The Secrets of Running a Million-Dollar Massage Business in 24 Months in Kenya

a foldable massage table

Booking a massage session is the best way to unwind and relax.

The hands of someone relaxing, removing the tension of your muscles is the most relaxing feeling ever.

These hands touch places you cannot reach like your back.

Massages cost between 10000 per session to 100k depending on where you go to get the massage or what other services you get during your massage.

Massage therapies became popular during the pandemic because it became tiring to sit in the house and massage places were the only travelling people did.

Massage therapies are sprouting everywhere these days and every massage place offers its own services.

A massage session is a healing session that helps you relax your clients physically and mentally.

To start a massage parlour, do a thorough on what other massages happen around your area.

The research will help reveal the most needed types of massages and what niches you can offer in your massage business.

Don’t forget to have a business plan for your massage business because a plan helps you uncover opportunities within the massage industry.

Profitable massage parlours have subscription-based pricing models.

Subscription-based pricing models help your customers become loyal to your massage parlour.

The subscription can be monthly visits or biweekly visits or 90-day visits.

The offering other additional services like manicure, pedicure, additional services like chiropractic services helps customers come back again and again.

Is a Massage Parlour Business Profitable?

Yes. A massage parlour business is very profitable for anyone who wants to start this business to get income.

You can make a lot of money from a massage parlour business if you have good marketing strategies.

There is high demand for massage services in Kenya.

The most common services that are on-demand include but are not limited to body massage and reflexology where doctors refer patients recovering from injuries for massage services.

You can start a massage parlour business as a side job or operate full time.

What is a Massage Parlour Business and How Does it Work?

A massage parlour business is an establishment where massage services are provided.

These massage services can be anything from a hot stone massage to reflexology massages.

What happens in a massage parlour business is that customers walk into your establishment, they fill a form with their details, health history and the massage services they would like.

As the massage parlour business owner, you will then take them to relax and massage them (or have your employees do it).

You will then get paid for your services based on the pricing model chosen. 

How to Start a Successful Massage Parlour Business

Here are the steps to follow before starting a massage parlour and they include:

Do market research

Study your market and do a thorough analysis of your competitors and your target audience. Who are your competitors?

What are they doing?

Are there any potential market gaps?

What can I do to gain a competitive advantage over them?

You need to also know who your customers are and what they need from your massage parlour business.

What is the most common problem they are facing in other massage parlour businesses?

Understanding customer demographics is important to gain a clear perspective as you start your massage parlour business.

Find a good location

Location, location, location.

This is very fundamental when you are opening a massage parlour business.

You need to know what makes a location a great location for your massage parlour business.

For example, you may want to set your business in a place that is far away from the hustle and bustle of town activities.

A good location also helps in setting the mood for your massage sessions.

Go digital

Register your business

Make sure that your massage parlour business is at par with the government rules and regulations.

Get the necessary business permits and licences before you start your massage parlour business.

You will avoid having your business shut down or paying heavy fines.

You do not want to fall into the government’s hot soup.

Clear all your legal requirements, check the zoning laws and then start your massage parlour business. 

Acquire massage skills

If you will be massaging your clients, you may want to start by acquiring some massage skills.

You can take a short course and go through training from a TVET institution. 

You will get to learn about everything you need to know about massage.

However, if you do not intend to massage your clients, you can hire trained personnel who will do it for you as you handle other business duties.

Promote your massage parlour business

You have to market your massage parlour business and put yourself out there if you want to generate leads.

Employ good marketing strategies both online and offline if you want to grow and expand your customer base.

Once you get your first customers, your business will kick-off.

Offer a spa experience

You can offer a spa experience to your customers and have them relax in your facility aside from just getting the massage.

This allows you to make more profit in your business.

Work nights and weekends

These are the times when most of your clients will be away from work and you can make more money.

You may also need a few hands to help you handle those many clients.

Choose a massage niche

A massage niche helps you make a list of equipment needed, for example, massage and chairs, massage oils, lotions, creams, organic creams, towels, bathrobes, relaxing music, candles, incense

Having customer records/logs for example appointment, time, name, what kind of massage they want helps you get organised and cater to your clients smoothly.

The organisation helps you offer discounts to repeat customers and know what repeat customers want.

Practice excellent customer service

Customer experience and satisfaction are key indicators of whether a client will be visiting your facility again or not.

If they are happy, they will definitely come back.

Fair pricing

Keep your pricing fair if you want clients to visit your massage parlour business more often.

You also want to stay profitable and keep afloat the competition for a successful massage parlour business. 

Create/ have a business plan

What Will I Do in a Massage Parlour Business?

