Starting a massage therapy business: Who is your client?

In Massage business strategies by KellyLeave a Comment

Starting a new business can be scary but if you have the right tools any task is achievable. When I started my massage therapy business many years ago it took me awhile to find my way. It wasn’t until I realized the importance of specializing in a specific modality and targeting specific people did I have my break. Once I learned my strengths I was then able to focus my efforts on targeting the right kind of people for my business.

If you are just starting your massage career then please keep reading and learn from my journey and hopefully my story will help you and your new business thrive!

If you want to make it on your own as a massage therapist you have got to specialize in a specific modality! You can’t open up a small office simply saying you offer massage therapy and just expect that you’re going to have a line around the corner of your building, it’s just not going to happen that way.

You need to find your audience, I’ll use myself as an example. I offer deep tissue sports massage and active release stretching, so when I started my business I went to every chiropractor’s office in my town that did not already offer massage therapy and I introduced myself and I talked to them about my skill set and how I could help there members and or patients.

I also went to different gyms that did not offer massage therapy in there locations and I told them who I was and how I could help their members.  One gym that really work out for me was the local Cross-fit gyms. One reason I always like to talk about my success with the cross-fitters is that they are a prime example of the type of clients you want to have.

Why are Cross-fitters the ideal client? 

Let’s break this down;

  1. They care about their bodies and health
  2. Cross-fit is not cheap and these people are willing to pay top dollar for their health 
  3. They love Cross-fit and they want to be able to keep doing what they love so they will need regular maintenance. 
  4. They come back week after week because they understand and value of massage therapy.
  5. Cross-fitters are ambitious people and typically have nice jobs, also many own their own businesses that could benefit you for years to come.
  6. During the Cross-fit open, you would never have a empty slot on your schedule

Cross-fitters are great clients but they are not alone. You will come to find in your massage career that many different types of people value regular massage.

What if sports massage isn’t your thing?

Sports massage isn’t everyone’s thing and that is completely fine, the point that I am trying to make is that you need to specialize  in something that you are passionate about, something that drives you!

Say you want to specialize in geriatric massage, okay that’s definitely doable let me explain how you could explore that.  In my town we have a gym that primarily works with the elderly.

If I wanted to tap into that market I would cold call the owner and see if they offer massage at their gym. If they do not currently offer massage I would explain why they should send there members to me. You could make an exclusive deal with that gym and offer the members a discounted rate.

I would go on to explain, by adding a massage package to there gym this could increase the revenue for the gym and help create a better experience for its members. It would be a win win for the massage therapist and the gym. Who knows many be if they had a room in there gym you could rent it out making it that much easier for the members to receive massage.

Tell the owner your worth and why they would be crazy not to work with you. Also take a look at the senior living facilities around you. Many of them would love to have a massage therapist on hand.

When I was first starting out on my own I bounced around a lot. One of the places I would travel to frequently was a senior living facility and I would either work on the patient in their bed or they would provide a empty room for me.

If you get in a situation where they are willing to providing a room, it is likely they will want some sort of a formal agreement and payment for that room.

You must decide how much you are willing to rent that room for and present that offer to an HR rep and come to some sort of an agreement. If you know someone who works at one of the senior living facilities I would ask the friend or family member who would be the best person to talk to and email them introducing yourself and you business.

When they reply ask to have a meeting with them, for the meeting have some marketing hand outs ready but let the HR rep lead the conversation.

If they do not have a room available for you and you plan to work in a patients room, I would ask permission before conducting business on their campus. It would be a professional courtesy also you want to hopefully start a working relationship with that organization so it would be wise to be forth coming about your presents on there campus.

Specializing in prenatal massage


With a baby being born every minute there is definitely a need for pre-natal massage. If you want to tap into this market a great place to start would be to find your local midwives community.

In my town we have a wonderful midwives community that is well organized and offers so much to our community. Years ago as a favor to a friend I was a guest speaker at a pregnancy preparedness class. I spoke with expecting mom’s giving them tips on how to self sooth and relax.

I spoke about what massage can do for them during there pregnancy and post pregnancy. It was a fun class and I love doing pregnancy massage so it was a good fit. After I did that guest speaking engagement I had an endless stream of pregos to work on.

I have been asked to speak at several different types of functions, they are a great way to network and get awesome exposure for your business. Two hours of my time turned into a great working relationship with my local midwives.

I was getting so many referrals I had to pass them onto the massage therapist that was subleasing from me, this is a great problem to have.

If public speaking isn’t your thing try finding Facebook groups in your area that are specific to mom’s with young children. In my area we have a group like that and it have a few hundred members in that group. If you join these groups to promote, don’t be a spammer, offer value before you start promoting your business.

Working with youth athletes

I am not working within this niche anymore but there was a time I worked closely with my local high school competitive cheer-leading squad and their track team.

The opportunity presented itself to me as one of my regulars was the athletic director for the  that school.

The client gave me a soft introduction to the principle but it was up to me to land the account. I explained my skills and created a proposal that they could work with and for the next 3 years I worked with a variety of their athletes.

This was a private school so I can’t speak for public schools and if they would have a budget for that or not but it’s worth looking into.

Find your niche and hone in!

These were just a few examples of different niches you could specialize in. The main take away from this is that you need to get specific when determining who your client is.

It may seem like your limiting your client pool but if you excel in your niche, people will talk about you. If someone likes you they will tell their clients, friends, family members,  and coworkers. Them from your niche other will call because they hear all good things about you.

Once you start getting a variety of people calling its OK to turn people away if they are not your client. If you do not like to do deep tissue massage then don’t take a client who is looking for that specifically .

Different people are looking for different things and beginning honest with someone up front will go along way in the success of your business. Learning who your client is should be at the center of your growing massage business, for more tips on what to look for when determining your client, CLICK HERE.

Take away

Go with your passion and go with a niche that drives you and feeds your soul. If you specialize in a specific area of the massage market, your new massage business will thrive.

You just need a strong foundation and network with the right organizations within that niche. Find where people in your niche are and go after them.

Offer to speak at free organizations, find Facebook groups that are specific to your niche and work events in the community that are relevant to your niche

Sky’s the limited guys, get specific and get busy!

I hope you found this article helpful as you start your massage therapy business, if I can answer any further questions for you  please feel free to leave a comment below. If you are ready to start your massage business today, it begins with a business plan. Click here for a free copy of a massage business plan template that you can follow as you start and grow your massage business.

Good luck!!!!

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Comment