculations? If not, then consider adding in the next two items I’ll talk about to keep your business afloat.

Will You Offer Mobile Massages?

Some ways to get around the location issue. If you can’t find a suitable location to open your studio, would you consider becoming a mobile yogi and offering your services to local businesses or attractions?

This could set you apart from others where you offer lunchtime classes to businesses who are looking to provide their employees with healthy solutions.

Most larger businesses have a conference room or courtyard that you can set up for each session.

The other benefit of setting up a mobile massage practice is you can put the business on retainer and you would know exactly how much you’ll be making each week with each company.

Massage Prices: How Much Should You Charge for a Massage?

As a massage therapist, you’re probably wondering how much to charge for massages. You know how much training you’ve gone through and how much education cost you. You also might be new in the industry and don’t want to put your fees too high that you don’t get anyone or too low that you’re not making ends meet.

So what’s a good amount to charge? There are a few different ways you can go about charging for your services and we’ll cover them below.

Hourly Massage Rate

The first way is to do a cost per massage. These are one off massages and you’re hoping that you do a good enough job that the client will call in the future and book more sessions.

Although you can start out by charging an hourly rate, you’ll soon learn that you’ll be constantly chasing the next client and feel like you can never get ahead.

Hourly rates will also vary a lot by location. The best way to get an average in your area is to find out what many of your fellow massage therapists are charging.

But also look at how long they’ve been doing this and adjust accordingly. When just starting out, you might want to go a little lower than the average until you build up quite a bit of experience and clientele.

Massage Packages

No matter what profession you’re in, many service providers are moving towards a value based package. With this approach, you come up with the best way to offer your services in a solution based approach.

Think about how many massages does it usually take to help someone improve a typical shoulder pain? Or maybe helping them work through chronic migraines.

Figure out the typical number of sessions it might take to work through that and offer that as a package.

By creating packages, you have a better idea of your monthly revenue and how many clients you’ll work with.

Massage Monthly Membership

Once you’re more established and realized how many massages you can do a month, consider offering a monthly membership plan for your clients.

This is taking the gym membership business model and applying it to your own business. Bigger massage businesses like Massage Envy offer this package to smooth out monthly revenue.

By offering monthly memberships, clients can agree to a monthly fee, have access to one massage a month, and have discounted rates for more services for the month.

So how does this help you?

Say you have 10 who sign up for your monthly membership plan at $70/month. You know you’ll be getting $700/month and will just have to work out the details for scheduling. You can also allow rollover, so if they don’t get their massage that month, their massage for that month will roll over to the next month.

Keep track of these rollover massages so you don’t end up having a crazy month of everyone scheduling them out and overbooking you.

Gift Cards

Although this isn’t exactly a massage price suggestion, offering gift cards is a great way to increase revenue for later down the road. Many people will give gift cards for holidays and birthdays and it’s up to the recipient to redeem the gift card.

How to Change Current Clients

So what if you already have clients and you want to increase prices or change your pricing structure from hourly to monthly or package deal? Some ways are easier than others to change.

For instance, you probably have several clients who pay hourly and you want to move into a higher hourly or to a different fee structure. With your older clients, it’s probably going to be easier to either increase the hourly rate that they pay.

If they’ve paid the same amount for years, then you just have to tell them that the cost of doing business has been going up and you finally have to increase your hourly rates to reflect that.

You can also suggest they move towards your monthly membership fee structure and give all the benefits that would work for them to do that.

It’s usually more difficult to change current clients than it is to set up a new fee structure for new clients to be a part of.

Use Software to Help

You can choose from a few different pieces of software to help you keep track of your different client fees. The first one is Mind Body Online and it allows you to setup appointments for your massage clients.

If you’re using Square to take payments, then you can also add the Square appointments feature to allow your clients to book their appointments around your schedule. Square will also send reminders for bookings and rescheduling ability as well.

Finally, there is MassageBook that is trying to do everything for your business all in one software. They also have booking capabilities to keep your schedule up to date and easy to maintain.