The beauty of massage is that there are endless varieties of therapists, techniques, and environments to provide it in. For some a clinical office in a medical building is perfect. For others a cozy spare room in their home is just fine.
There are many, many factors to consider in any office space and a home-based massage business is no exception. In fact, there may be even more issues to weigh for a home-based business.
Our thoughts here are not all-inclusive, but they will get you started if you are considering a home office.
Local zoning, licensure and permits
Get to know your town or city clerk and be fluent in your state requirements as well.
Your city or town may have very specific zoning regulations for all kinds of home-based businesses. This could be doubly true if your home is within a neighborhood association or condominium complex. There may also be regulations for signage in a residential area, so be sure to ask about that.
On top of that, licensure and permits for a massage business may be regulated by your state with specific requirements for accessibility, sanitary facilities and more.
Your massage style
Think about the kind of massage work you do. Does it need a quiet environment? Do you have lots of equipment that needs plenty of floor space? If you use aromatherapy, will the scents permeate into your living area, and would that be a problem for you?
Layout and use of the house
Will the massage room be just for massage or is it also the guest room when your in-laws visit? Is there another quiet area for you to do office work, or will you need space for a desk as well?
Consider the layout and determine if clients will need to be entering through your home or via an exclusive entrance, using a bathroom shared by the household, or otherwise seeing and using non-office arts of your home.
If there is shared pass-though and room use you must commit to keeping the place very clean. With that in mind, are there others in your household that may thwart you?
If you have pets, there could be allergy issues you would need communicate to clients before their first visit.
Location and hours
Consider the noise and traffic levels in your neighborhood and your work hours. Is your house in a well-traveled area, and is the parking visible to passers-by? Your clients may feel a bit exposed when anyone can drive by and see their car at your home.
If you only work days and all your neighbors are retirees who weed-whack during the daytime, or a daycare facility with an outdoor playground, that may be an insurmountable noise issue.
If you only work evenings and your house is on a dark winding road, lack of convenience and perhaps safety becomes an issue.
Insurance and taxes
Talk with your homeowner’s insurance agent to see what types of coverage are required and recommended for home-based businesses. Ditto that for your CPA/tax preparer. You may adjust plans based on allowable deductions and you want to do it right, tracking the appropriate construction expenses along the way.
Work ethic and style
Are you self motivating with the ‘business’ stuff or can you separate your time well so that you don’t get distracted by the dishes, daytime tv, and all the other non-business things that can easily capture your attention when you’re home.
Landscaping and maintenance
Maybe you can handle snow removal and keep the parking area and landscaping looking pristine. Or maybe you’ll need to hire those tasks out. Either way, you’ll want a plan (and a budget) for that before you open the home office.
What stage of business are you in? Maybe you work in a small town and your regular clients already know where you live. Or perhaps you only take new clients by referral with lots of pre-screening.
But if you are actively seeking new clients online and in networking groups, how cozy are you with a new client being in your home? This may not be a deal breaker, but being aware of this dynamic can help you better plan for thorough screening and security measures like cameras and an alarm system.
Your marketing should align with your safety concerns. Don’t allow first time clients to book online if you want to conduct an in-depth screening call before you schedule.
You may only put your neighborhood or cross-street location on your website and marketing, and not an exact address. Then you could send the exact address to prescreened & scheduled clients only.
Ugh. Yikes. That’s a lot to think about. Is it worth it?
Sure! No commute, lots of flexibility, and much lower operating expenses may make it worth it to jump through the hoops of creating a home-based massage business.
And I’m a big fan of thinking these things through and doing some basic research, if only to end up feeling confident that a separate office space is best for you.
Good business is about considering all the options and deciding with is best for you. That’s how were create businesses we love.
Do you have a home-based office? Share your tips below!