In this Post: If you are considering an in-home massage practice, you will want to check out this post. You will learn from experiences professionals who have been there the pros, cons, and receive advice on how to start your own in-home practice.
Are you considering setting up an in-home massage office? A place where clients can receive treatments in a comfortable home environment. Where the commute to work is a 1-minute walk to the basement. With many similarities to having a private practice, having an in-home massage office can be hugely rewarding! Take a look at the following list of pros, cons, and advice from practitioners. I have interviewed two successful practitioners who have blazed the in-home practice path before you and have some great suggestions.
Raining Faith Massage
Matthew Gibble practices out of his home in Broomfield, Colorado. His practice, Raining Faith, has allowed him the flexibility to build a life and career he loves. He always knew that an in-home studio was the direction he wanted to take his practice. After 17 years he is still happy with that decision.
Tanya Gibson of Batavia Massage in Batavia, IL has been practicing out of her home since 2011. Tanya began her career by supplementing the income she made from her in-home practice with work at a local spa. While Tanya says, “It was hard to leave my connection to the world.”, when she decided to move exclusively to an in-home practice, she is so glad she did.
Both Matthew and Tanya have children that have lived in the home during the time they have operated their in-home practices. They have learned the importance of establishing clear boundaries with their spouses and children. Matthew told his son, “Unless the house is burning down, don’t knock.” Neither has had issues with their family respecting these boundaries.
Pros Of An In-Home Massage Practice
Having low overhead means you have the ability to work fewer hours while making the same or more money.
Potentially larger massage space.
With the cost per square foot typically being more reasonable in a residential area, you may be able to have a more substantial treatment room than if you worked out of commercial space.
You set the hours, pace, vacation. With no boss, your schedule is truly yours.
Get to be “sort of” a stay at home parent.
This can be great when you have sick kids, or scheduled days off from school. Of course you wouldn’t want to completely neglect your kids with a full work day, however having this type of practice does give you a bit more freedom when life’s unexpected occurs.
Get housework done.
You can cook dinner, do laundry, or work on house projects if you have a slow massage day.
Higher engagement with clients.
In-home practices offer a higher level of intimacy with the clients. This results in a more secure, engaged relationship. This means you are walking through life with your clients, standing beside them through their tragedies, celebrations, and their mundane. According to Matthew this is a great privilege and honor.
You can write-off things like minor landscape projects, and other home repairs that affect your business. Consult with your accountant to figure out what percentage of these expenses are tax deductible, as well as what projects are legitimate business expenses.
You have total control over schedule, products used, the time between appointments, decorations, and music choice. If you decide you don’t like something, you can quickly change it.
Like zero commute time. How convenient is that!
No-shows are incredibly rare. It seems clients view a therapists time with more respect when they are going to their in-home practices.
Cons of Having An In-Home Massage Practice
Keeping clear paths.
You will have to make sure the path to your massage room is clear, both inside and out. Inside make sure there are no boxes, toys, animals or other obstacles blocking the way. This is especially important if there are stairs to navigate. Things like snow, leaves, and ice can be pesky annoyances to take care of on a daily basis!
Boundaries can easily get blurred.
It is essential to make sure the boundaries with family are clear, as well as clients. You don’t want to be answering clients calls at 9:00 at night. Nor do you want your teenage child having band practice while massages are occurring.
Deaths, cancers, and other illnesses occur.
Having long-standing clients means that they can die, or get cancer, and then you are right there walking through those tragedies with them. While walking through these life events with your clients is an honor, it can also be hugely draining.
It can be hard to take time off.
Vacation time can feel tough when no one is fielding calls for potential clients.
Self-conscious about space.
You may feel embarrassed about old tile in the bathroom, or a less than spotless entrance.
Entrance feels less professional.
Clients may have to walk through communal family space to get to the office area.
You must stay on top of cleaning. Clients don’t want to see dirty dishes piled high in the sink, a laundry basket full of soiled underwear, and a bag of trash waiting to go out to the trash receptacle.
Dual purpose massage space.
If your massage space doubles as a guest room, you may find yourself out of work when the in-laws come to town.
If you have a puppy who has yet to be trained, or an elderly animal that is losing their faculties this could be a real turn off to clients.
Advice For Having An In-Home Massage Practice
Check with your county to make sure the zoning allows for an in-home business.
Get a mentor when first starting, and then become a mentor when you have been doing it awhile. This type of massage practice cuts you off from the massage community you might have if you worked in a different environment. Combat this by engaging in mentorship programs.
Keep your space warm, clean, and inviting.
Matthew always has fresh flowers in the bathroom to greet his clients. While Tanya spruces up her front porch with decorations for each new season.
Invest in a good online booking system, so that you aren’t chasing clients down to schedule appointments.
Keep things professional.
It is really easy in this type of practice to have blurred lines. Figure out a schedule that works for you, and set boundaries around it. Don’t let yourself get caught up in all the housework you have to do when you should be focused on marketing. Check out tips for time management here.
Set up an LLC.
While I am a huge advocate of setting yourself up as an LLC regardless of what type of massage practice you operate, for in-home practices this is especially true. Of all the entities, LLC’s offer the most amount of protection from major liabilities. Consult your accountant for details on how to set up an LLC; it varies state to state.
Include pictures of your treatment room as well as the outside of your home online. This allows people to feel comfortable knowing a bit more about the environment they are entering into before they arrive.
Screen new clients.
Do a thorough call with potential new clients before meeting them for the first time to make sure you are a good fit. A client may be shocked when they arrive at your home if you haven’t clearly expressed you operate out of your home prior to their first appointment.
Place a sign by the front door that lets people know they have reached the right place. Don’t make the sign so big that it can be read from the street. This may bring in unwanted attention. Just a small sign that can be read once the clients reach the door. This will welcome them and ease their minds that they are in fact in the correct place.
While having an in-home practice is not for everyone, it does work for many! If you are able to establish clear boundaries, are a good housekeeper, and have the desire to eliminate your commute, this may be the practice for you. The rewards of getting to know your clients on a deeper level, having a flexible schedule, low overhead, and being your own boss make this setting ideal for many. If you are considering this type of practice, find a practitioner who has been through it to mentor you in the beginning stages. This will help eliminate a lot of unnecessary headaches.
Truth be told, I personally have never had an in-home office. I have never lived in an environment conducive to this type of practice. My housing has always been small with limited parking, and my housekeeping skills leave much to be desired. However, many therapists have realized this dream. According to an AMTA survey 29% of therapists work from their homes. Matthew and Tanya have confirmed that an in-home massage practice can provide a fulfilling work environment. Both of these practitioners had a hard time coming up with cons!
Thanks to Matthew and Tanya for your time in making this resource available!