From the relaxing atmosphere and music to the joy of helping people with their bodies, there are plenty of reasons why becoming a massage therapist can be an extremely rewarding profession. But what makes it even better is that it’s that the type of job that can be performed from the comfort of your own home. Working from home can do wonders to your work-life balance and becoming a small business owner will give you the freedom and flexibility many people crave in their day-to-day work. But to get to this point as massage therapist, there are a few suggestions to consider first when thinking about setting up a massage business at home.
Get the right qualifications
One of the first steps you will need to start a massage business from home is to ensure you have the right qualifications. This will give you the necessary skills in order to perform your duties as a massage therapist professionally. From learning basic human biology to specific massaging techniques such as the Swedish relaxation massage, you will be tested on a range of topics tailored so you can provide a wide range of services for your clients. While there are no specific requirements, the standard entry-level qualification needed in New Zealand is to pass a certificate in therapeutic massage from an approved provider and to have your first aid certificate. There are also two tertiary courses available – Bachelor of Health Studies (Massage and Neuromuscular therapy) and Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage – where you can specialise in a particular area. These can be completed to further your knowledge and education, which can take you into specific areas from sports training to movement therapy.
Become a member of an association
Becoming a member of an association will not only add some extra credibility to your home business but will give you a plethora of resources and support to help you build your business. While there are many different associations to choose from, the peak industry body in the country is Massage New Zealand. Besides joining your peers in the massage therapy community, another reason to become a member is that your clients may not get a rebate for your service unless your business in part of an association. Some of these associations will also require you to obtain certain levels of massage therapy insurance, which will covered in the next step.
Get your massage therapist insurance sorted
Since massage therapy is a profession where a lot can go wrong, it makes sense to sort out your massage therapist insurance early on before you open your doors to trade. Insurance for massage therapists can come in many forms but generally there are two types of insurance products you may want to consider. Professional Indemnity insurance* is a type of cover that is designed to protect you from claims arising from your advice. You are working directly with your client’s body, and they will depend on your knowledge and expertise for the service you give. If you provide misleading advice or make an error, it could leave you open for claims of negligence.
Public Liability Insurance* is another essential type of cover that some massage therapists consider getting, especially if they are operating from home. Since you are often working with objects and oils in dim lighting, the risk of a slip or fall is ever present when operating from home. If a customer injures themselves or their property in your premises, you could be held liable for a claim made against you. This is where Public Liability insurance comes in as it’s designed to provide protection for you and your business in the event a client, supplier or a member of the public is injured (and not covered by the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC)) or sustains property damage as a result of your negligent business activities. Another important point when considering a Public Liability policy when working from your house is that your Home and Contents insurance may not cover you in situations that involve your business activities. It is best to consult a financial professional or your home insurer to ensure what situations you are covered for.
Sort out your business admin early on
Sorting out your business admin early on will help set in stone what structures underpin your small business. One of the first steps required is registering your New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) and business name. While it’s free to register your NZBN, which will be used to legally identify your business, there are some fees involved with registering your business name. Naming your business is also a chance to get creative but be sure that your ideal domain name is available before you commit to anything. Another important consideration is choosing what business structure is right for you. While there are others such as trusts, co-ops and trusts, the two most common business structures are companies and sole trader businesses.
While there are pros and cons to both, consider reading this government business website to get a deeper understanding of what business structure suits your home business. Again, it’s always a good idea to a consult a professional when making these types of business decisions. Again, it’s important to consider a financial professional to ensure you are establishing your massage therapy business on the right track.
The bottom line
Working from home as a massage therapist can be a rewarding career move. It’s important to consider these suggestions to ensure you have a solid foundation to build a sustainable massage therapy small business in New Zealand.
* This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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