As a new massage therapist you may be wondering if you should work for yourself or find a massage company to hire you. Maybe you're even considering doing a combination of the two.
If you're wondering which option might be the best for you, you're not alone.
In this article, we'll lay out pros and cons of having a private massage therapy practice and of working for a massage company or spa. You can then choose for yourself which would be the best fit for you.
Corporate Massage Jobs vs. Working for Yourself: How to Decide
You may already have an idea of what you'd like do for your massage therapy career. But you may still have some lingering questions. Are you going to be happier working for a massage company or starting your own practice?
Personally, I’ve done both — given massages in a private practice and also as an employee at a chain spa-style massage company.
I found that I preferred just showing up for work at the massage company and seeing what my schedule was for the day. That way, I didn’t have to worry about the hustle of finding clients and doing the marketing work. (The irony that I am now the head of marketing for a massage company is not lost on me.)
In any case, here are some pros and cons of both working for a massage company and working for yourself.
Corporate Jobs in Massage Therapy
Working for a massage company is like working for most any other business. You'll have standard shift times on your schedule, you'll have co-workers, payroll, a standard uniform to wear, and everything else that comes along with working for a company.
That's not to say that every massage company is alike. And there is a wide variety of massage companies hiring therapists.
Here are some examples:
- You could work in a high-end spa, doing seaweed wraps and body scrubs in addition to regular massage
- You could work for a chiropractor or in a physical therapist's office doing prescribed medical massage, structural integration, or other specialized therapies
- You could work in a chain massage company providing standard Swedish and deep tissue massage
- You could work for a company that specializes in on site chair massage at people's offices (like us!)
- Or you could work for any number of other kinds of massage companies out there!
Let's look at what some pros and cons are of this kind of work.
Corporate Massage Therapy Jobs: The Pros
Some of the best parts of working for a massage company include employment perks and benefits you wouldn't get by being a sole practitioner.
You get to work with a team of great people, and you have a management team looking out for your interests as well.
Here's some more goodness you can expect:
- All you have to do is show up and get to work -- no worries about finding your clients, scheduling them, dealing with billing, or ordering equipment
- Some costs and services may be covered by your employer, such as laundry, new table sheets, oil/lotion, etc.
- You'll typically have steadier work hours and know what you can expect from your day-to-day schedule
- As an employee, you'll have money held aside in your paycheck for your taxes, so you don't have to keep track of that yourself
Corporate Massage Jobs: The Cons
Of course, not everything is sunshine and roses for everyone. Some massage therapists prefer not to work for someone else.
For those therapists, working for a massage company feels too restrictive, or for whatever reason, it's not something they feel they can thrive in.
Here are some reasons why:
- The cost of your services, and therefore your pay rate, is determined by someone else
- You may have less say in choosing your clientele
- Your work hours will have to fit into whatever window of hours your employer operates
- You may be restricted to certain modalities of massage therapy
What Kind of Therapist is Best for Corporate Massage Therapy Jobs?
In our experience, the most successful corporate massage therapist is reliable, friendly, comfortable in a professional corporate environment, and likes working with a team.
Since Incorporate Massage specializes in on site chair massage events and programs, our therapists will often work in many different locations:
- Large or small companies
- Outdoor employee appreciation events
- Fancy holiday parties
- Wellness programs
- And much more (check out our full list of workplace massage services)
That means our ideal therapist likes the variety of working in different locations on a regular basis.
Massage Therapy Private Practice
A lot of massage therapists get into the work because they want to be their own boss and create their own private practice.
It's the perfect field of business for those entrepreneurial types. The nature of the work is flexible and can be highly specialized according to which modality you want to focus on.
As a solo massage therapist, here are some ways you could build a practice:
- You could work out of a massage therapy room in your own home
- You could rent a private room in a professional building
- You could travel to your clients' homes or businesses
- You could specialize in a specific massage modality to create a focused practice
Here are some pros and cons of working for yourself in a private massage practice:
Private Practice: The Pros
If you're the entrepreneur type, working for yourself is your dream job.
And you are your own dream boss.
Here are some of the reasons some massage therapists choose to go it alone:
- You set your own prices, which means you are in control of your income
- You set your own practice hours
- You can decide if you want to deliver mobile massage services, or if you want to stay in one spot
Massage Therapy Private Practice: The Cons
Working for yourself can come with its hardships, of course. Since it's all up to you, you'll sink or float according to your own efforts. Here's what can make building a private practice difficult:
- Your marketing is all up to you, finding clients and getting them to come back is part of the job
- You may have significant overhead costs, including rent for a private room
- The laundry tends to pile up, which takes your own time and money to deal with
Or Try A Little of Both!
The good news is that massage companies will always be here looking to hire great massage therapists. Many of our massage therapists have their own private practice clients while also working for us.