There are certain things that you will be doing on any typical day in your massage parlour business.

It is good to know what you will be handling so that you do not fall short in your business activities.

  • Scheduling clients meetings 
  • Giving advice of specific massage techniques based on an individual’s preference 
  • Maintaining a good relationship with staff and customers
  • Making sure that your customers are satisfied and that they get what they want. 
  • Laundry services 
  • Processing payments and protecting cash flows 
  • Administrative duties 
  • Marketing your business

What are the Expenses For Starting a Massage Parlour Business?

It is very important that you know the initial startup costs and the ongoing expenses that you will incur when you start a massage parlour business.

You do not want to end up falling short in your budget.

  1. Massage oil and lubricants
  1. Towels and linens
  2. Massage bed
  1. Rent/buying space
  1. Employee payroll
  1. Business licence
  1. Insurance premiums 
  1. Laundry expenses 
  1. Ambience, including chairs and room decorations 
  1. Utility bills e.g electricity and water
  1. Advertising expenses

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Massage Parlour Business?

The amount of money it will cost you to start your massage parlour business will depend on the size and location of your business.

This directly affects rent which covers most part of your initial capital costs.

Large-sized massage parlour businesses in high-end places will cost more to start than small-sized massage parlour businesses in low-end areas.

How Do I Make Money With a Massage Parlour Business?

With a massage parlour business, you will make money based on the services that you will be offering to your clients.

Whether it is injury recovery or just a relaxation massage, your clients will pay you for these services.

You can also sell essential oils, CDs or books to your clients and make money this way.

Your clients then pay you in cash.

If you can, accept credit cards or insurance and make your business more profitable. 

How Much Should I Charge My Customers?

The amount of money you charge your customers will depend on the following factors:

  1. Competition. Look at the pricing model of your competitors so that you make sure you are not overpricing or underpricing your services. Make your pricing competitive, fair and profitable.
  1. Location. When you locate your business in high end places with high financial activities, you may want to charge your customers more.  
  1. Type of service. A foot massage will cost way less than a full on body massage.

You can charge your clients per session or by the hour.

How Much Money Can I Make With a Massage Parlour Business?

The amount of money you make with a massage parlour business will depend on the number of customers you are getting and the type of service offered.

What is the Best Location for a Massage Parlour Business?

couples massage session

There are certain things you need to consider when you are setting up your massage parlour business in a given location. Here they are:

  1. Foot traffic. Start your physical massage parlour business in places that have high foot traffic so that you will increase the chances of people walking by into your facility to get a massage.
  1. Accessibility. Make sure your massage Parlour business is in places that are visible and accessible by the main road or highways.
  1. Location type.  Start your massage parlour business in high end places where people are ready and willing to buy your massage parlour for a profit. Zoning should be your big concern for your massage parlour business.
  1. Local laws. Make sure that the place you choose to build your physical massage parlour business is free from all government zoning laws so that you do not risk having your business shut down.
  1. Competition. When you are looking at the competition, you do not want to start your business in places that are already crowded with other massage parlour businesses. If you do, make your business unique and outstanding. 
  1. Parking access. Good parking access is recommended for a massage parlour business so that customers can park their cars as they walk into your shop.
  1. Lighting. Starting your massage parlour business in places that have good lighting so that you can minimise criminal activities and make your customers feel secure.

Legal Requirements For Starting a Massage Parlour Business 

When you are starting your massage parlour business, you have to make sure you are in full compliance with the law so that you will not end up paying heavy fines or get your business shut down.

These are the necessary permits and licences you need to start a massage parlour business.

  • A professional licence; if you will be doing the massaging
  • A business licence 
  • Business insurance 
  • Occupancy permit. 

What Skills Do I Need to Start a Massage Parlour Business?

There are some skills and qualities that you need to have to start a massage parlour business. Successful massage parlour business owners usually have these traits and skills.

  1. Interpersonal skills. If you will be messaging your clients in your massage parlour business, you have to have good customer relations and connect with your clients. This will build good rapport and meaningful relationships in the long term.
  1. Customer service. Practice good customer service. Make sure your customers get the best experience from your massage parlour business. Provide what they want and need. This will encourage them to come back.
  1. Attention to detail.  Pay close attention to how your customers respond to a particular massage technique or style so that you know what to focus on and improve your skills next time.
  1. Commercial awareness. You should have good business acumen if you want to keep up with the trends and your competitors in this massage parlour business. 
  1. Understanding aesthetics. Knowing how you can make a massage parlour to influence an atmosphere and create a mood is an essential skill that all massage business owners should strive to have. Aesthetics can be accomplished in the oils you use, the music and overall design of your massage parlour.
  1. Marketing skills. Employ good marketing strategies to promote yourself and your business. You should have both online and offline marketing skills if you want to reach a wide target audience.

