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Freelance Massage Therapist: Job Description, Income & Salary

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Are you having trouble finding a fulfilling freelance career that allows you to make money by helping others?

Such careers are few and far between. They’re seldom well-paid and often require strenuous activity to get the work done.

Thankfully, there’s such a job that lets you work in a fun, relaxing environment—becoming a freelance massage therapist.

This holistic approach to health is one of the few career paths that allow for a genuine human connection.

Plenty of massage-related gig jobs are ready for you to explore, offering additional sources of income.

What Is a Freelance Massage Therapist?

A freelance massage therapist is a licensed professional who performs massage therapy with complete location independence.

Unlike traditional massage therapists, they can choose when, how much, and where they work. They can also pick their clients.

Most are mobile and go to clients’ homes or operate in spas, while some prefer to work from their apartments or rented offices.

Check local jurisdiction for location-based limitations and requirements before you start your practice.

Freelance massage therapists must be licensed to work in most states; some even require specific certificates from non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

What Does a Freelance Massage Therapist Do?

A freelance massage therapist uses massage to provide medical treatment to clients by gently applying pressure to muscles and joints.

The difference between them and regular massage therapists is that the former doesn’t work in a single spa or salon.

They work with various clients and/or establishments and have flexible schedules.

What Does a Freelance Massage Therapist Usually Focus On?

A freelance massage therapist focuses on providing pain relief, muscle relaxation, improving circulation, restoring joint mobility, reducing stress, etc.

They effectively contribute to a patient’s holistic health, as massage therapy has proven health benefits.

They often specialize in a particular technique or style, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, Indian head massage, and Shiatsu.

This helps them attract customers interested in hard-to-find massage therapy.

Just like health coaches, they strive for constant self-improvement and build a reputation within their network as they practice and manage their freelance business.

Freelance Massage Therapist Job Description

Here’s everything you’d have to do if you become a freelance massage therapist:

  • Provide a comfortable and relaxing environment for clients
  • Evaluate the client’s needs, concerns, and preferences to provide optimal treatment
  • Utilize medically-approved treatment plans and techniques to achieve desired results
  • Maintain clients’ confidentiality and privacy
  • Adhere to standard hygiene practices
  • Abide by all local and national laws and regulations, such as licensure laws, freelance tax laws, etc.
  • Network on social media, promote repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals, and create ad campaigns to attract and retain clients

Top Freelance Massage Therapist Jobs and Careers

There are many viable career paths a freelance massage therapist can take. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

Spa, Hotels, and Resorts Massage Therapist

Together with waxers, massage therapists are intent on working in luxury resorts and spas, as they’re quite profitable.

Not to mention, there’s always a steady flow of clients looking for holiday relaxation.

Standard techniques used include hot stone massage, Shiatsu, and aromatherapy.

Sports Massage Therapist

Freelance massage therapists like to schedule appointments in different fitness studios and with professional athletes.

Using techniques like effleurage, compression, and petrissage, sports massage therapists help their clients with the following:

  • Relax their muscles and improve circulation to speed up recovery
  • Enhance athletic performance
  • Aid in injury recovery

Elderly Care Massage Therapist

Many therapists primarily focus on providing excellent massage therapy to older folks.

Techniques used on elderly patients are gentle, such as stroking, reflexology, joint mobilization, and lymphatic drainage massage therapy.

These help boost their blood flow, mobility, pain tolerance, and mood.

Where Can a Freelance Massage Therapist Work?

Once you become a licensed massage therapist, work is readily available in the following places:

  • Spas
  • Hotels, resorts, and wellness centers
  • Gyms
  • Cruise ships
  • Senior care facilities
  • Clients’ homes
  • Rented office space
  • Corporate offices
  • Community centers
  • Events

What It’s Like to Be a Freelance Massage Therapist

To better understand what you can expect, let’s see the basics of being a massage therapist and how going freelance changes things.

Is Being a Freelance Massage Therapist Hard?

The job itself isn’t all that hard once you get some experience and know what you’re doing.

You’re doing rewarding, well-paid work with frequent breaks, though you’ll be on your feet for much of the day.

The only tricky aspect of freelancing is that you’ll be responsible for managing your clients and tasks, as well as marketing and networking.

