One of the benefits of being a massage therapist is that you can choose to work as a freelancer, gaining control of your own lifestyle, income and business. However, it can be daunting when you first consider how to become a massage therapist in the UK.
Here we explain how to become a self-employed massage therapist, and why our new app Solo is the tool that will make it easier than you could imagine.
Legal requirements for a UK massage therapist
Before we get into the details of how to get clients or how to schedule bookings, let’s start with the fundamentals.
In a nutshell, you don’t technically need a massage qualification to be a massage therapist in the UK. However, not only would we not recommend this from a professional and business point of view, you are required to have professional indemnity insurance and this is difficult to get without an approved qualification. We highly recommend taking care to choose specific insurance for a massage therapist practising in the UK to protect both you and clients. Learn more about insurance for massage and beauty therapists.
As a mobile massage therapist, you will need to think about your business structure. We are often asked how many hours a massage therapist works. Well, as your own boss, you get to decide! But the number of hours you work, and therefore how much money you make, will usually determine the structure of the business.
The vast majority of freelance massage therapists earn well but, without many overheads (such as premises), they can work as a sole trader. This means you don’t need to register the business, just fill in an annual Self-Assessment Tax Return. If you anticipate much higher turnover then you should consider registering with Companies House as a limited company.
Note that some local authorities have additional legal requirements for massage therapists. For example, several local authorities require a licence if you plan to offer hot stone massages.
How to get clients as a massage therapist
As a freelance massage therapist, especially as a mobile one, your biggest challenge in the early days will be finding clients. There’s a lot of competition in your field, so getting access to clients can be tough as an individual without a large name brand behind you.
At Secret Spa, we make it possible for individual massage therapists to run their own business and successfully find clients. Using our platform gives you access to greater marketing power. But you’re still able to build your own reputation and clients can make repeat bookings with you. This is a great way to get started and gain momentum.
How to schedule, take payments and manage clients
You may want to be more fully independent and take bookings from a range of clients who have heard about your service from numerous avenues. As your reputation builds and you establish a growing customer base, you’ll need to consider how you will manage the administrative side of the business.
This is when a scheduling app designed specifically for mobile beauty therapists can help. Solo is a new online booking and management system for freelance massage therapists from Secret Spa, enabling you to build a profitable business. It isn’t just a scheduling tool either; it includes payment processing, travel planning, diary management, customer relationship management and business intelligence.
From a client’s point of view, your mobile massage business looks professional and they get a seamless booking and payment service. From yours, you get to take care of the admin easily. And believe us, working as a freelance massage therapist comes with a lot of admin you’re not used to!
What to look for in the best app for massage therapists?
Solo is a cut above the rest and we’re launching it because it offers a better experience. An app will make life as a freelance massage therapist much easier. You should look for the following functions when considering what app is best for you::
An electronic system makes bookings easier for you and the client. Clients can select treatments and make bookings without your input, knowing it won’t clash with another booking. You can upload everything that’s relevant to personalise your offering, such as menus of treatments.
Look for a massage therapist app which pre-calculates travel times between clients and adds this to bookings, so that the stress is removed from a mobile business. As a massage therapist running a mobile business, this is an essential function.
Being able to take payments online, but also having a simple process for managing overdue payments, is essential. Furthermore, Solo allows your clients to leave tips which is important in a cashless society. Make sure that the app allows you to customise things like your own cancellation policies, so that you can run your business in the way that best suits you.
Say goodbye to pen and paper, or using multiple online calendars and notes. Old-school diary management results in double-bookings and missed bookings. The best scheduling apps for massage therapists put all of the relevant information in one place so that nothing gets missed. Admin can take up a lot of your time as a freelancer, so choose tools that simplify it.
Customer relationship management
As a professional massage therapist, you can optimise your business by collecting client consultation information, preferences, and more. It’s also important that you can offer your own discounts. In short, you want to manage the relationship with your clients. Choose an app which goes well beyond scheduling to allow you to build good client relationships.
Lastly, choose an app which helps you spot trends and gather customer feedback. This will give you the competitive edge over other freelance massage therapists in your area.
Becoming a freelance massage therapist is a flexible and rewarding way to build your career, in which you can set your own hours and working practices. Choosing Solo will make it much easier and allow your business to flourish.