Who are Spa Clients and How Do Spas Get Clients?

The following are ways spas get clients and how you can market your spa. They include:

Who are My Customers and How Do I Attract Them?

Your customers are people who are looking to relax and get rid of any stressors or anxiety.

They can also be patients recommended by doctors to your facility for injury recovery and relief.

They want to use your cosmetic products.

These are the people that you should target to attract to your business.  

Marketing on social media

These days social media marketing cannot get ignored.

Social media marketing includes coming up with engaging posts to help connect with your customers.

Create first-time visits special

Customers love it when they get a deal for the first time they visit your massage parlour.

If they expected to pay 10k for the session and got to pay 8500, they’ll remember that and may get tempted to buy even more deals.

Capitalise on season-specific promotions

During holidays like Valentine’s, Christmas, you can give your customers discounts, ”Holiday Promos”.

Holiday promotions help promote impulse buying or packages.

Have packages

Packages sound like deals and customers love packages.

Packages encourage customers to spend their money wisely, for example, getting a massage, facial and manicure and a pedicure sound like the perfect deal

Start a referral program

Do you have a massage referral program?

When a customer refers your services to new customers, you can offer incentives like discounts or offer a session for 30 minutes for free.

Have plenty of business cards

People forgot about business cards but business cards are an awesome marketing tool for a massage parlour.

Ensure your business cards have your contact information, website information and any products you sell within your massage parlour.

The more information and power your business card is, the more customers keep the cards in their pockets rather than the trash can.

Put thought into your interior design

A massage parlour space should be well-decorated.

Your massage parlour needs to get decorated either minimally or in colours and style appetising to the eyes and to the senses when your customers come to get a massage.

Educate clients on the type of massage you offer for example what the massage does or will do for them

If customers don’t understand why you offer massage services, then they won’t come for a massage.

If customers believe massage is a luxury item and not a self-care routine, they won’t come for it.

Marketing helps open your eyes to how to sell to your customers and how to communicate your massage business to customers.

Survey customers

Examine the prospective customers that you have and prepare survey questions for them. Ask them what they want from your massage parlour.

This will allow you to generate new leads.

Word of mouth

Be the best massage parlour business everyone knows about and within no time, people will start visiting your business.

Offer quality massage services and build your brand through that. It is easier to get more clients this way.

When people can acknowledge how great your services are, they will most definitely tell people who you are and how they can get in touch with you for your services.

Ask for referrals and testimonials to get more clients. 

Create a website

Your website should have good content about your massage parlour business and you should optimise it so that it appears on top of the lists when someone searches for it on Google. 

Your website creates the first impression on your customers and this will determine if they seek your services or not.

Use billboard and signage

If you have a physical massage parlour, one way you can attract people to your business is by having signage or erecting billboards that give potential clients information about your business.

Go to the press

TV commercials are a good way to advertise your massage parlour business and make yourself known.

 

Networking

Connect with other massage parlour business owners, industry experts and participate in local and community events and meet new people. You will get more clients and leads in this way.

Advantages of Starting a Massage Parlour Business 

These are some of the benefits of starting a massage parlour business.

Loyal customers

When customers get the right massage services from your parlour, they’re more likely to come back to your massage parlour business. They can also refer people to your business and you will have more clients.

High profit

A massage parlour business has very high-profit margins and you will get high returns on investment. You can make a lot of money with this business.

Scalable

With a massage parlour business, you can incorporate new features, products and designs and keep up with the competition without going at a loss or feeling left out. For example, opening up a spa.

Unlimited income potential

A massage parlour business does not have a fixed amount of income you can get. You will receive income based on your quality services and how your customers interact with them. More customers is more income.

You are your own boss

Starting a massage parlour as an entrepreneur means you get to enjoy all that comes with starting your own business. Things run on your terms.

Disadvantages of Starting a Massage Parlour Business

These are the problems and challenges you will face when you start a massage parlour business. 

  1. High overhead expenses. The most expensive cost you will have to incur in your massage parlour business is rent. Depending on the size and location of your business, the prices may be too high for you to handle.
  1. Time commitment. If you will be massaging your clients, you will be spending an awful amount of time in the parlour. You may even need to work during the holidays and off peak times. This can be exhausting. 
  1. High startup costs. Starting a massage parlour business has high startup costs. Get your finances right before you get into this business. You can take a loan, use your savings or borrow from family and friends to raise capital.
  1. Employee turnover. Most employees are known not to stay in one massage parlour for the long term. You have to incur the costs of finding new employees every so often.
  1. High competition. Massage parlours keep springing up especially with the current demand. If you are going into this business, be ready to put up a fight and offer services that will help you stay on top of the game.

