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What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Massage Therapist

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massage therapist standing

With every career comes a few curveballs, and massage therapy is no different. Despite all your training and preparation, there will still be things that surprise you. At Beauty and Bodywork Insurance, we provide highly-rated, affordable massage therapy insurance. But that’s not all we do. We also provide professionals—like you—with advice so you can make the most of your career.

Today we’ll be talking about things massage therapists wish they knew before becoming a massage therapist. Knowing these things beforehand can help better prepare you for what’s to come in a career in massage therapy.

Building a Clientele

One of the most common things bodywork professionals are surprised by is how difficult it can be to build a clientele. There are several different things you can do to get new clients and retain them, and it all requires diligence and hard work. It is easier to keep an existing client than it is to find a new one. For this reason, it is a great idea to build out a schedule for follow-up appointments. Making it easy for your clients to schedule appointments goes a long way to keeping your existing clients.

Another great way to build a clientele is through referrals. But don’t just ask for something without giving in return! Make sure to give perks for those referrals in the form of discounts on your services, little swag gifts like lotions or oils, or a gift card to grab a coffee! Be just as loyal to your clients as you want them to be with you!

Don’t be too overwhelmed with building a clientele; it may be difficult in the beginning, but as it grows, you won’t be too overwhelmed with this aspect.

Massage Therapy Salary

Many massage therapists wish they knew how much money they’d be making as a professional massage therapist. Many people have a passion for massage therapy and they know it’s what they want to do, but sometimes they don’t necessarily look into the salary. Before becoming a massage therapist, make sure you do some research in your area about the salary. Like any other job, salary will vary depending on state and experience level. For example, the average salary for a massage therapist in Hawaii is $58,869, and $21,895 in Idaho. You can take a look at this blog for a full list of massage therapist salaries by state.

If you are planning on working for a chain or franchise, you can always look at career references like or tools like that can provide you with a high, low, and median salary range.

Networking with Massage Therapists

Another thing massage therapists wish they knew more about was networking with massage therapists. Networking with other professionals in the massage therapy industry can help you develop relationships, stay on top of industry changes and trends, hear advice and experiences from others, as well as share your own. Some ways you can network with other massage therapists are by finding networking meetings in your area, joining local Facebook groups, attending health fairs, and taking business cards with you everywhere you go. To learn more networking tips and why networking is beneficial, take a look at this blog.

Massage Therapy Insurance

Before becoming a massage therapist, you’ll want to look into insurance policies.  While you’re learning the tricks of the trade, you’ll want to make sure you have coverage in case an accident occurs. Having insurance provides a financial safety net and helps you work with peace of mind. You never plan on an accident happening, but they still occur. To learn more about liability risks massage therapists face, take a look at this blog.

Beauty and Bodywork Insurance offers professional massage therapy insurance starting at $9.99/month or $96 per year. BBI covers several different types of massage—from deep tissue and Swedish, to chair, hot stone, and more, you receive the coverage you need. If you have any questions about our policies, feel free to reach out to our licensed insurance agents.

Independent Massage Therapist

If you plan to work as an independent massage therapist, i.e. you’re not working at an established practice, there are several things you’ll need to be aware of. You’ll have to keep track of all your expenses and records, finances, inventory, and more. We’ll explain a little bit more below.

Taxes and Record-Keeping

If you’re not employed by someone, you are considered an independent contractor, which means you are self-employed. For tax purposes, it’s important to know that if you make more than $400 per year, you need to pay quarterly taxes in April, June, September, and January. You’ll also want to make sure throughout the year that you’re keeping a record of all your deductible expenses. This can be anything from license fees, business travel, magazine subscriptions (related to your business), and more. To learn more about taxes and deductions, read through this blog.


As a massage therapist, that’s your specialty, and you may not know everything you need to know about finances. That’s okay because you can learn what you need to know for your business and make sure everything is in order. If you run your own business, you’ll always want to stay on top of your finances and make sure you’re aware of all the expenses you owe and the revenue you’re generating. You can learn more about finances related to your massage therapy business here.


It’s important to know that you may need some type of software to run your massage therapy business on your own. This software can help with payments, storing client information, scheduling, finances, and more. You’ll also want to look into apps that are available for your phone or your computer that can help you manage your business. Some of these apps may be free, but much of the software you’ll need will cost a small fee. Learn more here about software and technology for massage therapists.


You’ll be in charge of collecting and purchasing all of the equipment you’ll need to run a massage therapy business. Remember, however, that these expenses can be deducted for tax purposes. You’ll need to purchase a massage table, oils, lotions, sheets for the table, and more. Make sure you have a good stock of supplies so you can have what you need on hand for each client.


Owning your own business gives you the flexibility to set your own schedule and establish your policies. Before becoming a massage therapist and owning your own business, make sure you establish your policies for your clients. This can include a no-show policy, cancellations, etc. This will help you not lose money and hold your clients accountable for their appointments.

Have Fun With Your Job!

We hope this article was informative and helped you understand a few things you need to know before becoming a massage therapist. Being a massage therapist is a rewarding career, and this is just the beginning. We wish you the best of luck with your massage therapy career!

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