The costs of starting and running a business can be daunting, which is why many people opt to work for others. According to a 1993 report published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the median startup cost for a solo business owner to open the door is $6,000. In 2006, the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Survey showed startup costs were closer to $10,000.
Actual startup costs depend on the scope of the business, the location and build-out costs, and the requisite equipment. A massage practice is one of the easiest to set up, particularly since initial costs tend to be minimal. In many instances, you can operate out of your home, rent space by the hour or provide on-site work. People often build their private practices slowly while working for another company. This is an acceptable route to take as long as you develop an action plan for attracting clients and actively market your practice. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a permanent part-time practice.
In determining how much money is needed for startup, include operating and personal living expenses for at least six months. Research other massage businesses and seek advice from a realtor, accountant and lawyer. Also contact your local SBA, Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) and Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). While identifying these costs, decide whether they are essential or optional. A realistic startup budget should only include items that are necessary to start the business.
Initial expenses: opening a business checking account; telephone; equipment (you should already have most of this while you are in school); first and last month's rent and security deposit; permits; business cards, stationery, brochures, logo design; opening promotion package (e.g., direct mailers, ads in local papers, magazines, radio, etc.); decorations; office supplies; furniture; music system and CDs.
Annual expenses: property insurance; business license; liability insurance; professional association membership; legal and accounting fees; and website hosting fees.
Common monthly expenses: rent; utilities; telephone; bank fees; supplies; networking club dues; education; promotion; Internet access; postage; repair and maintenance; business travel; inventory; and business loan payments.
Click here for a sample chart of actual estimated business expenses.