But this also means you can only accept jobs that work for you.

Is a Freelance Massage Therapist’s Job Stressful?

The level of stress depends mostly on how many different clients you take on. 

If you stretch yourself too thin and don’t allocate time to manage the freelance side of the business, you won’t get everything done or have a healthy work-life balance.

To effectively address this issue, create a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

Common Freelance Massage Therapist Work Day

A typical workday for a freelance massage therapist begins with reviewing and confirming client appointments, preparing equipment, and gathering supplies.

A massage session usually lasts anywhere between 20 to 90 minutes.

In-between sessions, you can take breaks, commute from one workplace to another, and/or do administrative work. 

Freelance Massage Therapist Tasks & Duties

  • Providing massages
  • Creating sustainable daily schedules and arrangements with clients
  • Tailoring to clients’ requests and needs
  • Record-keeping and invoicing
  • Marketing
  • Answering questions and emails

Freelance Massage Therapist Work Hours & Schedule

A freelance massage therapist has no set work schedule. You can work 12 hours on certain days and only 3 to 4 hours on others. 

If you’re going to a different location between each massage session, allocating enough time for the commute, workspace preparation, and administrative work is essential.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

Yes. Freelance massage therapists can take a strategic approach to their work by creating a well-fleshed-out schedule.

For example, you could do six 1-hour massages daily, allocating the rest to commutes and managing your business.

You can also take weekends off to spend time with your family.

We can’t ignore that some freelancers tend to overbook, which leads to burnout. It’s essential to create a sustainable balance you’re happy with.

Do Freelance Massage Therapists Make Good Money?

Yes, especially if they specialize in difficult techniques and have a strong reputation in the industry.

These will help allow you to set your prices and only take on high-paying clients if you wish. 

According to Forbes, top earners can expect to earn $50,000 to $80,000 annually.

How Much Do Freelance Massage Therapists Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2021 median pay for massage therapists is $46,910 per year or $22.55 per hour.

They can earn significantly more by setting reasonably high rates, taking on high-paying clients, and working in high-demand locations. 

In fact, it’s not unheard of that some would charge $90 or more per hour.

How Do Freelance Massage Therapists Get Paid?

Freelance massage therapists can get paid in several different ways. 

After invoicing your client, you can ask to be paid in cash, through an online payment platform or app, or by direct deposit to your bank.

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Freelance Massage Therapists

Let’s see what hoops you’ll have to jump through before you can become a freelance massage therapist.

Who Should Consider a Freelance Massage Therapist Career Path?

You can consider going freelance if you’re already a licensed massage therapist to allow for a more flexible schedule.

You could even get away with working less if you already have a strong network and charge a high hourly rate.

If you’re not licensed yet but plan to be, finding clients initially is a struggle. Still, this can be an excellent opportunity to create a personal brand and learn the ropes of managing a business.

Alternatively, freelance massage therapy can be done as a side hustle while pursuing a full-time career.

Who Should NOT Consider a Freelance Massage Therapist Career Path?

Individuals who prefer a fixed schedule, benefits, and stable income would find working as a freelancer unsuitable. 

It’s a job tailored to entrepreneurial minds who prefer to work on their terms, as promoting your business, marketing, and financial planning is time-consuming and stressful.

Is It Hard to Become a Freelance Massage Therapist?

As with any profession, you must overcome numerous obstacles before seeing substantial earnings.

Getting the hang of proper marketing and networking, maintaining a loyal clientele, advertising, schedule building, and navigating the market takes time and effort, but it pays off. 

What Do I Need to Become a Freelance Massage Therapist?

You must be a highly skilled and experienced massage therapist to attract clients as a freelancer.

In addition, you must strive for constant self-improvement by attending conferences, learning new techniques, and acquiring certificates.

Requirements for Becoming a Freelance Massage Therapist

Although you don’t need a degree, you must still undergo adequate training to get a certificate.

You need a thorough understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology.

As a freelancer, you don’t need to register a business, but it can help you with branding, marketing, and hiring workers down the line. 

In addition to these requirements, you should consider health insurance for freelancers.

Given the nature of freelance work, having the right health coverage ensures your health is supported if an unexpected illness rears its ugly head.

