Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Massage Establishment in the United Kingdom

Starting a Massage Establishment in the United Kingdom

If you plan on starting a massage establishment in the United Kingdom, you must be good at what you do. We are not only talking about becoming a masseuse but also an entrepreneur. You must be able to think through your plan to advance your business successfully and avoid common pitfalls.

Like any other business, you must meet the legal requirements for company registration in the UK.

Here’s a guide on starting a massage establishment in the United Kingdom.


Industry Practice

There are numerous massage businesses in the UK. Massage therapy revolves around the manipulation of body muscles and tissues. More often than not, the treatment is delivered by a specialist called a massage therapist. There are different types of massage, with each one of them having a specific purpose, with the primary goal being muscle relaxation.

Within your massage business, you’ll use your hands, fingers, and elbows to stretch clients’ muscles alongside their soft body tissues. The purpose is to boost their entire body wellness. The session can last for a few minutes or take even an hour.

You can become a home-based or office-based massage therapist in the UK. But you have to remember all these options have some considerations. If you decide to be home-based, you must inform both your mortgage provider and the house insurance provider about your intentions. Likewise, you must register with the local council and apply for a license.

For mobile therapists, they will have to report their new circumstances to their car insurance company. This is for them to know how far they travel each day with their cars.

You can offer different types of massage therapy in your business, including:

  • Aromatherapy massage
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Sport massage
  • Pregnancy and post-natal massage

For your business to be profitable, you’ll need to:

  • Provide multiple payment options
  • Accept insurance—it will open your business to a whole new set of clients you never had in mind before.
  • Work nights and weekends—sometimes putting in an extra hour will greatly boost your margins.
  • Accept gift certificates.
  • Provide spa packages—if you envision going the spa-way, then you have the potential of earning by partnering with individuals that are already there.


Business Registration Process

Before starting a massage establishment in the United Kingdom, you must do market research on the need within the community.

Acquire Certificates

For you to operate as a massage therapist corporate service provider in the UK, you must be fully qualified. You can select and complete either a Diploma of Remedial Massage or a Certificate IV in Massage. After that, you can build on your training as you gather more experience through CPD or Professional Diploma (BTEC level 6). Alternatively, you can seek an apprenticeship by registering through the government website.

Choose and Register Your Business Name

Coming with a business name that suits your business is vital. If you have some of your proposed names, you have to register one with the Companies House. Remember, while choosing a name, it has to be unique and memorable.

Register with Health Funds

It is common in the UK that most massage therapy clients use their health funds to receive the services. Therefore, it is prudent to apply and register with a number of health funds to make it easier for you and your clients. What would happen is that when the health funds are processing the rebates back to your clients, you’ll receive a unique number.

Market Your Business

For beginners planning on starting a massage establishment in the United Kingdom, they must remember to have a marketing budget. One way is to create a basic website to showcase what you offer in your business. Social media is an alternative platform to do Google or Facebook Ads to reach out to target clientele. You can also create massage business cards & flyers and spread them among your community and friends. Word-of-mouth is another excellent marketing strategy that can reach out to many.

Open a Bank Account

You should open a bank account to have a smooth financial operation of your massage therapy business. In the UK, different accounts will provide a distinct blend of fee rates, tools and features. Banks have various types of business bank accounts that target entrepreneurs and start-ups. Before you open a bank account, ensure that you have all the required documents.

Acquire the Necessary Permits and Licenses

You cannot operate a business in the UK without the necessary permits and licenses. Inquire more about the massage business licenses & permits within your jurisdiction before running the business.

Business Insurance

Securing your business from any unprecedented losses is vital. There are several insurance policies that you can go for in the UK. For your massage therapy business, public liability insurance is one of the important ones. The policy provides financial support if you need to defend or settle a claim made by a member of the public. Another policy is personal accident insurance which covers unexpected accidental injuries. Professional treatment liability insurance protects those who provide close-contact treatments. The good thing about this policy is that it offers financial assistance if someone claims they’ve suffered ill effects as a result of your treatment.

Develop Your Business Website

As you plan on starting a massage establishment in the United Kingdom, you can only propel your brand through your website. Therefore, having a website is essential as it opens up the services you offer to the community.

Get an Affordable Commercial Space

If you find having a home-based massage business inconvenient, you can look for an affordable commercial space. This means you look for a place with ample parking and where clients can easily access your facility.

Equipment and Furniture

As a beginner, you can opt for second-hand equipment and furniture for your business. For example, you can look for cheaper options on Amazon and eBay. If you have a budget, you can opt for Massage Warehouse, where there are various high-quality items. You can buy in bulk the products you use for your services from a quality wholesaler.


Licenses, Permits and Regulations

The London Local Authorities Act stipulates that whenever you provide special treatments commercially, you must apply for a license.

Therapist Registration and Exemption

Entrepreneurs looking forward to starting a massage establishment in the United Kingdom must be registered with the council or confirmed as exempt. The law exempts members of certain professional bodies and health practitioners. Ambitious business owners must know that therapist company incorporation is only valid for three years before renewal. On the other hand, the exemption is valid for as long as membership of a ratified association persists. It would be best if you had the following that will work for your premises.

  • A filled application form
  • Copies of qualification certificates, including details of modules, completed
  • A Statement of Comparability for qualifications learnt overseas
  • A fee of 85 pounce for each therapist applying for registration

The law requires not carrying out special treatments until the approval of the application.

Premise Licence

This licensing issue is about specific premises, and the categories of treatments carried out on the premises. The following explains a premise licence:

  • It’s valid for one year unless revoked.
  • The premise owner makes an application on an annual basis before the date of expiry.
  • It may be transferrable to a new licence holder but not to a new premises

Now, a business owner may not need a licence if they only carry out treatments in a client’s residence as long as the treatments are offered only to the client.

Premises massage and special treatment licence are payable in full if there are six (6) to twelve (12) months until the next renewal date. And fifty per cent of the total cost payable if there are up to six (6) months until the next renewal date.


A fee will depend on the level of risk on treatments and calculated on a cost-recovery basis in the UK. As an aspiring massage business owner, the fee payable is established on the highest risk treatment that is provided. In this case, if the treatment is of a higher risk, then it will fall within the highest band.

For a complementary therapist in the UK, the regulation and registration is voluntary self-regulation. In an actual sense, it means that there are no laws in place to safeguard the public from incompetent therapists. The CNHC and GRCCT are the two primary regulatory bodies for complementary therapy. If you need any form of assistance, you can contact 3E Accounting.