Essential info for starting up
In Part I of this two blog series, starting a mobile massage business, we looked at the pros and cons of a mobile massage business. Given the benefits of operating a mobile massage business, it is likely that many of you will be attracted to the idea. But to make sure the wheels don’t fall off your exciting new mobile venture, read this vital start-up information!
Make sure you’re qualified to do massage
No-brainer alert: if you aren’t qualified, not only will you not know what you’re doing, but you will be leaving yourself open to hurting a client or even yourself. Also, practising professional massage on members of the public if you are not qualified is illegal.
Contact an insurance broker and discuss your needs for insurance. You will need both professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. Some packages cover both, but to make sure you’re adequately covered, it’s best to talk to a professional broker or check with a relevant professional body like the Australian Association of Massage Therapists (AAMT).
Establishing your business
You will need to undertake market research on your chosen area. This will help you find out if you have many competitors, and if there is much interest in massage in your area.
Regarding competitors, do a simple search on Google for “mobile massage [your chosen suburb]” and see how many businesses come up in the search results. The answer should make things pretty clear. If the search results are littered with competitors, try another nearby area.
To assess the interest in your proposed area of operation, talk to people about the need, and look for cues such as busy commercial shopping areas that might be suitable for attracting clientele. A new housing estate in the area might provide residents who have the disposable cash for massage services. Alternatively, if you are planning on a mobile massage business for business people, check that there is an office community in your desired area.
Once you have decided on a suitable area in which to base your mobile massage business you will need to register a business name and set up your new business. For great tips on how to do this, refer to our earlier Sage Institute of Massage blog, Top 10 tips for starting your own massage therapy business.
Work with high quality, transportable equipment
If you’ve been a student of Sage, you will have received your massage table, so you’ll pretty much be sorted. Make sure you can pack other items, such as oils, sheets and towels into a carry bag and ensure that they are of high quality, but not too heavy – you don’t want to be really weighed down.
Price your services appropriately
Make sure you offer your massage at an advisable industry price point. Remember that travel time also has to be factored into the fee. Time travelling is time you could have spent treating another client. It may not be appropriate to charge for your travel time exactly, but nonetheless you must add some “fat” to the equation. Remember that you are paying for petrol – and sometimes even parking, to deliver your services in this way.
Marketing your business
Set up a website, and make sure to include relevant key phrases about your massage business as well as the locations you cover. Added key phrases will help when people try to search for a business like yours on Google.
Print business cards and flyers and make sure you get them around town. In particular, contact local doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and other health practitioners so that they’re aware of your services and ask them whether they will take some of your fliers and cards to display at their reception counters.
Consider advertising in the local paper when you first start up. Local advertising needn’t be an expensive exercise, in fact, many massage therapists have huge success from advertising in the classified section of a local paper. Fortunately, it’s one of the main places the public go to look for a massage therapist. Make sure your ad is large enough to be clear and professional – and give important details such as the types of massage you perform, the areas you travel to, (at least) your first name and mobile phone number.
Don’t just market to one geolocation, however. If you have only concentrated on one area and another competitor comes in and takes away too much of your market, you will have nowhere else to go. Work on a couple of areas that are not too far from home. This is also a good way of performing some comparative market research, finding out which is the better suburb to spend more of your marketing dollars.
Once again, consider some high quality signage for your car or van as this would prove to be a sound investment. As a travelling billboard, you will be constantly making yourself visible to potential clients in your area.
For some more great marketing tips see our blog, 7 Small business marketing ideas for your massage business (that won’t break the bank).
Sage Institute of Massage – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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