What Skills Does a Freelance Massage Therapist Need?

The most important skill you’ll need is an in-depth understanding of your role as a massage therapist.

In addition, you must have good communication skills to increase client retention rates and word-of-mouth marketing.

Excellent time management and organizational skills would enable you to create efficient daily and weekly schedules.

What Education Does a Freelance Massage Therapist Need?

Most states require you to complete a state-approved massage therapy program or a minimum number of training hours to receive your license.

To get the best information, check your state regulations on the American Massage Therapy Association website.

What Experience Does a Freelance Massage Therapist Need?

Once you have a license, it’s best to start by working in a local spa or resort.

If possible, look for a location with experienced practitioners who can provide mentorship and help you network.

You can start looking for individual clients once you’ve developed your craft and made a name for yourself in your local area.

How to Become a Freelance Massage Therapist

Once you’ve acquired the massage therapist license, here are the next steps to start a successful career.

Where to Find Freelance Massage Therapist Opportunities

Many institutions hire massage therapists.

As a freelancer, you should focus on jobs that’ll get you in touch with many people to create a loyal client base. Here are the best places to find work:

  • Job search websites
  • Social media
  • Local spas, gyms, and wellness centers
  • Luxury hotels and resorts
  • Zeel Massage app
  • Soothe app

Applying for the Gig(s)

Regardless of the place you’re applying for, you must have an up-to-date résumé. As a medical professional, the more certifications you acquire, the better.

You should also craft a cover letter for every gig you apply for. Try to speak to the job post in the best way you can by directly addressing the employer’s concerns and requirements.

A portfolio is also vital. Collect testimonials and contact information from your most loyal clients.

With your client’s consent, you can also consider taking professional photos and videos to add to the portfolio.

Interviewing for the Gig(s)

You may be asked to demonstrate your massage techniques if the interview is in person. If they don’t ask, consider offering a demonstration if you feel confident.

One of the most common questions is to explain your methods or a technique you specialize in.

Prepare a thorough explanation for every technique mentioned in your résumé.

How Do I Prepare for Freelance Massage Therapist Gigs?

If you work at a facility, thoroughly research their work culture and guidelines.

Ask them if they have written down clients’ needs and preferences. If not, ask each client and write it down for future reference.

Always come prepared with supplies, especially a massage table, even if you’re told they have everything you might need.

And when working with individuals, confirm the appointment on the day to avoid misunderstandings.

Related: Names for a Massage Business to Inspire You

Similar Careers to Check Out

Did you finish reading the article and realize that becoming a freelance massage therapist isn’t the right fit for you?

Don’t worry because we have other similar options that you can read about.

  • Traveling Hair Stylist: Traveling hair stylists provide their services on the go. They typically go to clients’ homes or hotels to prepare their hair for special occasions, such as weddings and graduation ceremonies.
  • Freelance Hair Stylist: Similar to a self-employed massage therapist, a freelance hair stylist provides their hairdressing service on a flexible schedule. They often work from home, at various salons, or go to clients directly.
  • Spin Instructor: Spin instructors lead indoor cycling classes and motivate their clients to boost their cardiovascular health. They share the same goal of improving well-being as freelance massage therapists.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Massage Therapy a Good Side Hustle?

Massage therapy can be an excellent secondary source of income if you’re willing to undergo training.

It’s a noble profession, as the goal is to help clients by providing relaxation and stress relief. It’s also well-paid while offering flexibility to set prices and create a schedule that fits you.

Is It Hard to Get Clients as a Massage Therapist?

Attracting clients is a challenge when starting. Once you make a name for yourself in this industry, expect to see a steady stream of new clients.

Consider paying for ads, creating an online presence, and asking for referrals from satisfied customers to grow your clientele.

Wrapping Up

Massage therapy is a rewarding career path, as you genuinely help people improve their well-being while also making a good chunk of money.

The focus is on providing clients relaxation, stress relief, and some improvement in their circulation.

By consistently improving your skills and promoting your massage business, your success is all but guaranteed.

And since you’ll be working freelance, embrace the chaos and learn how to adapt to new situations quickly.

If you find it interesting, check out the career and start learning to become a freelance massage therapist.

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