Starting a massage business on a shoestring budget is usually a good way to go when you are just starting your massage business. You don’t really have to find your own office space and take on all of the expenses of overhead. It is much easier to just find an office space that you can share with already established massage therapists or other health care providers. That way you can share the expense which should be much less than renting an empty office space on your own.
Searching for your space
To start with think about what type of office space you would like to be working in. Are you more clinically minded or more of a spa type of massage therapist? What do you envision your space to look like and what will the people be like that you work with? This is really important in finding a good match. Sometimes you don’t know though right off the bat and you may need to try different situations so that you can find out what you don’t want.
Think about the area of town that you want to be in. Do you want to work in a downtown area with a high population density or in the suburbs where the population density is less? The biggest thing to look at would be accessibility and client safety. Would people feel safe coming and going at night in the dark? Consider your travel time and efforts needed to get to the office since you will be going frequently. How far away from home do you want to be?
Once you narrow down an area of town start looking at different offices of massage therapists already there. Next look at other alternative professionals – Naturopaths, Acupuncturists and Chiropractors. Chiropractors are one of the most obvious places as they usually are very open to massage. Many often hire massage therapists to work there as an employee or subcontractor. They might be open to just letting you rent space from them if you can show them how it would help their business.
Interview the Person you are thinking of renting from
It is also important to really interview someone you are considering renting space from. You might want to go in first as a client and receive their work and see if you like what they are doing. Take a look at things like:
- What are their hours of operation and how it might affect you and your available time?
- What is the size of the room available – make sure it is big enough to put the massage table in and have enough room around you to work.
- What are the other practitioners’ policies and procedures are on things like late fees, no shows and such to see if they are compatible with yours since you might be sharing clients.
- What is their philosophy on healing and providing care?
- How do they treat clients?
- What office furniture and equipment can you share? Fax machines, phone, answering service, receptionist, copiers, computer, billing software.
- Will they promote your business? Will you be able to promote their business?
- Can you share in marketing projects, health fairs, chamber of commerce memberships, phone book and online advertising?
- Can you share a website or do you need to get your own?
While you can’t always know all of the details and how it will be the main thing to figure out is can you work with this person (or people) around?
Some places to consider looking at:
- Other Massage Offices
- Hair Salons
- Massage Franchises/Spas- they might actually rent you a room if they are slow
- Physical Therapy Offices
- Doctors Office
- Psychologist’s office
Figure out what you will need in an office space:
- Website – shared or your own? Your website needs to work.
- Large enough room to work comfortably
- Parking for clients and you
- A mentor to work with
- Who will supply the massage table?
- What will you pay in rent and when will you pay rent?
- How long will your lease be for?
- What other expenses will there be – laundry, utilities?
- Create a vision for your ideal office space including location, people to work with and your potential client base.
- Start visiting various places that fit the vision. Go in as a client first if you can to see how they work.
- Ask if they have office space for rent.
- Draw up a rental agreement/contract that outlines everything specifically as to who is responsible for what. Don’t overlook this even if you are friends!
- Get the support that you need in the form of a mentor and supervisor.