Why Do Massage Parlours Fail?

These are the common mistakes that you need to avoid when you start a massage parlour business. 

Poor location

The worst thing you can do when you start a massage parlour business is picking the wrong location to start a business.

Avoid places that are too crowded, noisy or smelly.

Your clients will not come into your business. Consider the factors listed earlier for a good location. 

Poor massage skills

You have to know how to work your way through your client’s bodies. If they find you incompetent, they won’t come back. Keep practising and hone your skills.

Not listening to your clients

Make sure you understand your customer’s needs so that you can make them have the best experience at your facility. If you ignore their needs, they won’t come back. 

Doing it all on your own

Most massage services are a one-man job, but if you feel overwhelmed to handle these services alone, have someone help you.

Poor pricing

Like I said earlier, keep your pricing fair to your customers and profitable to you. Do not overcharge or undercharge your customers if you want your business to continue its operations.

Failure to market your business

Customers are the lifeblood of a business. Without them, a business fails to exist. You must have good marketing strategies that will enable you to find more clients for your business.

What Supplies Do I Need to Start a Massage Parlour?

The following are supplies needed to start a massage parlour and they include:

Calming music

Terry towels

Polo shirt (helps you look professional and for ease of your movement while massaging)

Massage table cover – comfortable, durable, breathable fabric like cotton

Massage oils (non-greasy, non-stain and mind people with sensitive skin. For people with sensitive skin choose the non-allergenic product to avoid irritation)

Massage lotion

Business cards and brochures

Flannel sheets and pillows

Massage table (look for quality tables with adjustable face cradle, armrest, width extensions to help accommodate different clients)

Ensure your table is stable, durable, and height-adjustable

Foldable tables

Business licence

Business insurance

Staff

Unique Massage Parlour Business

When you are starting your massage parlour business, it is important to remember that it is fairly competitive and that there are other people who’ve come before you and are already doing a good job.

I would suggest you look at different massage parlour business ideas online if you want to be unique and distinguish yourself from the competition by offering different services.

Here are examples of some of the best ideas you can try.

Unique Massage Parlour Business Ideas

Here are some unique massage parlour business ideas you can start today.

  • Antenatal massage
  • Aromatherapy 
  • Sports massage
  • Steam rooms and sauna
  • Skin tanning 
  • A massage training school
  • Corporate massage
  • Party massage 
  • Chemical exfoliation 
  • Shiatsu massage 
  • Neonatal massage
  • Hot stone massage

What are the Types of Massage?

The following are the types of massage and they are:

Swedish massage

Deep tissue massage

Lymphatic massage

Oncology massage

Hot stone massage

Thai massage

Aromatherapy

Reflexology

Trigger point massage

Shiatsu

Prenatal massage

Couple’s massage

Chair massage.

FAQs on Starting a Successful Massage Parlour

  1. Do massage parlours make money?

Yes, massage parlours make good money.

2. How long does it take to become a massage therapist?

The number of years it takes for you to become a massage therapist depends on how long you practice and what kind of massage you want to master.

3. Can you learn massage online?

Yes, you can learn massage online.

Related Resources on Starting a Successful Massage Business

How to Start a Chair Massage Business in Kenya

How to Start a Mobile Massage Business in Kenya

How to Start an Essential Oils Business in Kenya

How to Start a Profitable Chiropractic Business in Kenya

The massage industry grows daily.

Choose your massage niche to help you stand out from the rest of the massage businesses around.

You can choose to start a luxury massage parlour that uses high-end products in a high-end location or you can start a mobile massage where you visit customers to their homes.

There is an increasing number of massage therapists in Kenya.

There is high demand for massage services and if you are dedicated to this business, you can make a decent living from it.

A massage parlour needs you to offer the best service.

Learn how to communicate with clients and ask them to refer your services to others.

Offering discounts to first-time customers helps customers overspend. Customers spend money when the services you offer are the best and not subpar.

Don’t forget to market your massage parlours on social media by showing behind the scenes or creating videos about days in the life of a massage therapist.

Or talking about everything from your education as a massage therapist and what it was like learning massage.

The more you educate potential customers on the importance of massage, the more new customers you get. New customers mean more money for your business.

Don’t stop at selling massage services, sell oils or lessons on how to become a massage therapist.

Do you want to become a massage therapist?

Or do you run a massage parlour and want to learn how to be successful?

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Online Businesses / Work in Kenya